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Recipe from: Angela Naylor
lemon grass is often used to flavor soup stocks in SE Asian cuisine, much like in the west use bay leaf. It won't be edible this way, so pull it out before serving. Use only the bottom 6-8 inches of the stalk (the bulb-y part), which should mash or split open to release the flavor. This soup is a great quick dinner, since most of the ingredients are cans you can pull off the shelf - goes together in about 20 minutes. We like this on Friday night.
2 cans of chicken broth (15oz)
3 large shallots, chopped
3 kaffir lime leaves (or a 2 inch piece of lime peel)
2-3 Thai chilis (or serranos), sliced open but left whole
1 or 2 stalks of lemongrass, tough outer leaves removed, and mashed
½ cup lime juice (juice of 2 limes)
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon palm sugar (Don't use white sugar. If you don't have palm sugar, leave it out.)
2 cans sardines in tomato sauce (with chili ! - or not, you choose)
1 can (15oz) diced/stewed tomatoes (with chilis is fine too)
1 cup shredded mint leaves (chiffonade)
Put the broth, shallots, lime leaves or peel, lemongrass, peppers and sugar in a saucepot and bring just to a boil. Cover and turn off the heat and go away for a few minutes while it takes flavor - maybe 10-15. Stir in the tomatoes, lime juice, fish sauce, bring up the heat to just simmer. Stir in the sardines, careful not to break the pieces up too much. Let heat through. Remove the kaffir lime leaves/peel and lemon grass before serving, with a goodsized handful of mint to garnish. Stir the mint into the hot soup so that it is semi-cooked.
My husband spoons this over cooked rice to eat like porridge.