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Asian Noodle Soups--Cook-Off 18

Cookoff

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131 replies to this topic

#61 Marco_Polo

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 01:36 AM

i've never participated in a cook-off before, but marco_polo, you inspired me...
i made similar condiments for it--the omelet, the pickled cucumbers, some carrots in ginger/soy/sesame, some watercress instead of spinach. and of course kimchi.
i'm going to make the real thing next time, because i know it'll be significantly better.  but thank you for the inspiration anyway.

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Hi mrbigjas, good job, it sounds great. Let us know how you get on next time.

#62 bilrus

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 06:58 PM

Served my Chicken Pho that I started a few days ago upthread -

Fixins ready for the bowl
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Noodles being warmed up
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Everything in the bowl
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This turned out to be a good recipe. The broth was surprisingly rich and had a good flavor. A heavier hand than I'd usually use with the fish sauce, soy sauce and salt helped perk it up quite a bit.

Edited by bilrus, 25 January 2006 - 06:59 PM.

Bill Russell

#63 Susan in FL

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 08:02 PM

Some good-looking soups here!

aznsailorboi, this is a little nitpicky, but by "coconut sugar," do you mean normal palm sugar, or is it really from coconut palms?

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I think they're just regular palm sugar.....hehe I just copied off the label on the packaging. but they do taste just like the regular palm sugar, i just didnt know what they're generically called in english.

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Maybe a little nitpicky, but a good question, and good answer. Thanks!


Served my Chicken Pho that I started a few days ago upthread -

Fixins ready for the bowl
Posted Image

Noodles being warmed up
Posted Image

Everything in the bowl
Posted Image

This turned out to be a good recipe.  The broth was surprisingly rich and had a good flavor.  A heavier hand than I'd usually use with the fish sauce, soy sauce and salt helped perk it up quite a bit.

View Post

Bill, I see your Sriracha sauce in the photo. How is it? I bought a bottle of that brand yesterday without looking closely at the label. I've done some reading that says it's only "real" Sriracha if it was produced in the Sriracha region of Thailand. The bottle I had prior to this one was from Thailand and delicious. I haven't tasted this kind, from the US yet, but I am expecting that a Thai person might not think it is Sriracha sauce. And, I'm not much for hotness; I much prefer to taste the flavor. That's why I liked the kind I bought before. Whatever, it was only $2.99, so if it isn't as good, I can keep it on hand and go buy some Thai produced Sriracha. Please excuse me if I offend anyone about brands. If my husband reads this, he will say I am being a snob. I mean no offense.
I did the cook-off tonight, but I am not near ready to post the photos and write it up. I'll be back!
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#64 mrbigjas

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 09:43 PM

i have a question about asian noodle soups in general.

unlike many pasta-based soups (i'm thinking italian and american traditions here), in asian noodle soup recipes, one doesn't tend to put dry noodles into the soup and let them cook there, but rather cook them separately, and then pour the soup over them.

why is this?

is it about preserving the color of the noodle?

is it about the soup being the soup and the noodles being kind of a filler,for lack of a better word, and therefore not really part of the soup? like serving chili or gumbo over rice?

or is there something else?

just curious if there's something else i might be missing.

#65 Pan

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 12:22 AM

[...]I've done some reading that says it's only "real" Sriracha if it was produced in the Sriracha region of Thailand.  The bottle I had prior to this one was from Thailand and delicious.  I haven't tasted this kind, from the US yet, but I am expecting that a Thai person might not think it is Sriracha sauce.[...]

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Susan, pho is a Vietnamese soup, not a Thai soup, and every Vietnamese restaurant I've been to in New York prominently displays Huy Fong brand Sriracha on the table, so if it's good enough for all the Vietnamese-New Yorkers, it just might be good enough for you. And as you said, it's cheap. I'd suggest you try a little of the sauce by itself, then decide whether you want to add it while eating a bowl of your pho. What I've usually seen Vietnamese diners do in pho joints is put the sauce they want in a little saucer, then use their chopsticks to put some some meat and fresh vegetables and some noodles in the porcelain spoon, then take sauce from the saucer and put it on top with their chopsticks. Then, they put the spoonful of food into their mouths with the chopsticks. At the end, they may or may not drink the broth, but I've found that the wait staff suspects that if you didn't drink the broth, you might not have really liked the soup.

