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Tom Yum (hot and sour soup)

2 pounds fresh mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 stalks of lemon grass, bruised (this isn't eaten, but is an essential flavor)
2 "kaffir" lime leaves (use lime zest if you can't get it)
2 small bunches cilantro (leaves only), chopped 
10-15 prik ki nu (birdseye chilis) thinly sliced
2-5 dried red chilis
Juice of 3 or 4 limes
2 or 3 tablespoons of sliced bamboo shoots or coconut shoots
2-3 tablespoons of fish sauce
1-2 tablespoons "chilis in oil"

The fresh chilis should be bruised in a mortar and pestle. The dried chilies should be heated first, then crumbled into the fresh chilies.
Beat the lemon grass with the pestle or the back of a cleaver.
Heat about 3 cups of water to boiling point, add all the ingredients, and stir constantly until cooked (it doesn't take long for mushrooms, longer for chicken or shrimp, and longest for beef). 
Variation: use three cups of thin coconut milk instead of water, the result is tom kha, rather than tom yum.

recipe courtesy of Recipe Source

 

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