Khmer hot and sour soup
Image by Sam Hanna

This Cambodian-inspired recipe is for those who always choose savory over sweet. Aromatic lemongrass, Thai chile, basil, and pineapple fill this dish with natural vibrance. The shrimp works beautifully as the protein and backbone of this dish. Hot and sour soup is an artwork in contrasts with the sourness of the lime, pineapple, green tomatoes, and fish sauce balanced by earthy shiitakes, galangal root, and lemongrass.

Find galangal, makrut lime leaves, and sawtooth herbs (also known as culantro) at Asian markets. You can also substitute shrimp or chicken stock for the water for a deeper flavor.

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Serves 4

  • 4 slices galangal root
  • 4 stalks lemongrass (2 smashed, 2 thinly sliced), divided
  • ½ cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, heads separated from bodies
  • 2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • 2 cups diced green tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 5 makrut lime leaves, sliced thin
  • 4 Thai chiles, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 10 basil leaves for garnish
  • 10 sawtooth herb leaves for garnish
  • Fried garlic oil for garnish
  1. In a large pot, bring 4½ cups water to a boil. Add galangal and smashed lemongrass stalks and cook for 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove and discard galangal and lemongrass; reduce heat to low.
  2. In a saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp heads and saute until browned. Remove from heat and, using the back of a spoon, smash heads against pan to release juices. Place pan back over heat for 1 minute, then strain oil and set aside; discard heads.
  3. To the pot, add mushrooms, pineapple, and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes. Add shrimp bodies and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in salt, sugar, lime juice, lemongrass slices, makrut lime leaves, chiles, and fish sauce. Let simmer for 5 minutes, allowing flavors to come together.
  4.  To serve, spoon into bowls and garnish with basil, sawtooth, garlic oil, and shrimp head oil.
  • Recipe By
    Sophina Uong of Mister Mao in New Orleans
  • Contributing City
    New Orleans
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