#66 Marco_Polo

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 12:23 AM

i have a question about asian noodle soups in general.
unlike many pasta-based soups (i'm thinking italian and american traditions here), in asian noodle soup recipes, one doesn't tend to put dry noodles into the soup and let them cook there, but rather cook them separately, and then pour the soup over them. 
why is this?

Cooking the noodles separately then rinsing under cold water both keeps the cooking broth clear and clean (very important) and also removes excess starch from the noodles.

#67 Pan

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 12:40 AM

I don't understand the concept of excess starch in noodles, since they're a starchy item. Please explain.

#68 Marco_Polo

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 01:39 AM

I don't understand the concept of excess starch in noodles, since they're a starchy item. Please explain.

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Cooking the noodles separately then rinsing removes the surface starch that comes out in cooking and which would otherwise cause them to stick together.

It's the same with washing rice before cooking. I can remember my grandmother filling the pot or rice cooker with rice, adding water, whooshng it around and around with her hands. The water turns milky from the 'excess' starch washed off, she drains it away, fills again, washes, rinses and does it all again. Maybe five, six times until the water is clear. Then she'd leave the rice to soak for an hour or two before cooking. It's still the way I cook rice myself.

Anybody else wash and soak rice before cooking?

#69 Tepee

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 01:49 AM

Wash and soak rice? I think everyone washes rice at least 3 rinses, and I do now and then soak rice before cooking more for convenience than anything else as I don't find any difference in the outcome.

Rinsing noodles under cold water is ideal not only to remove the excess starch but to stop further cooking. We, chinese, like our noodles al dente too, and not sticky mushy. Hawkers, who don't have excess to running water, just dip/rinse the noodles in a pot of water after the first blanch, then quick-blanch a second time.
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#70 Pan

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 02:17 AM

I rinse rice before cooking, but I think of it as more to get any dirt or dust or whatever off than for any other reason. I don't put water on noodles after cooking, however. Noodles should be clean to begin with, so I just boil them, then toss them in the sauce and serve. Of course, that's for pasta with sauce. But come to think of it, in European-style soups with noodles, I never remember the noodles being cooked separately by my father or mother. They just put the noodles in the soup and let them simmer, making sure to put them in late enough so that they didn't get mushy (or they used rice and, in that instance, dispensed with rinsing it, I think). I don't think we ever cared about the marginal amount of cloudiness that the noodles would put into the soup, since I'm thinking of things like a whole chicken and a bunch of vegetables in soup with a smaller amount of noodles. But then again, those weren't Asian soups.

#71 bilrus

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 07:37 AM

Bill, I see your Sriracha sauce in the photo.  How is it?  I bought a bottle of that brand yesterday without looking closely at the label.  I've done some reading that says it's only "real" Sriracha if it was produced in the Sriracha region of Thailand.  The bottle I had prior to this one was from Thailand and delicious.  I haven't tasted this kind, from the US yet, but I am expecting that a Thai person might not think it is Sriracha sauce.  And, I'm not much for hotness; I much prefer to taste the flavor.  That's why I liked the kind I bought before.  Whatever, it was only $2.99, so if it isn't as good, I can keep it on hand and go buy some Thai produced Sriracha.  Please excuse me if I offend anyone about brands.  If my husband reads this, he will say I am being a snob.  I mean no offense.
I did the cook-off tonight, but I am not near ready to post the photos and write it up.  I'll be back!

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My answer would be the same as Pan's - this is the same brand that most of the Pho places here in DC seem to have on the table, so it is the only one I know. It is also the only one that they carried at Wegman's when I was there this weekend.

I don't use a lot of it in my soup anyway. I do find the flavor to be a bit more "harsh" than "Western" hot sauces. But I feel that way about most Asian ones like sambal oelek or garlic-chili pastes.
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#72 aznsailorboi

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 07:52 AM

I don't cook my noodles separate though, but I buy the fresh pho noodles and then soak in hot water from the faucet, then when I'm ready to serve I just layer them in the bowl, noodles at the bottom, then the raw beef slices then veggies. I make sure when I ladle my broth in, that the broth is boiling vigorously, this method tends to cook the noodles just enough but still leave it with that chewiness of the rice noodles....mushy isn't nice to eat.
...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

#73 Chris Amirault

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 10:50 AM

Had the pho bo last night. Does anyone know if the bo is pronounced like the pho? Fuh buh or fuh boh? Anyway, however it's pronounced, it was fantastic, served with cilantro, culantro, Thai basil, bean sprouts, sliced onion, lime, sliced chili peppers, sriracha, and paper thin eye of round. Here's the eye of round, frozen pretty solid, getting sliced up:

