Thai Shrimp and Lemongrass Soup
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 green serrano chilies, seeded and chopped
- 3 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro stems
- 1 1/2 tsp. peppercorns, coarsely ground
- 8 to 10 fresh shiitake mushrooms
- 3 lemongrass stalks
- 4 fresh galangal slices, each 1/4 inch thick
- 2 Tbs. canola or peanut oil
- 4 shallots, thinly sliced
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. finely grated lime zest
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbs. chopped palm sugar or brown sugar
- 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup shredded fresh Thai basil
- 1/4 cup shredded fresh cilantro
Remove and discard the stems from the mushrooms. Thinly slice the caps. Trim and crush the lemongrass stalks. Smash the galangal slices with the side of a chef's knife.
In a stockpot over high heat, warm the oil. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lemongrass, galangal slices and shallots and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes more.
Pour in the stock, add the lime zest and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the chili paste and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar and stir to mix well. Simmer for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.Just before serving, stir in the shrimp. As soon as they begin to turn color and are opaque, after about 3 minutes, remove the soup from the heat. Ladle the soup into individual bowls, garnish with the shredded basil and cilantro and serve immediately.