Somlah Machoo Soup
Ingredients (Serves 4))
* 2 stalks of lemongrass, thinly sliced.
* 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped.
* 1 tablespoon peeled, coarsely chopped galangal.
* 1 large shallot, coarsely chopped.
* 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro.
* 1/4 teaspoon turmeric.
* 2/3 cup water.
TO MAKE THE PASTE: Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth, 2 to 3 munintes.
* 2 1/2 pounds of baby back ribs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces across the bone, then cut between the bones.
* 1 tablespoon prahok ( optional ).
* 5 cups of water.
* 3 tablespoons of fish sauce.
* 1 1/2 tablespoon of salt.
* 1 tablespoon of sugar.
* 1 cup of tamarind juice.
* 1-1 1/2 pounds of Chinese watercress or regular watercress, cut into 2-inch pieces ( or young winter melon or zucchini ).
* Julienned red bell pepper, for garnish.
Transfer the paste to a large pot, stir in the ribs and prahok ( if using ) and cook over medium-high heat, stirring well, for 5 to 6 munintes. Add the water, fish sauce, salt and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. When the soup has reached a boil, skim, reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the ribs are tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Stir in the tamarind juice and watercress, remove from the heat and serve in bowls, garnished with slices of red pepper.