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Thai Coconut Soup

Thai Coconut Soup:

3 lemongrass stalks
1 2-inch chunk ginger, about 1 1/2" diameter (or equivalent)
2 tsp. vegetable oil
2 can (14.5 oz.) low sodium chicken broth
2 2/3 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. lime juice 
2 (13.5 oz.) cans unsweetened coconut milk
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast—flattened and sliced into 1/4"x 2" strips
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced into 1/2 strips (caps only)
12 sprigs cilantro for garnish

Peel off the outer brown, dry layer of the lemongrass, if any. Cut the top half of the lemongrass stalks and discard. Cut off and discard the bulb at the bottom. Place the usable lemongrass portions on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Using a flat mallet or a small hammer, flatten stalks. Peel and slice ginger into 3 or 4 pieces. 

Preheat a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add oil. Add lemon grass and ginger. Stir for a couple minutes. Add chicken broth and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the lemongrass and ginger with a slotted spoon or tongs.  

Add coconut milk, fish sauce, and lime juice. Increase heat to medium and allow to come to heat without coming to a full boil. Add chicken and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes until chicken is cooked through. Serve with cilantro. Makes 4 servings.