Thai Soup with Lily Buds

(Photo by avlxyz/Flickr)

Serves 4.


60 g/2 oz bean thread vermicelli
20 dried lily buds
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
300 g/10 oz raw prawns
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Thai pepper-coriander paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 spring onions (scallions), sliced


Drop vermicelli into boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Drain. Soak lily buds and mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes. Cut off and discard mushroom stems and hard ends of lily buds. Tie the buds in a knot, or cut in half so they are bite-sized. Cut noodles into short lengths.

Shell and devein prawns. Rinse heads and shells, drain, and use for making stock. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan, when very hot add the shells and fry on high heat until they have turned red. Add 1 litre (2 pints) hot water, cover and boil for 20 minutes. Strain stock, discard shells.

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil and fry the onion until soft. Add pepper and coriander paste and stir over gentle heat for 2 minutes. Add prawns and fry, stirring, until they change colour. Add stock, lily buds, mushrooms and vermicelli and bring soup to the boil. Simmer 5 minutes, stir in fish sauce and sugar. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Pour egg slowly into the boiling soup, stirring so it forms shreds. Sprinkle with spring onions and serve.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)