There are few things more wholesome & comforting than a steaming bowl of soup. If that soup happens to take its flavor inspiration from Southeast Asia, better yet. To celebrate National Soup Day, here is my quick, cheat’s version of hot & sour shrimp soup plus a few others you have to try.
All soups start with a good base, such as this recipe for homemade chicken broth. Made in the slow cooker, it’s a cinch to make, inexpensive & infinitely better than store-bought broth. Like anything worthwhile, a good soup starts with a good foundation.
Here are some of my favorite Southeast Asian soups: Pumpkin & coconut Thai curry soup, Asian chicken noodle soup, khai gai (my absolute favorite) with its hedonistic coconut milk base & this one which is more Chinese but it’s so good I had to include it: corn, chicken & ginger soup.
While most of us in North America generally enjoy soup only in fall & winter, Asian cultures consume soups year-round believing that the same soup that can warm chilled bones in winter can also cool you down in summer – think chilies & sweating…you sweat, you cool down, savvy??
Southeast Asian soups are unmatched in their exotic & heady fragrances, with flavors generally not regularly used other cuisines (unless you live in my house, then they’re used often): Kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, fish sauce, palm sugar, those tiny, fiery red chilies. Just writing those words get me food excited. Until next time, enjoy a bowl of steaming Asian soup & stay warm…or cool, depending on where you are in the world. Cheers!
- 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste or hot & sour soup paste (tom yum paste)*
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed of the woody, green tops
- 8 kaffir lime leaves**
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar (or brown sugar), optional
- 3 small red chilies, sliced
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 4 oz (113g) small mushrooms, quartered
- 20 medium-large raw shrimp (prawns), peeled & deveined leaving tails intact
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1/3 cup cilantro (coriander) or Thai basil leaves
- Heat paste in a large saucepan or wok over medium heat for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add broth, lemongrass, lime leaves, fish sauce & sugar. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes to infuse flavors.
- Remove the lemongrass & kaffir lime leaves & discard.
- Add chilies, juice, mushrooms, shrimp & green onions. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimp are pink & just cooked (take care not to overcook the shrimp).
- Stir in cilantro. Serves 3 to 4.
- *You can buy either paste from some grocery stores or an Asian market.
- ** You can buy kaffir lime leaves fresh, frozen or dry from Asian markets & some fruit & veggie markets