Vietnamese Spicy and Sour Prawn Soup

Vietnamese Spicy and Sour Prawn Soup

Vietnamese Spicy and Sour Prawn Soup
(serves 4-6)

2 tbsps tamarind concentrate
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 lb raw prawns, shelled & deveined
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp fish sauce
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsps vegetable oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 stalks lemongrass, white bulb crushed
1 large ripe tomato, cored, seeded 7 cut in wedges
2 tbsps sugar
1/4 fresh pineapple cut in small chunks ¼" thick
1/2 cup bamboo shoots , drained & thinly sliced
1 tsp salt
2 Serrano chile peppers, minced
1/2 cup fresh beans sprouts
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 tbsps shredded mint leaves

Dilute the tamarind concentrate with 1/4 cup warm water. Halve each prawn lengthwise. In a bowl combine the shrimp, garlic, 1 tsp of the fish sauce, and pepper to taste. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallots and lemongrass and sauté briefly without browning. Add the tomatoes and sugar and cook over a medium heat until slightly soft. Add the pineapple and bamboo shoots and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil over a high heat. Stir in the tamarind water, salt and remaining fish sauce. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the prawns, chili and bean sprouts and cook for 30 seconds only. Add the scallion and mint. Remove from the heat and discard the lemongrass. Ladle into a serving bowl and serve at once.

Cooks note: I like to add rice noodles to this soup for a one-dish, comforting meal.

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