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Khao Tom Koong - rice soup with shrimp

khao tom is a staple in Thailand, being widely eaten as a breakfast
dish, as well as an accompaniment to lunch and dinner.

It can be cooked plain (without the shrimp), or as here with shrimp. It
can also be made by simple substitution with chicken, pork, or any
combination of seafood that you have to hand.

It can be made with cooked left over chicken/shrimp etc, or as here with
fresh ingredients. It is however almost always made from pre-cooked rice
(though not always left-overs: the cook will often simply ladle enough
rice from the electric rice pot to make the soup shortly before serving
dinner.)

Made with chicken it is a popular meal for recovering patients who still
feel a little queasy.

I make no apolgies for also posting this to the chile heads mailing
list: it is one of the best cures I know for the fire of an over hot
chili dish!

In Thailand the rice is almost always cooked until it starts to "fall"
and the liquor turns milky. When my wife worked as the chef at the
Bangkok Oriental Cuisine in Merrimack, New Hampshire, they found that
the customers preferred it with the rice less cooked. If you also want
the rice to stay "intact", then limit the heating before adding the
shrimp to 2 or 3 minutes, which is enough to ensure that it is heated
through ready to eat.

Maggi seasoning, also known as Maggi sauce, is a dark - almost black -
seasoning sauce, made by the Maggi company of Switzerland, and widely
used in Asian cooking. It should be available from asian supermarkets in
case of difficulty. If it can't be found at all, then mix a little
Worcestershire sauce with an equal volume of dark soy sauce. The taste
isn't quite the same, but it will do.

The celery used in Thailand is Chinese Celery (the plant of which
celeriac is the root ball). If this isn't available you can use
"western" celery.

Cooks in Thailand make this in a wok - but I'm not convinced that it is
entirely safe to balance this much fluid in a round bottom wok on a
skimpy western stove-hob. So perhaps for safety you should use a large
saucepan.

.............

ingredients

2 cups of water
1 cup of cooked white rice
1 cup of thinly sliced Chinese celery (including the leaves)
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
1 tablespoon Maggi seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground (or to taste)

You also need 4 large (8 to the pound) shrimp, or half a pound of
smaller ones, shelled, deveined, and butterflied, or half a pound of
other flavor ingredient.

method

In a very small amount of oil sautee the garlic until golden brown and
beginning to crisp up, then pour in the water, and bring to the boil,
next add the celery, Maggi sauce, and fish sauce and pepper, and stir
until it boils again. Now add the rice and return to the boil,
continuing to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice begins to
"fall" and the water turns a milky white (note comment above).

Now add the shrimp, and cook until they turn pink.

Transfer to a serving dish, and garnish with chopped coriander/cilantro
leaves.
Special thanks to - Muoi Khuntilanont.