Every time I taste Thai food, I’m always surprised that it still tastes incredibly exotic to me. It’s freshness, pungency, heat, and flavour combinations are far removed from the temperate-climate food most Anglo Canadians were raised on.
This restorative soup is a perfect example of how you can create authentic tastes without having to buy specialty products. Lemon grass and lime leaves are easily replaced by lemon slices and lime zest. No coconut milk? Try using evaporated milk; the end results are very similar.
You can also use 2/3 lb shrimp instead of the shrimp and scallop combination if you wish.
3-1/2 c low-sodium chicken stock
2 thin slices lemon
Zest of half a lime
1 T slivered garlic
1 T slivered ginger
½ t sugar
2 t fish sauce
1/8 to ¼ t hot pepper flakes
1/3 lb cleaned shell-on shrimp
1/3 lb bay scallops
1 green onion, cut in half lengthwise then cut into 1” pieces
Handful grape tomatoes, quartered (optional)
1/2 c coconut milk (or evaporated milk)
Juice of half a lime
Chopped cilantro (optional)
Shell shrimp, reserving shells & tails. In a medium saucepan, combine chicken stock and shrimp shells. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for five minutes. Remove shells from stock. Add the lemon slices, lime zest, garlic, ginger, sugar, fish sauce and pepper flakes to the hot stock. Cover, and allow to infuse off heat for 30 minutes. Remove lemon slices.
Bring stock back to the boil; add the shrimp, scallops, green onion and tomatoes (if using). Return to the boil and immediately remove from heat. Stir through the coconut milk and lime juice. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired. Serves two generously.