I don't cook a lot of Asian dishes, but I started experimenting with this soup a few months ago for something new and different. I'll warn you right up front, it contains shrimp. Every couple of months or more, I post a recipe that includes fish – in December I posted a one for mussels. I am the wimpy vegetarian, after all, and eat fish on occasion. I'm allergic to nuts and have had some issues with soy products in the past, so my non-meat protein options are a little more limited than for most vegetarians.
For a vegetarian dish, I suggest substituting firm tofu for the fish.
I think it's good step out of our comfort zone. We don't have to live there for long, just a quick visit to push our creative juices or skills in a new direction. In cooking it means exploring new ingredients, trying new flavor combinations, and learning new techniques. It brings me into new grocery stores or markets, and allows me to visit a new culture for awhile in my kitchen.
- Smash the lemongrass stalks using the side of a chef's knife until the stalk completely split in multiple places and fan apart somewhat. If the stalks are long, cut them in half before smashing.
- Galangal might be a new ingredient for you, and worth looking for, as it adds some nice depth of flavor to the soup. It looks very similar to ginger root, and has a similar flavor but is much more aromatic and peppery. I use a dried form I found in the spices area of my market, but you can also buy it online. It's a spice common in Indonesian and Thai dishes. Some say that ginger can be used as a substitute, and it's true, but it's not the same. First look for galangal.
- I have a shallot confit by L'Epicurien that I use in a lot of dishes. If you can't find it, substitute garlic confit but cut the amount by half. The shallots in the confit taste roasted, so minced roasted garlic cloves should work too.
- The angel hair pasta I used is packaged in ‘nests', but for ease of eating the noodles in the soup I broke mine up quite a bit before adding to the broth at the end.
Spicy Shrimp Soup: #ProgressiveEats
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion halved, sliced crosswise once or twice, and thinly sliced
- 2 lemongrass stalks trimmed and smashed with side of a chef’s knife
- 3 pieces dried galangal smashed with side of a chef’s knife
- 2 large shallots thinly sliced
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- ½ tsp lime zest 1/2 lime
- 2 tsp chili paste or to taste
- 1 Tbsp shallot confit I use one from L’Epicurien
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp palm coconut sugar
- 2 'nests' of Angel hair pasta coarsely chopped
- ½ pound shrimp peeled, deveined, tails removed, cut in half
- Thai basil
- Heat the oil in a heavy pot like a Le Creuset over medium-high heat. Add the onion, lemongrass, galangal, and shallots to the pan and sauté for 10 minutes. It should be very aromatic.
- Stir in the broth and lime zest, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the chili paste, shallot confit, lime juice, and sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the angel hair pasta and the shrimp, and simmer for 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque.
- Thinly slice basil and cilantro for garnish.