Thai Shrimp and Boil Soup


This two-in-one recipe is great for entertaining: host a festive shrimp boil, then use the shrimp stock for a crock of tom yum goong soup. Thai roasted chili paste gives this more of a pronounced Thai flavor. Set up the action by spreading some newspapers on the kitchen table, or at an outdoor picnic table, and then serve the boiled shrimp, allowing guests to discard their shells onto the newspapers. After the boil, you have an excellent base to build upon for the tom yum goong soup, or to use for other recipes such as Curry Laksa.



3 lemongrass stalks, trimmed, cut into 4-inch lengths, and smashed

4 shallots, smashed

4 large slices fresh galangal, smashed

10 whole dried chiles, or to taste, pounded

5 fresh Kafir lime leaves, torn into pieces

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

3 to 4 tablespoons Thai roasted chili paste (nam prik phao), plus more for seasoning the finished soup

3 pounds medium shrimp, preferably with heads on

Juice of 2 limes (about ½ cup), plus more for seasoning the finished soup

¼ cup fish sauce, plus more for seasoning the finished soup


1 pound medium shrimp, preferably with heads on

1 6-ounce can straw mushrooms, drained

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 cup fresh Thai holy basil leaves, hand-torn

PREPARE THE SHRIMP BOIL: In a large stockpot, bring 10 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and add the lemongrass, shallots, galangal, chiles, Kafir lime leaves, coriander, and roasted chili paste. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. Just before serving, add the shrimp to the simmering water, remove the pot from the heat, and let sit for 3 minutes to just cook the shrimp through.

Combine the lime juice and fish sauce in a small bowl. Scoop the cooked shrimp from the broth, reserving the cooking liquid in the pot. Put the shrimp on a serving dish (or on a paper-covered table), and serve the dipping sauce alongside.

MAKE THE SOUP: Peel the shrimp, reserving the shells. Bring the reserved broth back to a boil over high heat. Add the shrimp shells and boil lightly for about 30 minutes. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Add the mushrooms to the broth and bring it back to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and opaque. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cilantro and basil. Season with additional fish sauce, lime juice, and roasted chili paste to taste.