A treat for the cook because of its ease of preparation, and for guests because of its sparkling flavors, this is a great soup to serve on a hot day. The broth is aromatic with lemongrass and ginger, and it gets an extra lift from the condiments and toppings that each guest adds while eating: a little heat from minced green chile, crunch and freshness from shallots and coriander leaves, and the tang of lime juice to pull it all together.
Combine the broth and water in a wide heavy pot, add the lemongrass and ginger, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to maintain a medium boil, partially cover, and cook for about 15 minutes to infuse the soup wth flavor.
Meanwhile squeeze any excess water out of the sliced shallots and put out on a serving plate, together with the chiles, coriander, and lime wedges.
Just before serving, remove the lemongrass and ginger slices from the soup and discard. Serve the soup, and invite your guests to sprinkle on some shallots, chiles, and coriander leaves, as they please, and to squeeze on fresh lime juice.
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