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Nice 'n' thin:

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My mom's bowl:

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I'll also add that precooking the dry rice noodles and then dousing them with cold water to stop the cooking requires the extra step -- which I didn't do last night :hmmm: -- of reheating the noodles with very hot water. Otherwise, when you pour your wonderful pho stock into the bowl, the stock cools off drastically bc of the cold noodles.
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#74 aznsailorboi

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 11:18 AM

Chris---that eye of round is beautiful!!! so red......looks so fresh, and the bowl of the finish product was fabulous!
...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

#75 Shalmanese

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 11:32 AM

What is everybodys opinions on the fattiness of the beef for noodle soups? Well marbled meat can withstand a bit more cooking and is a bit more tender but meat high in connective tissue, if sliced thin enough, provides a wonderful chewy texture and no toughness. Has anybody tried Wagyu ribeye noodle soup? I wager that would be something of an experience.
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#76 aznsailorboi

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 11:49 AM

I LIKE FAT!!!!! :laugh: ok marbled is good too, i think thinly sliced marbled meat would be perfect...thats how i choose meat for pho. lean beef slices are just too healthy for me.... :hmmm: but kidding aside, IMO lean beef slices would still be tender as long as its thinly sliced, and since its only being blanched I doubt the scalding soup can overcook it.
...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

#77 aznsailorboi

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 11:56 AM

I think I'm gonna make another asian noodle soup tonight.... this I haven't tried yet, Its Gari Ga, its Vietnamese chicken curry soup with bun, I got the recipe from my roomate's mom when I went home with him for Thanksgiving.....but I also want to make something I havn't heard of yet.
...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

#78 Jason Perlow

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 12:22 PM

[...]I've done some reading that says it's only "real" Sriracha if it was produced in the Sriracha region of Thailand.  The bottle I had prior to this one was from Thailand and delicious.  I haven't tasted this kind, from the US yet, but I am expecting that a Thai person might not think it is Sriracha sauce.[...]

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Susan, pho is a Vietnamese soup, not a Thai soup, and every Vietnamese restaurant I've been to in New York prominently displays Huy Fong brand Sriracha on the table, so if it's good enough for all the Vietnamese-New Yorkers, it just might be good enough for you.

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I've had both the Huy Fong "cock" Sriracha (made in California using domestically grown chiles) and also the "Gull" brand Sriracha (made in Vietnam). Personally, I prefer the Huy Fong, because I think they use more garlic, is one of the hottest ones I've had, and it has less sugar in it. As Michael says, the Huy Fong is pretty much univeral in the Vietnamese restaurants in the NY Metro Area and also in California.

http://www.huyfong.c...rames/index.htm

http://importfood.co...acha_sauce.html

"Sriracha" as I understand is a generic term for this type of sauce, so the issue of genuine versus non-genuine is pretty murky. However, a while ago the Huy Fong sauce was being counterfeited:

http://forums.egulle...showtopic=65948
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#79 Marco_Polo

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 03:26 PM

Had the pho bo last night.
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Nice bowl, Chris. Looks really friggin' fantastic (says he, just back from Italian wine tasting and hungry enough to eat the house...). Going to have to try this real soon.

MP

#80 purplewiz

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 07:11 PM

I've been wanting to make the Asian Salmon Laksa from Ainsley Harriott's Gourmet Express II ever since I was given the book, and this cook off was the perfect excuse to finally get it all together.

I don't know about authenticity, but the soup was pretty good. It's salmon strips and bok choy in a coconut curry broth with lemon grass, shallots, ginger, and garlic, poured over rice noodles. The salmon is marinated in lime juice before cooking.

I admit to monkeying with the proportions, reducing the amount of noodles and increasing the amount of bok choy, to make the dish fit into our eating plan better. I also took the liberty of garnishing with chopped cilantro and some red pepper flakes, since the red Asian chili peppers that the recipe called for are scarcer than hen's teeth in this town.

I liked the basic flavors, but it lacked oomph, so I ended up squeezing lime juice over each serving - which was perfect, it was exactly that it needed.

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#81 anzu

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 02:32 AM

Had the pho bo last night. Does anyone know if the bo is pronounced like the pho? Fuh buh or fuh boh?

