Shrimp and Lemongrass Soup
Slice trimmed lemongrass on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces; bruise it slightly as well, then set aside until needed. In a medium saucepan, combine chicken broth, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, straw mushrooms, and prepared lemongrass over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until aroma is released, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Add toasted chile and shrimp; cook until shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the fish sauce and lime juice. Taste, and adjust the seasoning to your liking with fish sauce, lime juice, and chiles. Stir in green onions and cilantro and serve immediately.
Serving Suggestion: Delicious served with steamed jasmine rice.
*Note: These aromatics (kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, and whole dried chiles) are for flavoring the liquid only; they are not to be consumed. If you prefer, you may place these aromatics in the center of a dampened, 6-inch square piece of cheesecloth folded double. Draw up the sides to form a pouch and tie with kitchen twine. Continue with recipe as directed above, then discard the sachet before serving.