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Asian Noodle Soups--Cook-Off 18

Cookoff

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#1 Chris Amirault

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 10:46 AM

Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.

For our eighteenth Cook-Off, we're making Asian noodle soups. We're talking about Vietnamese pho, bun bo hue, and hu tieu, Chinese niu rou mian, Phillipino mami, Japanese tonkotsu and miso ramen, Korean kuksu... and dozens more. If it's Asian soup and it has noodles in it, then you've got a Cook-Off dish!

If you ask me, it's taken a bit too long for the Cook-Off to get here, given that there's a movie devoted to the subject (Tampopo), that the dish of pho is likely one of the big eGullet go-to foods (see, for example, the adopted comfort foods thread, where pho makes regular appearances), and that a noodle soup, well prepared, is a thing of beauty, care, and warmth. (Of course, if you're like me, you've also had a lot of noodle soups, poorly prepared -- but gussying up your Sapporo Ichiban is a subject for this thread, and not our Cook-Off, deal? :wink:)

When preparing Asian noodle soups, there are three distinct and crucial components: the stock or broth; the noodles themselves; the accompaniments or other ingredients. I'm hoping we can share strategies and tips for the first and the last here -- but if there are any noodle makers out there, please do chime in, as we all would find that art fascinating.

No surprise that other Society members have paved the way for our efforts here. There are threads devoted to Ramen and to Tonkotsu Ramen broth, ruminations about pho, Chinese beef noodle soup (Niu Rou Mian), and guppymo's Vietnamese cooking, which starts off with Bun Bo Hue. Those approaching stock making with trepidation will find calmer nerves after perusing the eGCI stock course -- and Ah Leung (hzrt8w)'s directions for soup bone stock here are very useful for a Cantonese method.

Time to find some big bones and meat, some lemon grass and ginger, some rice or wheat noodles, and get cooking!
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#2 snowangel

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 10:58 AM

Chris, let's not forget about the numerous Thai noodle soups -- bah mi nam, or Khao Soi.
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#3 aznsailorboi

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 11:05 AM

I"M INNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :laugh:
...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

#4 OnigiriFB

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 11:57 AM

Oooo fun fun.. I'm game. Now what to cook, what to cook? *wanders off to ponder deep thoughts about Asian noodle soups*

#5 jackal10

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 12:06 PM

Are instant packets allowable?

#6 Chris Amirault

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 12:10 PM

Jack, say more. I'm confused.
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#7 Toliver

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 12:24 PM

Perhaps he's referring to those Ramen noodles in a styrofoam cup where you just add hot water and a flavor packet and you've got instant asian noodle soup. :wink:
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#8 jackal10

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 12:33 PM

Exactly Tolliver.
Good standby. Much eaten by programmers and students. Any Asian supermarket will have lots of brightly coloured packets. Some are even quite decent.
Any favourites?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramen

Edited by jackal10, 18 January 2006 - 12:34 PM.


#9 Chris Amirault

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 12:41 PM

That's what I thought -- and I anticipated that idea above:

(Of course, if you're like me, you've also had a lot of noodle soups, poorly prepared -- but gussying up your Sapporo Ichiban is a subject for this thread, and not our Cook-Off, deal? :wink:)

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#10 jgm

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 01:11 PM

Are instant packets allowable?

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Yes, but not for soup making.

You may use them for anything else you please. :rolleyes:

#11 Pan

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 11:46 PM

There are also all sorts of varieties of laksa, as you can see in the laksa thread.

#12 Pan

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 11:51 PM

Some of you may also want to try out the instructions in the Beef Noodle Soup, Niu Rou Mian thread in the China forum.

#13 Arianna

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 01:27 AM

oooh. i'm in! does tempura udon count? i've been meaning to try making that!

#14 Chris Amirault

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 06:16 AM

But of course!
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#15 Grub

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 06:41 AM

Well, I'm in on this one! These cook-offs were one of the first things that really fired me up, when I discovered egullet, and I'm always kicking myself for not taking part more often. I'd love doing Tampopo's ramen -- but unlike Bend It Like Beckham, the DVD doesn't have a special feature with a little cooking show... I've never done Asian noodles before.

How about some good recipes, please? I was planning on a Tom Yum soup this Sunday, but I'd much rather make it a noodle soup. And oh yeah -- what's the difference between Asian noodle soups, and Asian non-noodle soups (like Tom Yum)?

#16 BarbaraY

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 07:37 AM

Count me in. I bought a package of Chinese noodles with the intention of making soup. Then this thread started. Works for me.

#17 Jason Perlow

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 07:39 AM

Well, I'm in on this one! These cook-offs were one of the first things that really fired me up, when I discovered egullet, and I'm always kicking myself for not taking part more often. I'd love doing Tampopo's ramen -- but unlike Bend It Like Beckham, the DVD doesn't have a special feature with a little cooking show... I've never done Asian noodles before.

How about some good recipes, please? I was planning on a Tom Yum soup this Sunday, but I'd much rather make it a noodle soup. And oh yeah -- what's the difference between Asian noodle soups, and Asian non-noodle soups (like Tom Yum)?

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You can make Tom Yum soup with noodles. Its a variation found pretty frequently in Bangkok, actually.

