This warm and soothing Fish and Noodle soup hits the spot! And it is just an illustration of how to get layers and layers of taste into a dish.
As with most recipes, don't be a stickler for rules but work with what you have. In this case, for the fish I used Pangasius fillet and some prawns from the freezer; I usually have a pound or more of prawns in the freezer, just for occasions like these.
The star ingredient of the show is the broth, however. Make your own or use ready-made from the store. I would strongly recommend the first, though.
Mine took 30 minutes to make, with these ingredients:
- Dried fish (such as anchovies or similar; available in any Oriental store)
- Star anise
- Crushed lemongrass
- Crushed coriander seeds
- Szechuan pepper corns
- Stalks of parsley and fresh coriander
- Some slices of fresh ginger
- Some chopped-up chili (more on chili as an ingredient here)
- Several cloves of garlic.
Bring a liter of water to a boil, add all ingredients and let the flavors merge for at least half an hour. Taste and see which flavor needs re-enforcing. Remember: you can always add flavor, but it is practically impossible to take flavor out again. So rather add in phases instead of putting all ingredients in at the same time.
To enforce the flavor, you can then add fish sauce, dashi or miso paste to bring the broth to your favorite taste.
Once the broth is to your liking, add ingredients. Think about the order for a minute: you want all ingredients to be cooked at the same time. So, hard vegetables go in before soft, and fish no more than five or six minutes before serving time. Overcooked fish, and shrimp in particular, is just not nice!
In this particular case, I added (in this order):
- French beans, cut in 2 cm pieces
- Fresh garden peas
- Some slices of fresh mushroom
- Sliced celery
- Bok choy
- Bean sprouts.
This heart-warming and filling soup can easily serve as a main course. Enjoy!
Please buy sustainably farmed fish!