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Monday, January 31, 2011

Basic Asian Soup Base

Basic Asian Soup Base With Homemade Wontons, Shrimp, Mung Bean Sprouts, Green Onions, Cilantro, And A Sprinkle of Chili Oil

Here's a good base for making all kinds of Asian soups.  This is not authentic to any specific Asian cuisine, just a nicely balanced mixture that I really like.  Make the basic broth, then add whatever veggies, proteins, and noodles you prefer.  The proportions in this recipe are for broth to use when making soup for immediate consumption.

This recipe also freezes well.  If you're preparing this to freeze for later use, make it very concentrated in order to conserve freezer space.  Use the same amount of water, but triple the proportions of the other ingredients.  When you thaw and prepare the frozen soup, dilute it with three parts water (or to taste).

Basic Asian Soup Base Recipe

(Makes 2-3 entree portions, 4-6 starter portions)

3 quarts water
2 6-inch pieces lemongrass, bruised well with dull side of knife and cut in half lengthwise
6 green onions
2-inch knob of ginger, unpeeled, sliced
9 garlic cloves, unpeeled, crushed
1 or 2 Thai bird chiles (to taste), cut in half lengthwise
1 bunch of cilantro or stem ends from 2 bunches of cilantro
a few basil leaves
a couple of kaffir lime leaves *
5 white peppercorns
1/4 cup fish sauce
* Kaffir lime leaves can be hard to find.  I found kaffir limes at Central Market a while back, bought a bunch of them, juiced them, and froze the juice in an ice cube tray.  I used one kaffir lime juice ice cube for this recipe.  You could also substitute the juice of 1/2 to 1 regular lime.
Bring all ingredients to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer at least one hour.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove solid ingredients.

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