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Asian Noodle Soups--Cook-Off 18


Chris Amirault
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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

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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 (log)

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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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.

PS: I am a guy.

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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.

Believe me, I tied my shoes once, and it was an overrated experience - King Jaffe Joffer, ruler of Zamunda

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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.

You can also use a cast iron skillet on the stove top, which is a common Mexican technique.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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This cook-off thread, as always, is inspirational! And what a wonderful topic: Asian noodle soups!

It has kick-started me to prepare one of my all-time favourite dishes, kuksu, or, as we always called it in my home, Korean 'spaghetti'. Homestyle kuksu, as made by my mother (who's version was, of course, always THE BEST), is a big bowl of slippery, white son myon or Korean vermicelli noodles swimming in homemade kalbitang beef broth and garnished with Korean barbecued meat - bulgogi or kalbi; strips of egg; sharp, vinegary cucumbers; soy-dressed spinach or watercress namul; and toasted sesame seeds.

Here a picture of last night's dinner:

kooksubig.jpg

For me, this is food for the soul: there is nothing better.

I will post some step-by-step pics showing my method as soon as I can. It's about as simple as can be.

Marc

Edited by Marco_Polo (log)
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All this is making my mouth water... I don't know yet when or what I'll make, though. Thanks for the inclusion of links to recipes, all.

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.

And thanks for those general but very valuable tips.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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I'm making my Pho now for tomorrow, but I won't be able to put up the pics yet coz its still not done, but I will be able to tomorrow night.

the purpose of the blackened aromatics imparts that nice brownish tinge to the soup as well. The onion and the ginger has that stronger scent to it when its fresh, and it usually lingers in the broth if placed in the soup fresh, on the other hand when its been charred they give a nice caramelized flavor and the caramel color.

...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

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Several months ago (has it been that long? shame on me!) I made my first Shrimp Hot and Sour Soup, roughly interpreted from the CIA Cooking at home book. It rocked IMHO!

gallery_28847_1134_25718.jpg

It uses Pad Thai noodles, shrimp, shrooms, garnished with lime, yum.

Edited to fix name of dish.

Edited by eJulia (log)

"Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last.”

Francois Minot

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Here's my illustrated step-by-step for the kuksu.

kooksubig.jpg

Kuksu is a classic of the Korean kitchen, and an excellent one-dish meal, combining noodles in rich broth with an array of garnishes that can be as extensive as you like: marinaded, char-grilled meats, a variety of different namuls (crunchy vegetable salads), shreds of seaweed or stips of fried egg, kim chi of course, darn near any other panchan that you care to use. Everyone, I imagine, makes it their own way. This is the way my mother always did it.

Technical note: I've tried to keep the pictures small to load fast, and they are not always completely sharp as I took them with camera set on aperture priority to avoid using flash.

Homestyle Kuksu - Korean 'spaghetti'

First make your broth. As noted above, this is often the key to a great noodle soup.

meatforbroth.jpg

I like to use top rib, an inexpensive cut of meat that makes a really rich and flavourful broth.

meatcutup.jpg

First, I cut out the best of the rib meat, to butterfly for char-grilling; the meat that is left on the bone is for the broth.

meatinmarinade.jpg

I marinade both the butterflied meat as well as the meat on the bones in the classic Korean barbeque mixture of plenty of chopped garlic, ginger, soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds, scallions, sugar and sesame oil. Get stuck in and massage the meat with your hands. Korean cooking is nothing if not hands on: this is the best way to ensure that all the wonderful, pungent flavours mix in well. It's best to marinade for a good few hours or even overnight.

kalbitang.jpg

To make the kalbitang or rib broth first fry off the marinaded meat on the bone, then add water to cover. Bring to the simmer, skim, and allow to cook until the broth is flavourful and the meat tender. First frying the marinaded meat, my Korean grandmother always said, is the way to make the best, richest flavoured kalbitang. The soya, garlic, ginger and sugar marinade caramelises when it hits the pan and the broth has a good, deep rich colour and flavour.

