Sour and Spicy Shrimp Soup

The Japones Chile (Capsicum Annuum) is similar in appearance to the De Arbol. Though the walls of the Japones are thicker. Dried Japones Chiles are medium hot and good with Asian dishes. On the heat scale, this chile is 5-6. Scoville heat units 15,000 to 35,000.

Suggested Use:
Japones Chiles are medium hot and frequently found in spicier Asian and Oriental dishes. Used in Thai Basil Curry dishes and Hot Peanut Sauces. Crush a few pods and add them to your next stir fry.

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1-1/2 pounds medium shrimp
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
6 dried japones chiles
3 (15 oz.) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
10 thinly sliced peeled fresh galangal pieces or 7 slices peeled fresh ginger, lightly crushed
6 kaffir lime leaves or 2-1/2 tsp. grated lime zest
4 bird chiles or serrano chiles, lightly crushed
4 cilantro stems, lightly crushed
2 stalks chopped peeled fresh lemongrass, lightly crushed
2 large shallots, peeled and halved
3 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 cup cilantro leaves


Peel the shrimp and reserve 6 shells. Set shrimp aside. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the japones chiles and the shrimp shells. Saute them for 3 minutes or until the chiles are blackened. Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the galangal and next 5 ingredients (galangal through shallots). Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes.

Strain the soup through a sieve into a bowl and discard the solids. Return the soup to the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp and fish sauce. Cook for 2 minutes or until the shrimp are done. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Sprinkle the soup with cilantro leaves and serve immediately.

Yields 7 servings.

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine, June 2001.