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Thai Hot & Sour Shrimp Soup


Serves four.

Yields about eight cups.

Galangal, a rhizome similar to ginger, is available fresh or frozen in Asian markets; ginger is an acceptable substitute. Chile paste, made from ground red chiles, garlic, and vinegar, is sold in Asian markets and some supermarkets.

  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. chile paste
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 thin slices fresh or frozen galangal (or 2 thin slices fresh, peeled ginger)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised with the side of a knife and cut into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal
  • 6 cups homemade or low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs. fish sauce
  • 4-1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, cut in half (optional)
  • 1/2 cup drained canned straw mushrooms (or 3 oz. white mushrooms, quartered)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 lb. raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 scallion (white and green parts), coarsely chopped
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 5 fresh cilantro sprigs, chopped

In a saucepan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the garlic, chile paste, and red pepper flakes. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the galangal and lemongrass; stir until the ingredients are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Bring the soup to a boil. Add the fish sauce, sugar, kaffir lime leaves, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Add the shrimp and cook until they just turn pink, about 2 minutes. (The shrimp will continue to cook in the hot broth.) Remove the pan from the heat and add the lime juice, scallion, basil, and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Drink Suggestions

Fruity-floral Rieslings and Gewürztraminers are ideal. Try Kabinett-level Rieslings from Gunderloch and Zilliken. Or try these varietals: from California, Edmeades’ Mendocino Gewürztraminer or Bonny Doon’s Pacific Rim Riesling; or from the Pacific Northwest, Amity Gewürztraminer of Oregon or Hogue Riesling from Washington.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per 2-cup serving; Calories (kcal): 150; Fat (g): fat g 5; Fat Calories (kcal): 50; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 1; Protein (g): protein g 15; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 12; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 860; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 85; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Alan Richardson

Wow delicious! Easy with really complex flavours that just blend together with perfection. I served Young Thailand Hot Sauce on the side for the more adventuresome in my dinner party and a spoonful of it in the soup after its served is fantastic. The recipe is 3 tbsp. of lime juice, 1 tbsp. chopped garlic, 3 tbsp. fish sauce, 1 tbsp. sugar and 1 tbsp of hot thai chilies chopped. combine all ingredients and let sit to blend flavours for a bit. Love the combo!


At last! I can end my search for yet another Hot & Sour Soup recipe! This soup is absolutely delightful! Flavorful, spicy but not overpowering - light but packs a punch. An excellent starter for a Thai meal. You will not be disappointed, this is an easy dish to make, don't change a thing! It does not keep well - don't make it the day before (although the taste is still delicious, the shrimp texture changes and the fresh basil and cilantro get quite soggy).

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