Monday, June 24, 2013

Rosie Makes Some Kind Of Shrimp Soup.

 I don't know what to call this soup.
Besides Really Good Shrimp Soup.
Mr. Hawthorne and I
 were in Virginia Beach the other day, 
so we certainly had to stop 
at Four Seasons Oriental Grocery.

We always pick up a bunch of ingredients,
some of which I know how to use;
others, not so much,
which was the case today.

My inspiration for this dish came from a book 
I bought at Four Seasons,
Exotic Thai Dishes.

Mr. Hawthorne was thawing out shrimp today for lunch
and I was trying to think of a new way to prepare shrimp.
I happened to check out Exotic Thai Dishes
and found a recipe for Tom Yum Goong,
or Sour and Spicy Shrimp Soup.

Exotic Thai Dishes recipe for the soup called for:
chicken broth
lemon grass
kaffir lime leaves
red chili peppers
lime juice
fish sauce

Not a problem.
I can deal.
I'm good to go.
I have leftover beef broth, not chicken broth, in the fridge.
I have no fresh mushrooms,
but I have dried shiitakes from Four Seasons.
My lemon grass died last winter.
I have no kaffir lime leaves.
But it's all good.
I will use lemon and lime zest.
I have frozen galanga.
I have red chili peppers.
In addition, I have Tamari sauce,
rice vinegar, and corn starch.
Here's my recipe:

Rosie's Shrimp Soup
1 QT beef stock
1 tsp lemon zest
zest of one lime
juice of one lime
6 i-inch pieces of galanga
1 TB Tamari sauce
 1 TB rice vinegar
1 TB corn starch mixed with 2 TB cold water
1 TB fish sauce
crushed red peppers

Bring broth to a simmer.
Add in zests and lime juice, galanga, Tamari, 
and rice vinegar.
Bare-simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Bring to boil.
Add in shrimp and corn starch slurry.
Stir for one minute.
Turn off.  
Stir in fish sauce and red pepper flakes.

Ladle into bowls.
Splash in chopped scallions and basil.

This is galanga,
which if you Google,
you'll get galangal.
They say it's similar to ginger,
but there's no ginger smell.
It only might look like ginger
if you didn't know what ginger was 
and if you squinted real hard.
It is a ginger-like rhizome.
I smelled it frozen.
It was slightly floral.
I nuked a small piece.
It smelled piney.

According to the Thai cookbook,
I was supposed to drop the galanga
into the broth and simmer for several minutes.

I dropped and simmered for about 30 minutes.
It was inedible.
I wanted to know the taste of the galangal,
so I sucked at the pieces in my bowl.
It was menthol!
Reminded me of Vaporub.
There was no menthol in the broth.
Only a complex, heady, delirious concoction.
And this was CANNED broth.

Here's my lemon and lime zest.

I carelessly tossed the one-inch pieces of galangal
into the simmering broth.

I poured boiling water over the dried shrooms,
covered the bowl,
and let steep for 20-30 minutes.

I sliced the tough little beasties.

I added the shrooms to the broth.

Toss in the zest.
Lime juice in.


I picked scallions and basil
from planters on the deck.
Just walk outside and harvest!

My shrimp go into my boiling, enhanced broth.
Corn starch slurry in.
Let it boil one minute with shrimp.
Cut off heat.

Give it a tablespoon of fish sauce.

Add in the crushed red peppers.

And enjoy!

The rehydrated dried shiitake mushrooms
and the galangal were totally inedible,
but they imparted a certain je ne sais quoi to the broth.

The broth was quite good.
It was something I haven't had before -
a certain combination of unknown flavors
that gave up their all for the better good.

Dare I say it was complex?

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