A traditional Vietnamese soup of mushrooms and coconut milk with aromatic herbs and red Thai curry. This can be served as a soup, or with rice as an entrée to serve 4. As a soup it will serve 2 with leftovers. If at all possible, you need to find the fresh galangal here.
Course: Main Course, Soup
Keyword: Chicken of the woods, Curry
3.5ouncesyellow sweet onion / 1 medium onion / ¾ cup diced ¼ inch
2large cloves fresh garlic minced, grated or pressed
1/4oz (1 inch piece) peeled ginger, minced optional
12ounceschicken of the woods mushrooms cleaned and trimmed, or use 8 ounces mushrooms and 4 ounces peeled, deveined shrimp cut into 1 inch pieces
8ouncesmild tasting soup vegetables, such as burdock flower stalks, kohlrabi, celtuce, green pumpkin, or radishes, cut into ½ inch pieces (optional)
2canshigh fat, unsweetened coconut milkusing 13.5 oz cans here.
3cupschicken stockpreferably homemade
Fresh culantro or cilantrocoarsely chopped to taste
2tablespoonscommercially prepared red curry paste
For the traditional spice bouquet
1ozgalangal rootcut into 6 thin slices
6kaffir lime leavesor fresh lime or lemon leaves, coarsely chopped
½ozlemon grassbruised with the back of a knife and cut into ½ inch lengths
Garnishes (pick and choose here, and make it your own with what’s available, with the exception of the lime juice, which is not debatable)
2green onionssliced thin
Fresh culantro or cilantrocoarsely chopped, to taste
Kinome leaves(prickly ash/Zanthoxylum) picked from their stems, the smallest sizes you can find (optional)
1/3cupfresh lime juice
8ounceshigh quality shrimplike Texas brown, peeled, de-veined, and cut into 1 inch pieces (if possible, reserve the shells for infusing into the stock.)
1Tbsp Hot chili oil or to taste
If using shell-on shrimp, shell and clean them, then (recommended) roast the shells, and add to the spice bouquet. Wrap the ingredients for the herb bouquet in cheesecloth, and tie closed.
Build the soup
Sweat the onions and ginger in the oil on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken of the woods mushrooms, stir, and cook for 5 minutes more, or until wilted, and a yellow oil starts to form.
Add the herb bouquet and remaining ingredients except the garnishes and lime juice (add the curry paste to taste if your not a fan of spicy food) and simmer for 20 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Taste the soup and adjust as needed with another touch of curry paste, dash of fish sauce, etc, until it tastes good to you.
Finish and serve
To finish and serve, discard the bouquet, and add the shrimp and cook until just done.
Turn off the heat and add the lime juice.
Put some of the garnishes in each bowl, then ladle the soup on top, or, alternately, pass a soup pot at the table and let guests garnish their bowls individually. Drizzling chili oil over the top gives it a dramatic look.