Eating warm yet fresh is one of the great winter challenges, so is there anything more perfect than a hearty, brothy clear soup to hit the spot? And making my own stock is somehow just more satisfying. Prawn shells are an incredibly versatile ingredient in both stocks and sauces. For a great seafood sauce, simply caramelise them, for a broth – let them simmer for 15 minutes. So easy, and so worth it. And if you have the guts, don’t throw the head away – really get in there and suck the insides out. Food historians will back me on this: the head is the best part! Oh, and don’t forget a finger bowl of warm water and a wedge of lemon; you want to use your hands. Just don’t confuse it for soup, I did when I was little. It’s not a mistake you make twice.


5 ml canola oil

15 ml freshly chopped ginger

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 litre hot, good quality, store-bought fish stock

1 red chilli

150 g Shimeji mushrooms

12 prawns, shell on and deveined

30 ml fish sauce

60 ml lime juice

2 spring onions, sliced

fresh coriander

fresh lime wedges


Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the ginger and onion and fry for 3 minutes over medium heat.

Add the stock, chilli and mushrooms and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the prawns and fish sauce and cook until the prawns turn pink.

Add the lime juice and sliced spring onions. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with fresh lime.

Note: If you need more seasoning, add more fish sauce.

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