Growing up, Ming Tsai loved the flavors of traditional Chinese hot-and-sour soup, but he didn't like the heavy texture. This is his riff on that soup, with a much lighter and tangier broth.
More Chinese Recipes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced 1/4 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 Thai chiles, minced
3 stalks of fresh lemongrass, inner bulbs only, thinly sliced
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh ginger
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
2 quarts chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup small basil leaves
How to Make It
In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the shiitake and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until tender, 5 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, until the shiitake are golden, 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the chiles, lemongrass, shrimp shells, onion and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and golden, about 7 minutes. Add the fish sauce and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat for 10 minutes. Strain the shrimp broth into a large bowl.
Return the broth to the skillet; bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Add the shrimp and shiitake and cook until the shrimp are pink and curled, 1 minute. Add the lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the basil leaves and serve.
Look for a crisp, citrusy Riesling from Germany's Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, which will complement the sour lemongrass and lime here.
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