This is one delicious soup. An intense, colourful hit of flavour that just keeps giving. Spicy, fishy, sour and sweet this soup has a bit of something for everyone. Raw prawns give you the lovely fishy stock but after that you can add whatever seafood you like. I used fish and squid and few mussels.
To make the paste:
1 dried red chilli
1 lemon grass stalk (white only – chopped)
1.5cm piece of galangal (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (chopped)
2 shallots (peeled and chopped)
3 coriander roots and stems (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts
1/2 teaspoon hot chilli powder
3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cups cooked vermicelli rice noodles
10 whole raw prawns
200g mixed seafood
1/4 cup spring onions (finely chopped)
1/2 cup finely julienned carrots
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped coriander
2 tablespoons lightly crushed peanuts (unsalted)
400ml coconut milk
3-4 tablespoons fish sauce
Lemon wedges (optional)
To make the paste:
Crush everything together in a pestle & mortar until you achieve a smooth paste. Set aside.
Heat 600ml water in a saucepan. Peel the prawns, putting the heads, skin etc into the water. Devein the prawn flesh and set aside. Heat the water and simmer for 15 minutes then drain through a sieve. Retain the liquid and discard all the shells.
Heat a wok with the oil and when just hot add the spice paste. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes until fragrant then pour in the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for 2 minutes then pour in the prawn stock. Let this come to a boil then reduce the heat to a moderate simmer for 5 minutes. Add the prawns and other seafood and let it simmer in the liquid for 5 minutes until cooked through. Try not to stir too much as you’ll break up any fish. Add the fish sauce and sugar to taste then remove from the heat.
Arrange a handful of noodles in the bottom of 2 deep bowls then sprinkle with plenty of spring onion, carrot, mint and coriander. Ladle over lots of soup, making sure to evenly portion the seafood. Sprinkle with peanuts and more fresh herbs and a lemon wedge to be squeezed in if you wish. Serve immediately.