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Soups and Congees
1/4 cup dry shrimp, soaked for twenty minutes in warm water, then drained
6 shallots, minced
2 red chilies, seeds and veins removed, then minced
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 pound Chinese pumpkin, peeled and cubed
1 Tablespoon Chinese rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sacha sauce
8 ounces chicken stock
24 Thai basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1. Using a blender or a mortar and pestle, blend dry shrimp, shallots, chili peppers, and shrimp paste with three tablespoons cool water. Put into a large pot and mix well.
2. Add pumpkin, rice vinegar, sacha sauce, chicken stock, and two quarts of water. Bring almost to the boil, reduce heat, and simmer for fifteen minutes. Transfer to a pre-heated soup tureen.
3. Sprinkle basil leaves on top, and serve.