Tom Yum with Noodles

http://members.virtu...m/m/p/m/10a15a/
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#18 miladyinsanity

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 08:14 AM

Hmm... I really could just take pictures of every bowl of noodle soup--and I eat plenty bowls of noodle soup--with rough gauges of what was in the soup, as well as what noodles should go well with it.
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#19 Jinmyo

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 08:34 AM

Yeah, sure. I'm in.
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#20 Tepee

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 09:11 AM

No recipes needed.
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#21 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 09:31 AM

Hmm...is there a time frame on this thing? Sounds like fun, and I'd love to give this a try, but need time to think about what to make.
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#22 ellencho

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 10:10 AM

I made my own pho late last year. Here's the meez for the stock. There's oxtails, peppercorns, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, blackened onions and ginger. I then added salt and fish sauce afterwards (not pictured).
Posted Image

Here's the final product.
Posted Image

Do dumpling soups count as noodle soups? I made a chicken based broth for a won ton soup over the weekend.

Edited by ellencho, 19 January 2006 - 10:11 AM.

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#23 Daniel

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 12:49 PM

A couple of days ago I made the Sichuan Hot Pot according to Land of Plenty.. I added, pork, beef, mushrooms, eggplant, bok choy and these japanese angel hair noodles.. It was very spicey.. I loved it.

Posted Image

Edited by Daniel, 19 January 2006 - 12:50 PM.


#24 Chris Amirault

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 02:48 PM

Hmm...is there a time frame on this thing? 

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Nope, Ictd. We're 24/7/365.25!

I made my own pho late last year. Here's the meez for the stock. There's oxtails, peppercorns, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, blackened onions and ginger. I then added salt and fish sauce afterwards (not pictured).

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Ellen, that looks amazing. You must, must, must put the recipe into RecipeGullet for us. Please oh please! I'll even let you call dumplings noodles! :wink:
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#25 aznsailorboi

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 11:10 AM

Ooooh I was gonna make Pho too....but ellencho beat me to it. :angry: just kidding :laugh: I will still make it this weekend and I will include my step by step photo thingy hehe I'll try to make it look as good as hz8rt's photos.

I only use soup bones without meat on mine, coz it produces a clear broth than the ones made with bones with meat on it. but all the other ingredients are the same...charred onion and ginger, cinnamon, star anise, and cloves, and boiled for hours. :biggrin:
...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

#26 FatTony

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 12:54 PM

Ellen, I've never come across blackened onions. Can you elaborate?

#27 BarbaraY

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 05:25 PM

Last evening I made Beijing Noodle Soup from a recipe in Martin Yan's Culinary Journey Through China. Guess it was OK 'cause I had a bowl for breakfast.
I took photos but, for some reason, I can't get pics to upload to the computer.

I had a good supply of chicken bones saved in the freezer and made chicken broth with just garlic and ginger. It is beautiful, clear, yellow and there is enough for several more dishes.

The recipe calls for shrimp, and tender beef, chicken, or pork. I used a piece of beef tenderloin that was too small to to be called a steak.
Also called for dry mushrooms, napa cabbage, fresh noodles and various seasoning; soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, and sherry. Topped with finely cut strips of nori seaweed.
I did give it a sprinkle of Accent (sorry 'bout that but it doesn't bother us). Also used some finely cut green onion.

I had everything in the house so I didn't even have to make a special trip for supplies.

I'm sure I'll make it again but will put the noodles in the bowls instead of putting all of them into the soup at once. They got rather soggy over night

#28 Chris Amirault

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 06:38 AM

First, a pho find. Alford and Duguid's Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet tells us to char both the onion and the ginger to give the broth that added depth of flavor (along with the anise, cloves, and cinnamon).

I'm hoping to get out to the stores today to get the ingredients for the pho stock, and both recipes call for gravy or stew beef. I know that thinly sliced rump is the preferred meat to be served with pho bo -- but does anyone use that stewed beef, or is it just kaput?

edited to correct several errors -- but I kept the cheap alliteration joke -- ca

Edited by chrisamirault, 21 January 2006 - 07:05 AM.

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#29 Shalmanese

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 07:59 AM

Two quick tips:

Don't have frozen stock in your freezer? Don't have the time or inclinition simmer bones? I like to make what I call a quick broth. Saute lots of spring onions in 1 tbsp of vegtable oil. Throw in a glug of dark soy and spread it rapidly around the pan with your wooden spoon, then after a few seconds, dump in a load of water. The hot pan caremalises the sugars in the soy and leads to a deep amber, complex and tasty soup base without hours of effort. Of course, adding stock at this point is also welcome but I always like to do the caremalisation step for any asian soup.

Second tip: If your adding in thinly sliced meat at the end, don't put it in straight away, it will overcook. Turn off the heat, add some leafy greens, stir and wait for 2 minutes, THEN add the (still slightly frozen) beef. Wait at least 5 minutes, the beef will look distressingly raw, but it will eventually come up to a perfect medium rare rather than be overdone.
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#30 ellencho

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 08:04 AM

Ok, so I promise by the end of the weekend I'll have the pho recipe up. We're in the midst of house hunting so my head is sort of swirling right now.

All of the written recipes I've come across for pho, as well as those that I've encountered via friends call for blackened aromatics. I have no idea what pho would taste like without the blackened aromatics, but I think Duguid has a point about a certain depth of flavor. Blackening aromatics is easy. All you need is a fork/tongs and a flame. I suppose if you don't have a gas range, you can always use your broiler to blacken your onions and ginger.
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