Prawns are a luxury-around-payday treat, but commonly balls of minced pork, seasoned with white pepper and salt are be dropped into the broth to cook instead. You could be ultra decadent and do both.
Thai Rice Soup
150gr (uncooked weight) rice, cooked and cooled preferably overnight
A couple of handfuls of raw prawns, shell and heads on
1 stick of lemongrass
1/2 inch piece of galangal
3 kaffir lime leaves
4 tbsp fish sauce
1 fat clove of garlic
2 red birds eye chillis
2 tbsp Tianjin preserved vegetable (not very Thai, but I like it)
A handful of coriander
A few cherry tomatoes, halved
Deshell the prawns and place the shells and the heads in the water with the lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves, roughly chopped. Bring to the simmer and simmer very gently for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve.
Meanwhile, crush the garlic roughly and add to the fish sauce in a bowl with the juice of half a lime. Chop the chillis up and add them too, giving it a good stir. Chop the coriander and add to another bowl. Rinse the preserved vegetable.
Bring the stock up to the simmer and add the rice, breaking it up with your hands as you add it in. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add the prawns and as soon as they turn pink, take off the heat and add the cherry tomatoes. Ladle the soup into bowls, scatter the preserved veg in equally and serve with the coriander, fish sauce mixture and the rest of the lime cut into wedges to add as you please.