One of the best known Thai dishes abroad, this flavourful but spicy soup is hot, sour and fragrant, an ideal accompaniment to other Thai dishes and rice. The Kaffir lime leaves, galangal and lemon grass are what gives this soup its tangy flavour, but are not meant to be eaten, so tell your guests to avoid them while eating the broth, prawns and mushrooms.
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
4 cups (1litre) Thai Chicken Stock
3 kaffir lime leaves
2 in (5cm) fresh galangal root, sliced 3-4 coriander roots, washed (optional) 3 stems lemongrass, thick bottom part only, dry outer sheath discarded, smashed with back of a cleaver
6-9 medium prawns or shrimp, shells intact
1 cup (5 ox/150g) fresh o canned straw mushrooms or small button mushrooms, sliced in half 5-10 bird’s-eye chillies, smashed 3 tablespoons lime juice, or to taste 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce, or to taste 3 spring fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
Bring the stock to a boil and add kaffir lime leaves, galangal, coriander roots and lemongrass. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the prawns or shrimp, mushrooms and chillies, and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the lime juice and fish sauce (which is very salty) to taste. The soup should be spicy-sour and a little salty. Serve garnished with fresh coriander leaves (cilantro).
Note: Do not overcook the prawns or they will become tough. Use home-made chicken stock in this dish for the best flavour. Any variety of seafood may be substituted for or added to the prawns – including sliced fish, crab or squid.