It’s the craze, trend, fad, call it whatever you will, but aren’t these Asian noodle bowls or ramen bowls just so popular now? I always thought it looked real good but had never really tried making it at home, nor had I tried it in restaurants. So a few weeks ago I set out to remedy that.
I believe there are many different types of Asian noodle soups. When I googled it, I learned that Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting typically of bone broth, rice noodles called banh pho, a few herbs and meat primarily made with either beef or chicken. Udon, is a type of thick wheat flour noodle and is popular in the Japanese cuisine. Udon, is what I used in this recipe. Ramen stock is darker, richer and cloudier, often made from pork bones cooked at a rolling boil, whereas the base for pho is made from beef and scented with star anise, cinnamon and charred ginger and kept at a simmer.
So here’s how I set out to make this flavorful soup. A whole roast chicken is usually on our menu each week. It yields at least 3 different meals for the two of us. When I’m done with the carcass, I usually throw it in a big pot, with some celery, onion, garlic and make up a stock that I either freeze or refrigerate, depending on what I will be cooking. In this case, I had a whole batch of chicken and veggie stock from the day before, so I emptied it into a big pot. I’d say roughly 2 boxes of ready-made stock/broth is what you will need. You can toss in any vegetables or proteins that you have in the refrigerator. I had frozen shrimp in the freezer, the next time I will add fresh larger shrimp as the taste will be better and it will make a better presentation.
I brought it to a rolling boil, then added some fresh ginger that I grated, I added carrots followed by a tablespoon and a half of lemongrass paste (available at any Asian grocery store), a tablespoon of fish sauce, a teaspoon oyster sauce, a teaspoon of chili garlic sauce, a teaspoon of hoisin sauce, some siracha sauce and a few splashes of soy sauce. I let this all simmer for about 20 minutes or so, then at the end, I added the udon noodles, shrimp and the baby bok choy. I garnished with green onions and fresh cilantro. This is the type of soup that is truly versatile, but I wanted more flavor and heat so added the above, you can totally leave it out according to your family’s tastebuds. The soup comes together in no time, so it would be a terrific weeknight meal without all the fuss and bother.