Meanwhile prepare the condiments.

cucumbers.jpg

I love crunchy, sharp, hot and sweet cucumber namul! Slice a cucumber or two as thinly as possible, place in a bowl, add plenty of salt, cover with water and leave for a quarter of an hour or so. Rinse off salt, squeeze out all the water from the cukes, then dress with rice vinegar, sugar to taste and a good spoon or two of coarse ground chilli powder (I use Portuguese piri piri).

egg.jpg

Next, beat an egg or two (one at a time) and fry to make very thin omelettes. Roll up, and slice into shreds.

condiments.jpg

Also steam some spinach, squeeze out all the moisture, and dress with cho jang - vinegar dipping sauce, made with soy sauce, vinegar, a little sugar and sesame oil. In addition to the cucumber, spinach and egg strips, I like to garnish with shredded scallions, some chopped cilantro and some toasted sesame seeds (toast sesame seeds in a skillet, then add sea salt and grind coarsely in a mortar and pestle).

noodles.jpg

The noodles should be son myon - Korean wheat vermicelli. Boil until done, then refresh under cold water.

grillingkalbi.jpg

Meanwhile char-grill or fry the kalbi or marinaded rib meat.

readyforassembly.jpg

Everything should now be ready for assembly.

bowlsofnoodles.jpg

Take a bowl of noodles...

garnishwithtoastedsesame.jpg

Add a ladle or two of the rich kalbitang broth. Then garnish with the dressed cucumbers, spinach, strips of egg and char-grilled rib meat. Sprinkle a little toasted sesame seed on top.

kooksu3.jpg

Crunch, crunch, slurp, slurp. Enjoy!

Edited by Marco_Polo (log)
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Marco,

That is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen! I really want to try this but I have never seen those son myon noodles before. Any susbstitutes?

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Hi Kristin, you can make kuksu easily with Japanese wheat noodles such as somen which are, I believe, almost identical to son myon. If I haven't got somen, I'll use udon. And *confession confession* if I haven't got either I've even been known to use spaghettini - hey, remember, please, this is homestyle cooking and the key really is the kalbitang broth and the variety of the delicious toppings. The noodles, important though they are, are a delicious and slippery slurp!

MP

Edited by Marco_Polo (log)
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I clipped this recipe for Pho Ga from the Washington Post a while back and have been meaning to make it. Pho 75, the restaurant the recipe is from is one of the best pho shops in the DC area. This thread got me off my rear and motivated.

Today I made the broth. Probably going to have the soup itself tomorrow or Wednesday.

Shallots and ginger to be roasted:

shallots1bl.jpg

Chicken cooking - much quicker step than traditional stock making:

chickenpot9yt.jpg

Star Anise and cinnamon being toasted:

staranise3xp.jpg

This is a huge bowl of broth - probably 5 quarts. It is surprisingly rich given the relatively brief cooking time:

broth9qd.jpg

Chicken ready to be cut up for the soup:

chicken7ll.jpg

More pictures to come when the soup is served...

Edited by bilrus (log)

Bill Russell

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Tom Yum soup with chicken. And noodles.

gallery_28832_1138_6913.jpg

Turned out really good, in spite of some mistakes. But man, this thing was downright traumatic to make. It seems other south east Asian soups get more attention than this thing, because I had problems finding a recipe for it. I only heard about it from some travel show from Thailand, where this soup was cooked by an old lady on a little boat who operated like some kinda street (river) vendor. It seemed so simple and fresh that I had to try it. I searched around for recipes, but this was a while ago, and I hadn't gotten into the good habit of taking detailed notes on recipes after trying them out...

So this time, I was going by a recipe that was OBVIOUSLY incomplete, or incorrect. WAY too little liquid, so I had to add lots of water -- I had NO idea what I did the last time... I think this just freaked me out, because I was just completely on tilt after that. Forgetting all sort of stuff. Forgot to add kaffir lime leaves. Forgot the green onions. Decided to add bean sprouts to the recipe, and got the bean sprouts -- but forgot to add them too. It's a bloody miracle the thing tasted even half decent. Me and Bob Villa: happy freakin' accidents.

Oh yeah, and I forgot the lime juice too -- remembered it after plating it, and added it then.

