Versions of this soup can be found throughout South-Asia where it is traditionally served as a broth cooked over a gas flame at the table. Diners add their own meat, seafood, noodles and vegetables to the broth, an Asian fondue if you like. The soup is then served with piles of fresh herbs, chillies and beansprouts to scatter over each bowl of soup. This version is a simplified one.
250 g raw king prawns
2 litres water
2 stalks lemon grass, finely chopped
8 lime leaves, torn
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2-5 cm piece root ginger, peeled and sliced
1 Thai red chilli, bashed
4 tbs Thai fish sauce
2 tbs palm sugar
juice 1-2 limes
350 g dried rice noodles
250 g cleaned squid tubes
250 g shelled scallops
4 tbs chopped fresh herbs – Thai basil, mint and coriander
125 g fresh beansprouts
a few fresh Thai basil, mint and coriander
A few sliced Thai red chillies
Make the broth. Peel the prawn shells and heads, wash briefly and place the shells and heads in a saucepan with the water, lemon grass, lime leaves, garlic, ginger and chilli. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Strain the stock and return to the pan. Stir in the fish sauce, sugar and enough lime juice to taste and return to the heat.
Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to packet instructions. Drain well and set aside.
Using a sharp knife cut down along the top of each shelled prawn and pull out and discard the intestinal tract. Wash and pat dry. Cut the squid tubes in half and score the underside in a diamond pattern. Trim the scallops.
Add the seafood to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until the seafood is cooked. Add noodles and chopped herbs. Transfer the pot to the table for guests to serve themselves and hand around a platter of beans sprouts, herbs and chillies.