Nigella Lawson was an unknown sensation to me until this month. I have watched several episodes of Nigella Express & checked out six different cookbooks to try and learn something about this cooking celebrity that I had missed.
Her cookbooks are fun to read. I especially enjoyed Feast, which was all about special occasion foods. There were many interesting and appealing recipes to pick from, however the one that jumped out to me was a hot & sour soup recipe in Nigella Bites. My DH loves hot & sour soup and yet we've never tried making it at home.
While Nigella assured us that the ingredients were easily obtained at regular supermarkets, it took 3 stores for me to find everything, the tom yam paste being the most difficult. I finally found it at a Chinese supermarket.
Once the ingredients are obtained, the recipe is very quick and simple to assemble and quite delicious. It really qualifies as an express meal that sounds fancy, but is quick and simple, with wonderful flavor.
My apologies for the bad picture! I did use the kaffir lime leaves & lemongrass, obtained at the fancy store here, though all the greenery has sunk to the bottom in my photo, not to mention the way the bowl is all splashy. Sorry! It really looks more appealing in real life!
See the rest of the Weekend cookbook challenge entries this month at this link: http://foodiechickie.blogspot.com/2008/03/thank-you-to-everyone-who-participated.html
6 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 heaping tablespoon tom yam hot & sour paste
4 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped, optional
1 stick lemongrass, tender inner part only, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lime
4 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
2-3 small jalapenos or fresh red or green chilies, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons straw or button mushrooms, halved or quartered according to size
1 pound 2 ounces peeled raw shrimp, thawed if frozen
5 small scallions, cut into short lengths and then into strips
small bunch cilantro, chopped
Heat stock and tom yam paste in large saucepan with lime leaves, lemongrass, lime juice, fish sauce, chilies and sugar. Bring to a boil, add the mushrooms and simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the shrimp and scallions and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked but still tender. Sprinkle with a little cilantro and put more on the table for people to add themselves as they want.