When paired with lemon grass, the kaffir lime leaf gives this soup its refreshing character. Lime zest may be substituted, but you will miss the fantastic burst of flavor.
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 shallots, sliced
1 stalk lemongrass, cut in diagonal slivers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1 kaffir lime leaf, finely shredded or 1 tablespoon lime zest
2 cups shrimp or chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 cups coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 can straw mushrooms, drained or ½ cup button mushrooms, thinly sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
In a large saucepan over medium high heat, sauté shallots in sesame oil until translucent. Add lemongrass, garlic, ginger root, and kaffir lime leaf to mixture and heat slightly to release the fragrances. Add stock, coconut milk and lime juice. Bring to a simmer but do not let it reach a rolling boil.
When broth is simmering, add shrimp and mushrooms and simmer for another 4 minutes. Shrimp cook very quickly and should be added just before serving. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.
From: Herbal Cookery, From the Kitchens and Gardens of the St Louis Herb Society © St Louis Herb Society 2009, p. 43