Thursday, April 9, 2015

Adding Meat to Soup: Chinese and Japanese

I have found that there are two completely distinct ways of adding meat to a bowl of noodle soup, both equally enticing. Not that these are the only way you can do it, of course. Meat can be fried and added, braised, long cooked right in the soup. These two methods are for adding it at the last minute.

What you see here is a pork shoulder chop that was seasoned, dipped in egg, then coarse dry bread crumbs, fried in olive oil and butter, then let cool. The crumbs keep all the moisture in the meat, and as you can see I like it a little rare. The next day four thin sliced were made and it was just placed in the very hot soup to heat through. It tastes so much better in the soup than on its own. The technique is more or less Japanese, and the way it's served. The point is that the pork is still really succulent and tender.

But you can also take the exact same cut of meat, slice it thin raw, season with soy sauce, ginger, maybe some sesame oil let it marinate with a generous teaspoon of rice starch, or some other kind of starch. The prep is exactly as you would do for a stir fry. But instead, just lower the slices into the pot of soup and simmer for a couple of minutes. The starch keeps all the moisture inside the meat. It would just seep out into the broth otherwise. This technique is derived (again more or less) from Chinese cuisine.

I'm not sure which I like better, but both are infinitely more interesting than just boiling meat in soup, which if a delicate cut, just ruins it. By the way, the same can be done with chicken breast or very lean beef. Try one of these techniques the next time you do regular chicken soup, for example.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mung Bean Noodles Tinted

Rather interesting that the same mung beans shown below, when added to a soup base with red cabbage, took on this spooky pink color. Jut think of the possibilities of coloring noodles this way. I wonder if you could get saffron yellow noodles, or red just by cooking in beet juice. I must have read somewhere that people have been trying this, but this one was an accident.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Salad Soup with Mung Bean Threads

I realized this morning that I have eaten nothing but noodle soup for about a week. I can't think of anything that sounds as appealing. This morning, however, I determined to do something else. I can't conscience cereal. I OD-ed on pancakes years ago and can't go near them. Toast, cheese and cold cuts just don't cut it any more. So I thought: salad! There I was tossing romaine lettuce, carrots, celery, red peppers. And I couldn't go through with it. I dumped it all in a pot of dashi stock with mung bean threads. And it was SO good. The vegetables still a little crunchy but definitely cooked. Why don't we cook lettuce more often? This was hot, but I think cold it would be very much like a Korean soup I've had. Must try that soon. I almost drizzled in oil and vinegar!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Hipster Chia Noodle Blackberry Cocktail

Are we ready yet to think about hipster cocktails with noodles? I think so. I first put this in a small pickle jar, but those are so 2013. The noodles themselves are made of black chia seeds, ground in a spice grinder, rolled out and cut. They're in a juice of blackberries cooked in a little water, strained, chilled and with rum added. I came an inch from putting on a dollop of Greek yoghurt on top, in which case it could have been a deconstructed smoothie. But I think alcohol works better. If I only had a sprig of mint!

Honestly, the possibilities of noodles in cocktails are endless. I'm going to embark on extensive research right this moment!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Pig Blood Noodle

I didn't realize there really was such a thing as pig blood noodles, but I suspected there must be. Of course it's Italy, Sudtirol. Blutnudeln or Tagliatelli al Sangue. I hope you will forgive me for going completely Asian here though. It is wheat flour to hold the blood together and then in dashi stock. I then garnished it with various soba-friendly condiments like fish cake and seaweed, just to be confusing - but there not pictured here. It's good. The blood isn't as pronounced as I thought it would be. It's awfully nice though and I bet if served in a Japanese bowl no one would bat an eyelash.




 Ooh, it looks much nicer extruded. This is in a smokey broth with some dehydrated kimchi on top - which I LOVE!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Noodle Soups: Mung Bean and Chicken, Potato and Ketchup, Salmon Noodles in Shellfish Broth

Current work on noodle soups. Of course I'll give you the recipes once the book comes out! This is an ordinary chicken soup with mung bean threads.
I wish this thing would let me line up the pictures side by side. Anyway, like the new majolica? It's melamine.

The noodles here are mashed potatoes and potato starch, rolled out, steamed and cut. A cousin of gnocchi, or a spin on French Fries and Ketchup
This is an extruded wild salmon and rice flour. I didn't even know I had a piping bag! Tomatoes and chevre. Really pleasant.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Home Made Rice Noodles, Pine Nut and Orange Soup

Rice noodles are so easy to make. Just get a big pot with about an inch of water boiling, place in a steamer insert. Then mix rice flour with enough water to make a thin batter. Get a spring-form baking pan that fits into the pot and pour in some batter just to barely cover the bottom. Put the pan into the pot and let it steam for about 10 minutes. Remove the pan with tongs. Unhinge the pan and let cool. Remove the noodle sheet, oil it lightly, roll it up and cut into thin noodles.

Then take a handful of pine nuts and the juice of one orange. Whizz in a blender. Add a tiny bit of salt. Pour the broth into a bowl, add the noodles and then garnish with some slivered orange peel, without white pith.

This should be room temperature. If you like cinnamon would work nicely, or a touch or cardamom powder. It reminds me of rice pudding in a way.Sweeten it with sugar too if you like.