I come from a long line of noodle heads. Before communism claimed south Vietnam, my maternal grandfather had built himself a small but respectable business as a noodle maker and before long a noodle soup street food vendor in one of the alleyways of Saigon. As a father to nine daughters and four sons, he had bred a size-able production line of noodle lovers and makers.
I have never met my mother’s father. He passed away before he had the chance to emigrate to America with the rest of his family but my aunts often say that he would have loved my penchant for noodles.
During my childhood in New England, weekends were aways the best noodle days. In my youngest uncle’s kitchen there were usually at least two of my aunts cooking in his U-shaped kitchen and a large stock pot was always rattling with something bubbling within it. Two big bowls in succession was my norm and a hunger for the third would occur within the hour. Among my favorites were beef pho, bun bo hue, bun rieu and a sour noodle soup that I can never remember the name to.
These days, with my family 3,000 miles away, I’ve had to take matters into my own hand to sate those pesky stringy & soupy cravings. I started simple with this effortless bowl of fujian noodle soup with greens & mushrooms. It’s comfort yet clean food that I concocted based on mood rather recipe, one that I’m proud (and somewhat surprised) to say is worthy of an appetite for two bowls which is pretty respectable by any measure!
Recipe: Fujian noodle soup
3 parcel fresh Fujian noodles
500 g chicken stock
150g baby pak choi, cut in half
250 g mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp groundnut oil
1 spring onion
2 red chili peppers (optional)
1. In a medium sized pan, heat the oil until hot then add the grated ginger, pak choi and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes in medium heat.
2. While the veggies are cooking bring a large pot of water to a boil then add the fresh noodles. Cook for 1 minute then extract the noodles onto a colander – but reserve the water and continue to let boil. Cool the noodles with cold water, this provides a nice bite to the noodles, then return to the boiling water for 30 seconds.
3. In a separate pot, heat the chicken stock until hot then add the cooked noodles & vegetables. Serve warm with spring onions and chili peppers.
Do you have a foolproof noodle soup recipe you like to rely on?