Easy Hot and sour shrimp soup with a lot of liveliness of flavor, crisp and refreshing to start a meal or as a side dish on its own.
Three limes in shrimp soup? 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 has an identity of its own. So when you spot a fresh kaffir lime leaf in the produce section when you're out grocery shopping, pick some.
How to store kaffir lime leaf?
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 this hot and sour shrimp soup 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.
I like Chicken stock for the base of this hot and sour shrimp soup for its mouthful feeling but you can use fish stock or vegetable stock too.
Here's a round-up of ingredients you will need.
- Thawed frozen shrimp
- chicken stock, preferably homemade or your trusted store-bought brand
- Bok choy
- bean sprouts
- Aromatics: kaffir lime leaf, lemon grass, cilantro, ginger, garlic and shallot, chilli and lime fruit
- Seasoning: fish sauce, brown sugar, black pepper and lime juice
How to cook hot and sour shrimp soup?
This shrimp soup recipe will be one of the easiest recipes you will ever have.
Start by sauteing the aromatics over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until you can smell that heady, pungent garlic fragrance with a bit of citrus scent from the lemongrass. Add the stock, some of the chillies and the lime leaf. bring to a simmer until all the aromatics neutralize each other giving the broth a herbaceous and delicious flavor.
Add the bok choy until it gets welted and then add the shrimp and continue cooking for a couple of minutes until the shrimp change their color to a beautiful light pink. once you add the shrimp, don't leave as they cook fast and get overcooked easily and you will end up with rubbery shrimp instead of tender and sweet shrimp.
Next, off the heat and add the beans sprout and a good splash of lime juice. Divide among the bowls and call your family!
Tip: Adding beansprouts at the end will give a little crunch instead of limpy and stretchy sprouts.
3 Limes-hot and sour 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
- 1 large lime, juiced and zested
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 6 cups chicken stock, home made or store bought
- 4 heads bok choy, sliced
- 1 ½ pound raw medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined/ frozen and thawed before using
- 2 cups fresh beansprouts
- ½ bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 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 chillies (leave a few for garnish), and 4 kaffir lime leaves. Bring the stock to boil, and then lower the heat to medium-low to keep the soup in steady simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the kaffir lime leaves, increase the heat to high and bring back the broth to boil. Add the sliced bok choy and cook until just welted for about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp, 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 the lime juice, zest and pepper. ADJUST ALL THE SEASONING ACCORDING TO YOUR TASTE, ADD MORE LIME JUICE TO REACH THE THE SOURNESS OF YOUR CHOICE.
- Ladle the hot soup among the bowls. Sprinkle some of the remaining sliced kaffir lime leaf and a few slices of chillies and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.