Absolutely wonderful- complex and fragrant, and quite easy to make! I made only a few modifications, and with or without my suggestions, this recipe will result in a really interesting mix of hot, sour, and citrus flavors that is guaranteed to bring you compliments. I highly recommend that you take the time to look for the ingredients and not make substitutions. But, if you can't find galangal, add 2-3 teaspoons of minced ginger, and if you can't find kaffir lime leaves use an equal amount of lime zest. If you have to make substitutions, it's a very good idea to include the tom yum soup paste, which this recipe suggests is optional. That paste contains galangal, tamarind, dried shrimp, fennel, and peanut. It's usually sold in small jars and can be found near soy and Szechuan sauces.
Now for my modifications: First, I used 4 cups of vegetable stock instead of 4 cups of water. Second, I modified the chilis to lessen the heat and the bite-- I did this by halving the amount of chili paste and by delaying the addition of the whole chilis until the very end, along with the shrimp and the mushrooms. Third, although the recipe does not indicate whast kind of mushrooms to use, I recommend either straw mushrooms or oyster mushrooms. Fourth, I take out the kaffir lime leaves and the lemon grass before serving because they aren't pleasant to eat. Fifth, I add a fresh kaffir leaf to each bowl for garnish.
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Absolutely wonderful- complex and fragrant, and quite easy to make! I made only a few...