This recipe is closely adapted from Leela Punyaratabandhu with 2 exceptions: corn and mushrooms. I wanted this dish to serve as a one pot meal, so I felt it needed some additional veggies (or funghi as the case may be). Feel free to add whatever sounds good and is seasonal, or serve a salad on the side and serve without additional add-ins.
Cook the ramen noodles according to package directions--without salt (this recipe has plenty of salt without salting the noodles). Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
While the noodles are cooking, place the stock in a large saucepan. Add the makrut leaves, galangal slices and lemon grass. Bring to a boil. Cover and turn off the heat. Let the stock steep for 5 minutes.
Remove the aromatics from the stock and discard.
Bring the stock back to a boil and add the mushrooms and corn. Reduce heat to simmer and let cook for 5 minutes.
Add the evaporated milk (or coconut milk, if using), nam prik pao, tomalley and shrimp to the simmering stock. Add water if the liquid level looks too low. Bring to a rolling boil and then turn the heat off.
Season the soup with the fish sauce and lime juice. Taste. If everyone wants it spicy, add some of the chile pepper powder (I added that to individual servings) and taste for more fish sauce (salty) or lime juice (sour). The broth should be sour with a hit of salty, slightly unbalanced in favor of sour. There should be a slight sweet note from the nam prik pao. Remember you will be adding noodles--you want this soup to be boldly flavored. Make it as spicy as you can tolerate as well.
Place a pile of cooked ramen noodles in individual serving bowls and then ladle the soup, with the shrimp, mushrooms and corn, over the noodles. Garnish with chile pepper powder (either hot, like cayenne, or a milder one, like New Mexico), lime wedges, and chopped cilantro and sawtooth coriander. Be generous with the herbs!
* In the past I have referred to makrut leaves as kaffir lime leaves. It has come to my attention that the roots of the word kaffir are actually racist and derogatory in South Africa. I used the word in ignorance, but now that I know I am making an effort to call it makrut, which is what South East Asians actually call the leaves.