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Prawn soup and melinjo leaves

Typical of Southern Thailand, this coconut and prawns soup is not spicy! Its particularity is to include shrimps/prawns in three forms: fresh, dry and fermented. The melinjo leaves that accompany it are much more used in the South than in the rest of the country. They are also found in Malaysian cuisine. If you don't have any, use spinach leaves, it doesn't taste exactly the same but it's an excellent substitute. Serves 2.

500 ml vegetable stock, chicken or shrimp stock 1 teaspoon of shrimp paste 1 tablespoon dry shrimps 4 shallots 2 cloves of garlic ½ teaspoon of salt 1 teaspoon coconut sugar 60 g melinjo leaves 150 g coconut cream 6 prawns, peeled, deveined

Lightly crush the shallots and garlic under the blade of a knife or pestle, without breaking them.

In a saucepan or wok, bring 2 tablespoons of stock to a boil and dilute the shrimp paste in this stock. Then add the rest of the stock, dry shrimp, shallots, garlic, salt and sugar. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the melinjo leaves and cook for another 3 minutes.

Lower the heat and, over low heat, pour in the coconut cream and then the prawns. Boil carefully another 2 to 3 minutes (depending on the size of the prawns) until the prawns are cooked.

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