Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Noodle soup

As some people have requested, here are some ideas for the noodle soup I keep banging on about on facebook:

Noodle soup can be light, fragrant and invigoratingly spicy; it can be deep, warming and soothing - in fact it can be absolutely anything you want it to be. Start with any fairly light stock (veg, chicken, fish), ideally homemade.  If you don’t have any stock, make the whole thing from a miso base, but make sure you use paste rather than the powdered stuff.  I often do that in any case because it just tastes so good, but it is less authentic (if you care about such things) and is less pretty. 

Into your soup base sling some finely sliced Kafir lime leaves, a good handful.  If you have the dried ones, just crumble them in.  If you're going for invigorating, add a red chilli or two (I use one to one & a half birds eye chillies WITH seeds) depending on how lip-tingling you like it.  Sploosh in a few glugs of Nam Pla (Thai fish sauce), some lemongrass if you happen to have some, ditto galangal.  I generally put in the juice of a lime or two as I often like it really sour. Leave that to steep for half an hour or so to let the flavours get really exciting.

That’s it really.  After that, put in whatever you fancy.  At the moment we particularly like the combination of noodles (glass / rice noodles look nicest and are beautifully light), king prawns, thickly sliced chestnut mushrooms & pak choi.  If you are adding Chinese greens (pak choi or bok choi), chop tem roughly and add them at the very last second & serve straight away as they will do all necessary cooking between kitchen & table - that way they retain a little crunch.  We sometimes add sliced chicken and thinly sliced char-grilled steak works really well too.  We've recently made it with Chinese spiced belly pork shredded into it with excellent results! Make it up & add whatever you happen to have around. A little splash of toasted sesame oil just before serving adds warmth & depth if you fancy it.

Chargrilled chicken in a soothing miso base

Prawn & chesnut mushroom in a spicy sour chicken stock and miso base

Chinese spiced shredded pork in a sweet, light fragrant broth

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