The herbs and aromas of Thailand are very intense indeed. At home I like to accompany this soup with a dish of plain boiled rice: I slightly dip a spoonful of rice into the soup to collect just enough of the wonderful liquid to flavour the rice. This may be not what Thai etiquette requires, but it gives me great satisfaction!
- 200g cultivated yellow oyster mushrooms
- 20 medium raw prawns
- 2 tablespoons corn oil
- 800ml water
- 4 lime leaves
- 2 lemongrass stalks
- a few leaves of thai basil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon chilli oil
- 4 small fresh red chillies
- salt, to taste
- Trim the oyster mushrooms and cut into small pieces. Shell the prawns, keeping the shells, and set the prawns aside.
- Fry the prawn shells in a casserole dish in the corn oil until crisp, then add a little of the water. With a pestle, crush the shells to release all the juices. Add the rest of the water and the lime leaves, lemongrass, basil and garlic. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Sieve and discard the shells and other ingredients.
- Put the prawn stock into a pan and add the mushrooms, shelled prawns and chilli oil. Season with salt to taste. Bring to the boil and cook for 3–4 minutes. Serve in bowls with a whole red chilli on top of each.