Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Aromatic Asian Soup Noodles

Most Oriental cultures have some version of this dish of steaming hot, aromatic broth with bits of vegetables and noodles swimming around. I suppose the most famous would be the Vietnamese “pho”. This is a very regular feature in the HMHB household for a quick mid-week dish that takes about 20 mins to throw together and is deeply satisfying and very filling.

The list of ingredients looks ominous but it is not meant to be. There are no hard and fast rules here, just throw in what you have, skip some of the ingredients, add others if you wish, this dish can handle a lot of playing around with so let loose!

You will need for the stock:

2 litres good homemade chicken stock
1 carrot, chopped in half
3 stalks celery with leaves
Bunch fresh coriander
6 kaffir lime leaves
2 stalks lemongrass, bashed flat and cut into small lengths
1 knob ginger peeled
3 cloves garlic crushed (no need to peel)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 heaped tsp caster sugar
100ml mirin or sherry

You will also need:

225g dry egg noodles
12 cooked prawns or bits of roasted chicken. Or both
8 cherry tomatoes
4 stalks pak choy
1 chilli, chopped fine
1 spring onion finely chopped

(you can add mushrooms, bean sprouts, finely chopped cooked pork, choy sum, chinese cabbage, broccoli, you can sprinkle on crushed peanuts, add a squeeze of lime juice.......)

And then you need to:

Get four large deep bowls lined up ready to go.

Chop the thicker end of the celery stalks into shortish lengths and throw into a big stock pot. Finely chopped the thinner ends with all the leaves and divided equally between the four bowls.

Chop off the roots and the stems of the coriander and throw into the stock pot. Finely chop the coriander leaves and divide equally between the four bowls.

Add all the other stock ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling turn down to a simmer and leave cooking quietly for about 15mins. The kitchen will fill with the most divine smells.

Once the stock has simmered for a while strain the stock and pour back into the stock pot. Taste for seasoning and then bring back to a simmer.

Bring a pot of water to the boil and throw in the egg noodles. Cook for 3 mins only, drain and divide equally between the four bowls.

Wash and then chop the stalks of the pak choy into smallish lengths. Put the dark green leafy bits straight into the soup bowls and quickly blanch the thicker white ends in the stock. Remove and divide between the bowls.

Chop the tomatoes in half and divide between the bowls. Divide the prawns and/or chicken, the chilli and the spring onions between the bowls.

Ladle the stock into the bowls, sprinkle a few chopped coriander leaves on top and away you go. Absolutely yummy and so very, very easy.

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