This has to be one of my favourite soups of all time; it’s incredibly satisfying, bursting with all sorts of flavour sensations, healthy and quick to make, and suitable for any occasion. Most importantly – like all Thai food – it teaches you how to balance sweet, salt, hot and sour.
Once you’ve mastered a dish like this, balancing flavour in all other cuisines becomes easier as your palate becomes more educated. It’s also a great restorative for when under the weather – the chilli kick makes sure of that!
- 200g raw prawns, whole, in shell
- 500ml water
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 shallots, peeled and sliced
- 1 tablespoon of galangal (or ginger will suffice)
- 2 kaffir lime leaves (peel the stem off along the back of the leaf to release more flavour)
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 50 small Asian mushrooms of your choice
- 5-10 birds eye chillies, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, sliced
- 1 tomato, cut into large chunks
- Nam pla
While bringing the water to the boil, remove the prawn heads. Remove the shells and leave the tail intact. De-vein along the back.
Take the heads and shells and add to the water. Bring back to the boil for up to ten minutes. The shells should be a deep orange.
Strain the shells from the liquor, then add all vegetable ingredients to the pot (except the coriander and lime).
Bring back to the boil then add the prawns and two tablespoons of nam pla.
Be quick – the prawns will cook in 30 seconds maximum.
Take off the heat, and add the lime and coriander to garnish and serve.