Three limes? This is about using kaffir lime leaf, lime juice, and lime zest. Kaffir lime leaf is responsible for the distinctive lemon/lime/mandarin aroma and flavour that is very precious in Asian cuisine, especially in Thai or Indonesian cooking. These leaves became a part of any Asian recipes that I make at home. From salad, soup, curries, stir-fries, marinades, and dessert. The leaves have that perfume that is sometimes mysterious but clearly an identity of its own. So when you spot a fresh kaffir lime leaf in the produce section when you’re out grocery shopping, buy some.
Kaffir lime leaf stays good in the freezer. When you feel like having Asian food, throw some of it. Trust me, you will get inspired and use it more often. But don’t get discouraged to make this soup if kaffir lime leaf is not available. Use regular lime zest instead, it is not as authentic as using the real leaf but you’ll get a similar flavour.
Kaffir lime leaf blends so well with lemongrass and lime juice that gives the dish a very wholesome lemony essence. In salads, I use a fresh or frozen lime leaf – slice thinly, and scatter on top of the salad for a burst of flavour or blend it with the vinaigrette. For soups, curries, or stews; use whole fresh leaves, frozen or dried, and remove them at the end of cooking. Though, I always prefer chopping some fresh or frozen leaves very thinly and adding them before serving; you will benefit more from its haunting aroma and umami flavour that tickles the back of your throat while eating.
Chicken stock is what I like the most in any soup recipe. I always get that comforting and yummy feeling as you eat it. Throw any kind of herbs and spices, you will go right all the time. But it doesn’t mean that this soup recipe is limited to chicken stock only. Fish stock, beef stock, or vegetable stock is really good too. Add chicken pieces or tufo, make it your own.
3 Limes- Shrimp soup
- 1 large shallot, peeled and thinly diced
- 1 large stick lemongrass, discard the hard outer layer and thinly slice the rest
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 red fresh chili, thinly sliced
- 4 kaffir lime leaf plus 2 thinly sliced kaffir lime leaf, separate. *see note 1
- 2 limes
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 6 cups chicken stock, home made or store bought "See note 2 or my previous post for chicken stock recipe"
- 4 heads bok choy, sliced
- 1 ½ pound raw medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 cups fresh beansprouts
- ½ bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sweat the shallots with a tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat until soft. Add the ginger, garlic, and lemongrass and continue cooking, stirring for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the chicken stock, most of the chilies (leave a few for garnish), and 4 kaffir lime leaves. Bring the stock to boil, and let it simmer for at least 6 minutes.
- Remove the kaffir lime leaves, turn the heat to high and bring back the broth to boil. Add the sliced bok choy and cook until just welted. Add the shrimp, squeeze the lime juice in, fish sauce, sugar, and continue cooking until the shrimp is cooked or turned pink, 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the beansprouts, stir to combine. Add more lime juice, salt, and pepper if needed.
- Ladle the hot soup into the bowl. Sprinkle some of the remaining sliced kaffir lime leaf and a few slices of chilies and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.