I have succumbed to the flu. Again. My immune system has not been up to the task this winter. First pneumonia then another two weeks of feeling like five kinds of shit on a stick. Right now there is a rattle and a wheeze every time I draw breath and my nose is so clogged I feel like I have been punched repeatedly in the face. There is not much to be done unfortunately except rugging up in thick woollens, watching Archer and Chefs Table on Netflix, hot lemon drinks and eating bowls of soup so spicy you can almost see through time.
My soup philosophy essentially boils down to this
Broth + Chilli + Noodles = World making sense.
(Yes that was an intentional pun. No I do not regret the pun - I never regret puns!!); This is my soul food. Its a sort of mish mash of harmnious flavours in a bowl, a faux pho if you will.
SPICY NOODLE SOUP
- 8 Garlic Cloves, crushed
- 8 Fresh Coriander roots, bruised and coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 500g/17.63 Oz Chuck Steak cut into 3cm strips
- 2 Litres/8.5 Cups beef broth
- 2 Lemongrass stems, bruised and cut into 4cm strips
- 2 Birds Eye chillis
- 2 Star Anise
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks/Cassia Bark quills
- 1/4 Cup/60ml soy sauce **
- 150grams/5.29 oz Soba Noodles or rice vermicilli, cooked until just tender *
- 2 Bunches Baby Buk Choy
- Small bunch of Basil Leaves
- Small bunch Fresh Coriander, coarsely chopped
- Fresh Bean Sprouts
- 200g/7oz trimmed sirloin, sliced super thin!
- Lime, cut into quarters
- Long red chillies, sliced diagonally
- Chilli powder to taste
1. Using a mortar and pestle to pound together the garlic cloves, coriander root and peppercorns to form a coarse paste.
2. Heat vegetable oil and sesame oil in heavy based pot over high heat. Cook the chuck steak until browned. Add the garlic paste and cook for a further minute. Add lemongrass, star anise, cinnamon and chillies. Cook for 2 minutes then add broth and soy sauces. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1.5 hours stirring occasionally.
3. To serve place a scoop of noodles in the base of each bowl. Place buk choy leaves and thin slivers of sirloin on top of noodles. Strain the soup into each bowl. Top with basil leaves, some coriander, chilli slices, bean sprouts and a wedge of lime. Serve with chilli powder to taste.
Adapted from Marion Grasby's recipe for Thai Boat Noodles.
*Even though soba noodles are traditionally made from buckwheat flour, some products contain other flours in the mix so be sure to double check they are 100% buckwheat or use other gluten free noodles
**I use Kikoman Gluten free soy sauce for this - many soy sauce brands contain gluten so again read the labels carefully!