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Tamarind Soup with Peanuts and Vegetables

ingredients

serves 4 or 8 as part of a buffet
5 shallots or 1 medium red onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2.5 cm (1 in) lengkuas, peeled and sliced
1 - 2 fresh red chillies, seeded and sliced
25 g (l oz) raw peanuts
1 cm (1/2 in) cube terasi, prepared
1.2 litres (2 pints) 5 cups well flavoured stock
50 - 75 g (2 - 3 oz) salted peanuts, lightly crushed
15 - 30 ml (l - 2 tbsp) dark brown sugar
5 ml (1 tsp) tamarind pulp, soaked in 75 ml (5 tbsp) warm water for 15 minutes
salt

for the vegetables

1 chayote, thinly peeled, seeds removed, flesh finely sliced
115 g (4 oz) French beans, trimmed and finely sliced
50 g (2 oz) sweetcorn kernels (optional)
handful green leaves, such as watercress, rocket or Chinese leaves, finely shredded
1 fresh green chilli, sliced, to garnish

method

1. Prepare the spice paste by grinding the shallots or onion, garlic, lengkuas, chillies, raw peanuts and terasi to a paste in a food processor or with a pestle and mortar.

2. Pour in some of the stock to moisten and then pour this mixture into a pan or wok, adding the rest of the stock. Cook for 15 minutes with the lightly crushed peanuts and sugar.

3. Strain the tamarind, discarding the seeds, and reserve the juice.

4. About 5 minutes before serving, add the chayote slices, beans and sweetcorn, if using, to the soup and cook fairly rapidly. At the last minute, add the green leaves and salt to taste.

5. Add the tamarind juice and taste for seasoning. Serve, garnished with slices of green chilli.

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