Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Fiery Thai Broth with Sausage and Lemongrass

I call it broth but it is really a soup. It is light, simple and full of Asian flavors. Not quite a traditional soup, the broth picks up its brightness from lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and an abundance of dried chiles. Galangal and fish sauce add more character. 

Sauteing onions, garlic and sausage is the hardest part. Water, not stock, is key. It's allow the ingredients to shine, adapting those tastes. Lemon grass stalks, fresh kaffir lime leaves, galangal are Thai spices that enhance the broth. Dried lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves could easily be substituted. If these are hard to acquire, use the skin of limes and lemons. Use ginger if you do not have galangal. Whole dried chiles add subtle heat. Use chile flakes if you must. It will increase the heat level. I did not have fresh lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves so I improvise with the dried versions. If you do plan to use dried spices, it might be a good idea to make a bouquet garni of sorts. Use cheesecloth or a tea strainer with the spices in them to infuse the broth. This way you will not get mouthfuls of dried stuff as you slurp! This idea came from my sister Prassy after the fact!! 

Serves 4

3 hot Italian Sausages 
1 tablespoon Canola Oil 
1 Red Onion
3 Garlic cloves
5 cups Water
2 Lemongrass stalks
5-6 Kaffir Lime Leaves
4 Galangal slices
4 dried Red Chiles
1 small Tomato
2 tablespoons Fish Sauce 
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar or Palm Sugar or Jaggery
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
Cilantro leaves
Lime Juice

Cut sausage into small chunks. Remove casing if desired.

Thinly slice onion and garlic cloves.

Heat oil in a deep saucepan.

Drop onion and garlic in the oil and saute till light brown.

Add sausage to pan. Use the spoon to break up the meat till you are left with small pieces. Saute sausage till browned.

Pour water into sausage.

Trim and cut lemongrass into 2 inch stalks. Lightly pound stalks.

Chop tomato into small chunks.

Add lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, red chiles, tomato, fish sauce, sugar and salt to broth.

Bring to boil, lower flame to medium and simmer broth for 15 minutes.

Add cilantro and a squirt of lime juice to broth and serve piping hot.


If you cannot find fresh lemongrass or kaffir lime leaves, use dried ones as I did. Use a bouquet garni, that is, use the spices wrapped in cheesecloth or in a tea strainer. Both can be removed before serving. 

If dried spices are a problem to find, add the skin of limes and lemons. Use a peeler to get thin shavings and add 2-3 tablespoons to the broth along with the fish sauce.

We love this light, spicy restorative broth. It's easy on the palate, the stomach and leaves us with plenty of room for kimchi dumplings!