And of course -- this being an Asian Noodle Soup cook-off, I guess I just couldn't resist screwing the noodles up too, so I cooked them way too soon, and left them around until they congealed into a massive, solid lump that I had to stab at like Norman Bates in order to get them into the soup bowls. I should have used red chilis instead of green, too...

But seeing all these excellent soups here, I reckon I'll have another stab at an Asian noodle soup, though. Fantastic work.

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Here are some Google results for "tom yum kai recipe." Not all of them are actually relevant. "Tom yum gai recipe" results are fewer, but still substantial; same caveat as before, though. Most of the first page of "tom yam gai recipe" results seem irrelevant. "Tom yam kai" has somewhat better results. Between all four of those spellings, there are recipes to choose from, but the important thing is to find a good recipe that satisfies you, not a bunch of recipes that don't. And a propos of that, whose recipe did you use, that you found wanting?

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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... And a propos of that, whose recipe did you use, that you found wanting?

Thanks for the links. The recipe I used, I have no idea about... It's so long since I did this, and I hadn't yet started keeping good records of source materials for recipes at that point...

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I'm working at home today so I got the pho bo stock started using the Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet recipe as a guide. When I went to the Southeast Asian market yesterday to get the meat, I asked the Cambodian woman who runs the store what I should use for pho stock. "Oh, well, they use that beef over there," she said, sighing. Always with the Vietnamese food....

gallery_19804_437_52237.jpg

I'm not even sure what exactly to call this meat. The shank cross cut? I had about 7 pounds, and after breaking it down by cubing the meat and trimming the fat --

gallery_19804_437_57664.jpg

I had 3 1/2 lb meat and 2 1/2 lb bones and marrow. Seemed like a good ratio. I used the Alford and Duguid recipe because, well, everything I make in that book is fantastic, and also because I had seen this double boil method for clarifying the stock over in the cabocha and pork butt bone soup thread by Ah Leung (hzrt8w). It's pretty straightforward: you bring the meat to the boil and boil vigorously (I stirred constantly) for 4-5 min; you basically make this really disgusting stew of proteins, blood, and other dreck. I have chosen to spare you the image.

I also roasted the ginger and onion on my new (:wub:) gas range using bamboo skewers:

gallery_19804_437_51556.jpg

I toasted the star anise, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and cloves while the onion and garlic got charred and chopped:

gallery_19804_437_16893.jpg

Then into the cleaned stock pot we go with lots of cold water, the cleaned meat and bones, and the aromatics. It's going to simmer for a while now.

I also thought I'd share a method I came up with for skimming scum when you have aromatics floating around. I use the fine sieve to skim the scum , and of course I inevitably capture some of the aromatics. To save them, I dump them in a coarse sieve and rise them off, then dump them back into the pot:

gallery_19804_437_3221.jpg

More a bit later. I want to see the bottom of the bowl with this stock, baybee.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I'm not even sure what exactly to call this meat. The shank cross cut? I had about 7 pounds, and after breaking it down by cubing the meat and trimming the fat --

I would call it osso bucco.

Then into the cleaned stock pot we go with lots of cold water, the cleaned meat and bones, and the aromatics. It's going to simmer for a while now.

I also thought I'd share a method I came up with for skimming scum when you have aromatics floating around. I use the fine sieve to skim the scum , and of course I inevitably capture some of the aromatics. To save them, I dump them in a coarse sieve and rise them off, then dump them back into the pot:

There are two ways to avoid this. One is to put a metal colander or steamer rack over the top of the bones and push down with a heavy weight (I use a small cast iron pot filled with water). This won't work for particularly fine spices but it will get most of what you want. The second way is to get a special spice infuser. It's a ball with lots of little holes in it which you can seperate into two halves. You dump the spices in there an the flavour goes into the broth without lots of floaty bits.

PS: I am a guy.

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I'm not even sure what exactly to call this meat. The shank cross cut? I had about 7 pounds, and after breaking it down by cubing the meat and trimming the fat --

I would call it osso bucco.

I thought of that, too, but osso bucco is really the name of a dish and not a cut of meat. It's also veal, not beef.

My house is filled with a heavenly aroma....

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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