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This would be good when you were feeling under the weather.


Laotian Catfish Soup

A deliciously spicy fish soup bursting with flavor. You can make the base of the soup earlier in the day, then just add the fish shortly before serving.


1 ½ pounds catfish fillets

12 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped 3 to 4 Thai chilies, seeded and finely chopped

3 (double) fresh kaffir lime leaves, stem and main vein removed, finely chopped

1 4-inch piece fresh lemongrass, thinly sliced

2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

1 quart chicken broth or water

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 1/4-inch-thick slices peeled galangal (fresh or frozen), optional (I used fresh ginger slices)

¼ cup smooth peanut butter

1 can (about 14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk

6 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

Cooked jasmine rice (optional)



1. Cut the catfish fillets into strips about 1 inch long by 1/2 inch wide, place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

2. Sautè the garlic, chilies, lime leaves, lemongrass and shallots in the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat until very fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth or water, the lime juice and the galangal if you're using it and heat the mixture to a slow simmer.

3. Whisk the peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk in a small bowl until blended and then whisk it into the garlic mixture. Stir in the fish and remaining coconut milk and simmer gently until the fish layers separate when prodded with a fork, about 2 minutes. Stir in fish sauce, basil and cilantro and simmer 2 minutes. Serve immediately, with rice if desired.

4-6 servings.

Cooking time 25 minutes.

Source: New York Times Cookbook