Thai-inspired Sweet and Sour Broth

Coconut sugar can stand in for either white or brown sugar, but it has an almost earthy flavor that’s darker than both. It’s best used in sweets also containing chocolate, warm spices, and coffee. But it also brightens curries and tempers spicy soups. Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 2 teaspoons minced ginger, and 1 teaspoon minced fresh chili. Add 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock, 2 stalks peeled lemongrass cut into 4-inch pieces, 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, and 2 teaspoons hot chili paste. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Pick out lemongrass. Stir in soy sauce and lime juice to taste. To make this broth a meal, gently poach chopped vegetables (mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini) and thinly sliced proteins (chicken, shrimp, fish, or tofu) in the hot broth until cooked through. Garnish with lime wedges and chopped cilantro.

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