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Bo is pronounced more like the boh ofyour transcription. Aim for the 'or' sound in a word like 'morning' and you'll be close.

#82 OnigiriFB

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 06:54 AM

Wow everyone has done an awesome job of asian soups. I haven't forgotten about this cook off just been a bit too busy to make anything lately. I'm still tossing ideas around about what to make. So far I've narrowed it down to three different Thai noodle dishes. Hopefully next week will be less hectic and I can make it down to the asian store. Good job everyone! :smile:

#83 Chufi

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 11:31 AM

Finally time for some noodlesoup tonight.
I did not follow a recipe, but just put some things together I had in the house.. and some shrimp, tofy and coconutmilk I picked up on the way home.
here's what I did: fried some shallots, garlic, ginger and chili in a little oil. Poured some really good-flavoured chickenstock I had in the freezer, and half a can of cocnut milk. Added some limeleaves and fishsauce, and left it to simmer for about half an hour.
In the meantime, I marinated some cubes of tofu in sambal brandal and soysauce. Then fried over high heat.. these were so good.. I should have made more!
Heated up shrimp and baby bokchoy in the broth. Ladled it over noodles (bought in my chinese supermarket, they are labelled Ho Fan wheat noodles).
Garnished with beansprouts, coriander, chili, some raw bokchoy and the tofu.

I don't know what this was, but I hope it's Asian enough for the cook-off. The flavour was fantastic!

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#84 Pan

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 05:44 PM

Klary, what's sambal brandal? A Dutch name for sambal belacan/terasi (shrimp paste with hot pepper), perhaps?

Edited by Pan, 27 January 2006 - 05:45 PM.


#85 miladyinsanity

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 08:25 PM

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There you go.

This is rice vermicelli in pig's stomach soup with a chicken drumstick. Not a very appetizing picture, I know, but the soup is good!

I'll endeavour to get better pictures when I talk my mom into making Penang-style prawn noodles. :wub:
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#86 Chufi

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 01:41 PM

Klary, what's sambal brandal? A Dutch name for sambal belacan/terasi (shrimp paste with hot pepper), perhaps?

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I don't know what the word brandal means, it's not Dutch, I always assumed it was Indonesian. 'Sambal' is sort of synonomous with chilipaste over here (I know that's not what it means) , and you can buy all sorts of different ones. I currently have in my fridge:
sambal oelek, chilipaste from raw chilipeppers,
sambal djeroek, chilipaste with limejuice and limeleaves,
sambal brandal, this is a fried paste of chilipepers, sugar and terasi.
sambal peteh, chilipaste with peteh beans

I like the fried sambals because they are less hot but have (in my opinion) more flavor.

#87 sanrensho

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 01:10 AM

Made khao soi today, as detailed in the Khao Soi Battle thread.

Wonderful stuff. This will be a regular dish for us. Our 7-year old was even stealing bits of food from my bowl (the kids had padh si yeuw), and the 4-year old also had a few bites without complaint. This was a pleasant surprise as I didn't think they could handle the heat.
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#88 pork

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 07:35 AM

I made pho last night but regrettably did not take pictures!

#89 Jason Perlow

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 04:32 PM

Tonight we decided to make a traditonal-style Chinese soup stock using the leftover duck carcasses from last night's annual Chinese New Year Celebration.

The soup itself was a combination of the picked over peking ducks, simmered into stock overnight, with chicken stock added to balance out the strong flavor. Leftover frozen char siu was cooked to death in the broth to render out all their flavor (in lieu of Chinese ham) along with ginger, garlic, black peppercorns, sichuan peppercorn, shitakke mushroom stalks (the caps all prepped for tomorrow's dinner) and a big bunch of cilantro and scallions. After simmering this for a while, everything was strained out to yeild a very strong Chinese soup stock. We didnt bother trying to clarify this since for it was for home consumption.

To make the finished soup we added Shanghai Bokchoy, Spinach, shrimp, fresh cilantro, mungbean sprouts, and some kickass storebought char siu I bought today. And of course, the fresh Wonton Skin Noodles, and a hit of sesame oil. And a few drops of Maggi Seasoning (The Taste of Asia!). Hey, there ain't no substitute for MSG.

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Fresh Char Siu, threatened with early consumption. Good thing I bought 2lbs of it!

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The finished soup in the pot.

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Plated portion.
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#90 lesfen

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 05:03 PM

Jason, you are the king of food porn.





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