Prawn and chive soup

Serves 4

This is one of those simple soups you often see in high-end Chinese restaurants. It's important to use good quality sea-water prawns, as the shells enhance the broth – I use fresh Red Sea prawns from Waitrose. And those thick Chinese chives with the flowers attached make an excellent garnish.

1.5ltrs fish stock
A piece of root ginger weighing about 30-40g, scraped and chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
The shells from the prawns (see below)

To serve

12 medium fresh Red Sea prawns, peeled and shells reserved
2 egg whites
8-10 Chinese chives, finely chopped

Put the fish stock in a pan with the ginger, garlic, onion and prawn shells, bring to the boil and simmer very gently for about 30 minutes then strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean pan and return to a low simmer. To serve, cool about half a cup of the stock a little and lightly whisk with the egg whites. Cut the prawns in half and simmer gently in the stock for 2-3 minutes until just cooked, then add the chives. Mix in the egg-white mix, and stir for a minute, then remove from the heat and serve.

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