It is worth going through the trouble of getting the harder-to-find ingredients in this recipe. Then you'll have them to hand and can make this delicious soup any time you'd like!
Tamarind soup base is available online or in some Asian shops.
I love to take recopies and either alter them to suit my tastes or to what I already have in the kitchen. For this recipe I used everything the same but excluded the lime leaves and lemon glass because I did not have any on hand. I also served this over noodles and used left over whole roasted chicken cut up into pieces. It was great! The only concern: salt. I used Knorr Tamarind Soup Base (which I get at my local Vietnamese store) which has great flavor but is salty. The broth was a bit salty at first, but once I added the tomatoes and chicken the salt was absorbed for the most part. You could taste it and throw in a half a potato for a few minutes to absorb more of the salt – just be careful not to cook the potato to mush. This is much better than what they serve in many restaurants, it does not have that thick syrupy texture, plus you know it is fresh! - 19 Jul 2007 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
This is a great soup. It was tough to find the Tamarind soup base, but it's a must for this recipe. Also, instead of adding the rice at the beginning, I cooked vermicelli noodles separate. Once the soup was ready, I put the noodles in bowls and added the soup to each bowl, and served. - 28 Aug 2010 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)