1/4 cup fresh lime juice, 5 whole Thai chilies, bruised with flat side of knife (or 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced, 6 wild lime leaves, torn or cut in quarters (divided), 3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 2 tablespoons roasted chili paste (such as Thai Kitchen brand), 3 stalks fresh lemongrass, 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, 2 cups water, 5 quarter-size slices fresh galangal or ginger, 1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, 1 cup thinly sliced shiitakes or other mushrooms, 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped.
Thai cooks leave the tail portion of peeled, deveined shrimp attached; it turns a beautiful bright red, and one can hold it if eating the shrimp by hand. Roasted chili paste, a spicy-sweet, slightly smoky condiment sold in the Asian section of natural groceries, is also delicious as a meat rub, tossed with noodles, or in soup. For a vegetarian dish, omit shrimp and fish sauce, add 1 teaspoon salt, and include more mushrooms: shiitakes, oyster, and canned straw mushrooms, halved lengthwise.
In a large serving bowl, combine lime juice, chilies, 3 of the torn or cut wild lime leaves, green onions, fish sauce, and roasted chili paste. Set bowl aside by the stove.
Trim lemongrass stalks to a 3-inch base, discarding outer dried leaves; halve base lengthwise and chop coarsely. In a medium saucepan, combine chopped lemongrass, broth, water, and galangal or ginger; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out lemongrass and galangal. Discard.
Return soup to a boil and add shrimp, mushrooms, and 3 remaining torn or cut wild lime leaves. Cook 2–3 minutes more, just until shrimp are pink and cooked through. Remove from heat and pour immediately over seasoning mixture in serving bowl. Stir once. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve hot.
Recipe courtesy of Delicious Living, pick up your copy today at Mana Foods.