Vietnamese Sweet-Sour Shrimp Soup

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2 tablespoons tamarind pulp (optional)

1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots

1 tablespoon salad oil

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon Asian chili paste or hot chili flakes

5 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth

1 pound (30 to 35 per lb.) shrimp, peeled, deveined, and rinsed

1 cup pineapple chunks (3/4 in.)

2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla) or reduced-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup lime juice (6 tablespoons if you don't use tamarind pulp)

2 Roma tomatoes (6 oz. total), rinsed, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges

2 cups (6 oz.) bean sprouts, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Thai or anise basil (rau hung que) or regular basil leaves

2 tablespoons chopped rice-paddy herb (ngo om) or fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh Thai (hang prik) or serrano chilies

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