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Thai-style Tomato and Sardine Soup

2 cans chicken broth (15oz)
3 large shallots, chopped
3 kaffir lime leaves (or a 2 inch piece of lime peel)
2-3 Thai chilis (or serranos), sliced open but left whole
1 or 2 stalks of lemongrass, tough outer leaves removed, and mashed
1/2 cup lime juice (juice of 2 limes)
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp palm sugar (optional)
2 cans sardines in tomato sauce
1 can (15oz) diced/stewed tomatoes (with or without chilis)
1 cup shredded mint leaves (chiffonade)

Put the broth, shallots, lime leaves or peel, lemongrass, peppers
and sugar in a saucepot and bring just to a boil. Cover and turn
off the heat and go away for a few minutes while it takes flavor
- maybe 10-15.

Stir in the tomatoes, lime juice, fish sauce, bring up the heat to
just simmer. Stir in the sardines, careful not to break the pieces
up too much. Let heat through. Remove the kaffir lime leaves/peel
and lemon grass before serving, with a goodsized handful of mint
to garnish. Stir the mint into the hot soup so that it is semi-cooked.

Serve with rice.


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