Vietnamese Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup

From December 21, 2004:  this soup is wonderful with it’s contrasting flavors and ease and quickness of preparation.  it is also quite adaptable. the last time i made this soup, i left out the tomato and bean sprouts, used shiitake mushrooms instead of button mushrooms, and added shredded spinach and chopped cilantro to the soup right before serving. no matter what i do, it turns out amazing everytime.

vietnamese hot and sour shrimp soup 

  1 teaspooon vegetable oil

2 tablespoon minced shallots

2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, wilted or tough outer leaves discarded cut into 2-inch lengths, and smashed lightly with the flat side of a knife

1 large ripe tomato, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4–inch wedges

1/2 pound button mushrooms, rinsed, drained, stems trimmed, and caps thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

5 cups water

1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, scored down the back, deveined, and rinsed

5 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/4 pound very thin rice stick noodles (vermicelli), softened in hot water and drained

1 1/2 cup bean sprouts, rinsed and drained

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 tablespoons finely minced scallion greens

heat a heavy pot over medium-high heat. add the oil and heat until hot, about 30 seconds. add the shallots and lemongrass and stir-fry for about 15 seconds. add the tomato, mushrooms, and sugar and stir-fry for about 1 minute. add the water and bring to a boil. reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.

add the shrimp, fish sauce, lime juice, and noodles and dimmer for about 2 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink and the noodles are tender. using tongs, remove and discard the lemongrass. add the bean sprouts and crushed red pepper, bring to a boil, and cook for about 1 minute, or until heated through. ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle with scallions, and serve.

makes 6 servings.

 recipe source: asian noodles by nina simonds.

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