Eating In

Rice Noodle Coconut Soup

I’ve been making some sort of variation of coconut soup for some time now, with or without meat, always with some type of bitter greens and lots of herbs.  In the winter, soup is a staple and my go-to lunch on most days as you may have seen from my Instagram posts.  It’s nourishing, healthy, and simple to cook.

Ginger (left) and Galangal (right). Galangal is very hard and woody, although the center is a little softer. It is piney and sharp, with a strong citrus scent. Ginger (left) and Galangal (right). Galangal is very hard and woody, although the center is a little softer with a strong citrus scent.

Bring 4 cups of vegetable/chicken broth to boil.  Add roughly chopped lemongrass, shallots, cilantro stems, chili peppers, galangal root and kaffir lime leaves.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Pour contents through a sieve/strainer and press on the solids to squeeze out as much liquid as possible, discard solids.  Return broth to the pot and bring to a boil.  Add coconut milk, coconut/palm or brown sugar, salt, low sodium soy sauce/fish sauce (optional) and lime juice and simmer 5 minutes.  Taste the broth and add more of the last 4-5 ingredients until they are singing!  The trick to this soup is to harmonize the spicy, sweet, and sour flavors against the comforting backdrop of a creamy coconut broth.

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Blanch the bitter greens by bringing a pot of water to boil, have ready a big bowl of ice water nearby.  Add the greens to the boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes, Using tongs, remove the greens to an ice bath to stop if from cooking.  Once the greens are cooled, remove from ice bath and spin in salad spinner to remove excess water, and give them a rough chop

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For the ragu, heat saute pan on medium heat, add coconut oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan, add chopped green onions, garlic, shallots, peppers, and cilantro until the vegetables have soften, add ground meat/tofu (optional), crumble and cook until the meat is cooked through, you can add the greens to the ragu or you can saute separately for better presentation.  Season with salt and garlic chili sauce.

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Cook the rice noodles as instructed on the package.  If you buy fresh rice noodles, be sure to check the ingredients list to avoid preservatives.  Whole foods has fresh rice noodles (Pad See Ew noodles) sans any nasty stuff, I recommend it!

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Put it all together, using a large soup bowl, add a serving of cooked rice noodles, a dollop of ragu, and a big serving of the bitter greens.  Gently ladle the piping hot broth on top and garnish with cilantro, Thai basil, parsley or any edible green herbs you have.  Enjoy with friends or family or share with a foe, they are sure to turn into a friend!

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Rice Noodle Coconut Soup
 
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This is one of my favorite soups, it's spicy, sweet, sour, bitter and salty.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Thai-ish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 cups of chicken/vegetable broth
  • 2 stalks of fresh lemongrass, washed and roughly chopped
  • 4 shallots, 3 peeled and roughly chopped, 1 diced, separated
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1½" galangal root, roughly chopped
  • Stems from 1 bunch cilantro, trim ¼ inch off the bottom
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 cans of coconut milk, full fat
  • 2 limes, quartered, more for garnish
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ lb of grass-fed ground beef or firm tofu (optional)
  • 3-5 TBS garlic-chili sauce
  • 1-2 bunch rapini, baby broccoli, broccoli rabe, ends trimmed
  • 1 pkg rice noodles
  • coconut/palm/or brown sugar, 2 tablespoons, to taste
  • fish sauce, to taste (optional)
  • reduced sodium soy sauce, to taste
  • salt
  • coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Make the broth, add the first 6 ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil, simmer 15-20 minutes, strain, pressing on solids and return broth to pot. Add coconut milk, and sugar, salt and fish sauce, if using or soy sauce and taste, add salt as needed. You want to balance the flavors between sweet, sour and salt, add lime juice to taste.
  2. Blanch the greens, bring a pot of water to boil, add salt, add greens, cook 2 minutes, remove to a prepared ice bath, once cooled, spin dry and roughly chop
  3. Make the ragu, add a tablespoon of coconut oil to the bottom of a heated saute pan, add shallot, garlic, cilantro and green onion and saute until soften, add ground meat/tofu, cook while breaking up into small pieces. Add salt and pepper and garlic chili sauce to taste
  4. Cook the rice noodles as instructed on the package. Divide the rice noodles, ragu and blanched greens into bowls and ladle piping hot broth, garnish with lime wedge and cilantro or other herbs.
  5. Serve immediately or store each component separately in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

 

Homemade Pork Ramen

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You’ve asked for my ramen recipe so I’ve finally put pen to paper (more like fingers to the keyboard) and ready to share my recipe.  I’ve read dozens of recipes for ramen and watched youtube videos, so this is a mishmash of techniques and flavorings.  Then I started experimenting.  I use the same cut of pork that I do for pulled pork sandwiches, lots of fat to meat ratio (pork shoulder/pork butt/boston butt).  The cut requires a long cooking time at a low temp in the oven, then straining out the fat and onions, then flavoring the broth. Fresh ramen noodles makes a world of difference, so don’t go through the process of making the broth, if you are going to use instant noodles, but in a pinch, its better than nothing.

