After watching Nigel Slater’s Simple Suppers on BBC, I had a change of plans for my “small dish” which I was preparing for my friends visiting from Mexico City. I had most of the ingredients on hand and was able to substitute a few things. This soup can be made with prawns, chicken, fish or tofu. I had fish in the freezer so I used that. I did not have cilantro but I had fresh basil. I am growing lemongrass on my patio and had fresh ginger on hand. But the real stroke of luck was the frozen shrimp stock in my freezer.
1 good knob fresh ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped
1-2 chilis, seeds removed (optional), roughly chopped
1-2 stalks lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, roughly chopped
2-3 garlic cloves peeled
zest of two limes
1 handful of fresh cilantro/coriander or basil
Glug or two of vegetable oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 cups of vegetable stock (I used shrimp stock that was in my freezer)
Chopped: 1 tomato , 1/2 red pepper and a few mushrooms
1 can coconut milk
1/2 lb raw peeled prawns.
Few splashes of fish sauce
Juice of one lime
Fresh mint for garnish
Blend the ginger, chili, lemongrass, garlic and coriander or basil in food processor until quite finely chopped, adding a little vegetable oil if the paste is too dry. Add the paste to a large shallow pan and cook for a few minutes to release the aromas, stirring frequently. Add the turmeric and the coriander and then the stock. Bring up to a simmer and add the tomatoes, red pepper and mushrooms.
To soften the heat of the sauce, add the coconut milk and bring back to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes then add the prawns (chicken, fish or tofu). The prawns only take 2-3 minutes or until pink and tender. Finish with lime juice, splash of fish sauce and garnish with fresh mint.