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Hungarian cuisine contains a large repetoire of classics.  So extensive is the list that one might never be inclined to look outside the recipe box of traditional favorites and try one of the newer ways of cooking ‘Hungarian Style’.  Lemon and Lime Garlic Cream Soup is one of those recipes that is outside the traditional box.  It is a good example of the innovative side of the Hungarian kitchen and well worth trying.

Lemon and Lime Garlic Cream Soup, garnished with Shrimp, Pine Nuts, and Fresh Coriander ~ Citromos fokhagymakremleves (for 6 people)


  • 2 whole heads of garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 medium shallot, finely minced
  • 2 lemons:  remove the zest and mince it fine; squeeze the juice of both lemons and reserve it
  • 1 lime:  remove the zest and mince it fine, too; squeeze the juice and reserve it as well
  • 1 cup of pine nuts:  skinned almonds are a substitute; the soup in the photos is made with pine nuts
  • a small fresh green chile, such as a Serrano, seeded and minced, or a Thai green chile
  • 12 large-ish shrimp: shell them and reserve the shells; clean them and cut them in big-ish pieces
  • 5 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 5 Tablespoons of white wine
  • 8 cups of water and 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric, also known as Curcuma
  • 2/3 – 1 cup of heavy cream, a little more or less is a matter of taste
  • about 1/2 cup of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt


  • a large heavy pot
  • a large strainer and a large bowl
  • a heavy-bottomed frying pan in which to brown some of the pine nuts and cook the shrimp

1.  In a dry, heavy-bottomed frying pan, brown  2/3 cup of the pine nuts (or almonds), and set them aside to cool.

2.  Heat 3 Tablespoons of the olive oil in the pot and add the minced garlic, shallot, green chile, shrimp shells and the remaining 1/3 cup of the pine nuts.  Cook, stirring everything around, until the shells turn a pinkish color–which will be in a few minutes.

3.  Add the wine and cook, stirring, to reduce it by half.

4.  Add the water and bouillon cubes, 4 Tablespoons of lemon juice and half the minced lemon zest.  Simmer the soup gently for 45 minutes.

5.  Strain the soup into a large bowl.  Then return it to the pot and add the turmeric, the lime zest, the rest of the lemon zest, the heavy cream, and the lime juice.

6.  In the pan used to brown the pine nuts, heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, add the shrimp and cook them quickly, moving them around with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Grind some salt and pepper over them, add any remaining lemon juice, and half of the fresh, chopped coriander.  Set the shrimp aside, still in the pan, to keep them warm — or to briefly rewarm them if they grow cool.

7.  Chop the browned pine nuts and mix them with the other half of the fresh, chopped coriander:

8.  When ready to serve the soup,  place the bowls out on a counter.  Heat the soup, stirring, without bringing it to a boil.  Warm the shrimp a little, if necessary. Place a small mound of shrimp in the middle of each bowl, ladle soup into the bowls and sprinkle them with the browned pine nuts and coriander.

A Note:  Lemon and Lime Garlic Cream Soup is the First Course of the Lunch MenuLunch on a Winter’s Day, and is adapted from a recipe in the Hungarian cooking magazine konyha.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012