Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pork & Pepper Noodle Soup

Why all the soups?  Well, soup is just one of those things that's super easy to make.  Generally, only one pot is needed to cook the entire thing, and you're basically just adding ingredients in steps to a hot broth, which makes it so simple.  I don't know what it's like in your part of the world, but here in New York, it's getting chilly (and, I might add, my dorm room--probably like many others--is quite drafty).  A hot bowl of soup is welcome when it's cold out. 

What a surprise, I didn't thaw out meat again, so I pulled something out of the freezer that would thaw easily enough:  pork belly pieces.  When I bought it, it was already cut up into manageable pieces, so a hot pot was all that was needed to thaw and cook them.  Pork belly is fatty, though, so I'll just say off the bat that this isn't a calorie-conscious meal.  But yesterday (when I made this) I had only a bowl of instant oatmeal for breakfast, and then didn't eat again until nearly 11:00pm.  In other words, I hadn't eaten in over 12 hours (an I'm hypoglycemic, mind you) and I'm pretty sure I could have done with the calories, so I didn't mind.  After I made this soup, it sort of reminded me of fall leaves from the yellow and red peppers, the amber color of the broth, the tan of the noodles, and the little contrast of green from the spring onion.  It was pretty, in my mind.  I guess it fit the season?  Whether or not you agree, it's delicious!

Side note:  This is officially the last of my shanghai noodles, so if you're annoyed with the frequency that I've been using them, rejoice.  I probably won't get them for a little while until I can get back over to Chinatown.  I've been so incredibly busy that I haven't been able to go.

Pork & Pepper Noodle Soup


2 oz. shanghai noodles
1 oz. pork belly
2 small sweet peppers (one red, one yellow; or use 1/4 each of bell pepper), seeded
2 spring onions
1 1/2 c. turkey stock (or use chicken stock)
1 tsp. tom yum paste
sesame seeds (optional, to serve)

Boil water in a pot and add the noodles.  Boil 5-6 minutes until they are plump and tender.  Drain well and rinse with cold water.  Using kitchen shears, snip the noodles into roughly 3 in. lengths.

Cut the pork belly into 1/2 in. cubes.  Heat the pot over medium heat and add the pork belly.  Do not add any oil!  Saute the pork belly for 4-5 minutes, or until thawed (if frozen) and golden brown.  (At this point, if you feel there is too much oil in the bottom of the pot, you can remove the pork and drain off the fat.  Then put the pork pieces back in the pot.)

Add the tom yum paste and saute until fragrant.  Pour the turkey stock over the pork and tom yum paste.  Bring to a boil.

Slice the peppers into 1/4 in. strips and cut the spring onions into 1 in. lengths.  Add the peppers only to the pot and boil for 4-5 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.  They'll still have a little crunch to them, but if you like your peppers softer, just boil longer.  Add the spring onions and boil 1-2 minutes more. 

To serve, put the noodles in the bottom of a serving bowl and spoon the soup over top.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

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