Equipment:  Dutch oven, fine mesh strainer, fat separator, stainless steel nesting bowls, ramen bowls, soy sauce, mirin, fresh ramen noodles

Cut 2 medium onions into quarters and saute in heavy bottom pan (large enough to hold 8-10 cups of liquid)
Peel and cut 2 medium onions into quarters and sauté in heavy bottom pot on med-high until the onions get a little color.  The pot should be large enough to hold 10-12 cups of liquid
Trim the fat cap off the pork shoulder and add to the pot, move the onions around to make room
Trim the fat cap off the pork shoulder or have your butcher do it.  Season with salt and pepper (season liberally) and add to the pot, move the onions around to make room
Add enough water to cover the pork and bring to a boil, cook in a 350 deg oven 4 hours until the meat is falls apart tender (1 hour to each pound)
Add enough water to cover the pork and bring to a boil, cook in a 300 deg oven 4-5 hours until the meat is falls apart tender (about 1 hour to each pound)
Remove the pork and once cool enough to handle, slice
Remove the pork and once cool enough to handle, slice
Strain the onions from the liquid in a fine mesh strainer
Strain the onions from the liquid in a fine mesh strainer to a container big enough to hold the liquid
Using a fat separator, remove the fat from the liquid
Using a fat separator, remove the fat from the liquid, if you don’t have a fat separator, you can use a gallon zip lock bag (google – fat separator using zip lock bag)
Add dried shiitake mushrooms and more water to bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes
Add dried shiitake mushrooms and more water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes
Season ramen broth the soy, moron, sugar and salt to taste. You want it to be a little salty as you will be adding unsalted noodles
Season ramen broth the soy, mirin, sugar and salt to taste. You want to over season the broth as you will be adding unsalted noodles
Cook fresh ramen noodles per instructions on the package, rinse well.
Cook fresh ramen noodles per instructions on the package, rinse well.
Laddle broth into bowl, add cook noodles, hard boiled egg, scallions and sliced pork, Enjoy!
Laddle broth into bowl, add cook noodles, hard boiled egg, scallions and sliced pork, Enjoy!

Homemade Pork Ramen
 
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This is a soy based pork broth, you can use beef, chicken or vegetables
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • For the Pork broth
  • 3-4 lb pork shoulder
  • 2-3 med onions
  • 6-8 dried shitake mushrooms (without sulfites)
  • soy sauce
  • mirin
  • sugar
  • water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • For the Ramen noodles
  • 1 pkg fresh ramen noodles
  • Optional:
  • sliced scallions
  • hard boiled eggs
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 300.
  2. Let pork come to room temp and liberally season with salt and pepper
  3. In a heavy bottom pot, add peeled quartered onions and cook until browned
  4. Add pork and cover with water
  5. Cook pork 4-5 hours, until it easily pulls apart
  6. Let the cooked pork cool on a plate
  7. Strain out the onions and get as much of the liquid as possible
  8. Pour the liquid into a fat separator, discard the fat and return the pork broth to the pot and add 2-4 cups of water
  9. Add soy, miring, salt and sugar to taste
  10. Cook ramen noodles as instructed on the package
  11. Laddle 1 cup or more of seasoned broth into a bowl, add cooked ramen noodles and top with sliced pork, scallions, sliced onions, and hard boiled egg

 

Asado De Bodas – Pork in Red Chile Sauce

Every time I go to a Mexican restaurant, I reminisce about a prawn dish I had at a restaurant in the Bay Area more than a decade ago.  The sauce was dark, rich and spicy.  I didn’t know at the time that I would be moving away from the area and never finding that flavor again (I’ve gone back to the same restaurant a few times on my trips back home, but it’s not the same), until this recipe.  But before I get to that, I should tell you that when the recipe calls for chiles or Mexican chocolate, you should go to a Mexican grocery store, one that has a prepared food counter is a plus, but one with fresh tortillas is a must.  These stores have the hard to find mexican ingredients or can help you find a good alternatives, for example, I was looking for dried New Mexico chiles and I learned that California chiles were the same things… who knew?

There’s some kind of magic thing that happens, when you blend, toasted chiles, toasted nuts, raisins, spices and mexican chocolate and adding more or less of each of those ingredients changes the flavor as well.  I can say that I’ve found something close to the sauce but I will keep on tweaking this recipe until it’s exactly as I remember it.

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Dried New Mexico or California and Guajillo chiles – remove stems and seeds and toast in a hot skillet, toast peanuts and almonds

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Trim most of the fat, and cut pork shoulder/pork butt into bite size pieces season with salt and pepper.  In a hot pot, working in batches, brown pork on all sides.

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In a blender, add toasted chiles and nuts, Mexican chocolate, spices, raisins, garlic, onion and hot water (see note) to cover and blend until a smooth puree forms.  Add puree to the browned pork in the pot and simmer with the lid partially on, for 1-2 hours.  The meat should be tender and the sauce rich.   Add hot water or broth to thin the sauce if too thick.  Season with salt and pepper.

Note:  When adding hot liquids to a blender, take the hole cover out of the top of the blender and use a folded towel to cover the hole, that way you don’t have a volcano erupt in your kitchen. 

IMG_1612Serve pork in red chile sauce with black beans and fresh tortillas.

Summer is fading…

September is always bittersweet for me.  All the summer fruits and veggies that I’ve been gorging on is coming to an END, not to mention the end of BBQ season (although I’ve been known to grill in the rain) and I don’t want to think about what I’ll do without the crisp white and rose wines, and my love of Moscow Mules (it might be the copper mugs)!  But the cooler weather has its upside, ROASTing season!  I got a little ahead of myself and took advantage of the chill in the air by roasting a pork tenderloin and some roma tomatoes from my garden.

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Make the paste with garlic, rosemary, thyme and fennel seeds – mash them all together

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Rub the pork tenderloin with the herb paste and wrap with bacon and put into a pan with veggies and garlic around the pork, add rosemary sprigs, salt and pepper.  Roast 400 deg for 30-35 min, until temp reaches 165 deg.

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Make a pan sauce from the drippings in the pans.  Deglaze the pan with sherry and a drizzle of heavy cream.  Once the sauce is done, slice the pork tenderloin and divide among plates.  To serve, drizzle evoo and a few twists of the pepper mill.

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Roast romas cut side up in a glass baking dish – same time as the roast, with evoo and salt and pepper

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Drizzle good evoo and balsamic vinegar top with chopped basil and shaved parmesan, salt and pepper – serve with Italian bread

      

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