It is the time of pre-festive season and my body is telling me that I need to recuperate. Knowing I have no tolerance for subtlety when it comes to food, enriching mum’s mildly-flavoured fish noodle soup with lemongrass, pineapples along with other aromatics is certainly the way to restore my strength. This is my kinda zen food. What’s yours?
Mum’s classic fish noodle soup is undeniably a killer, but why not pimpin’ it up if I can, a lil’ variation doesn’t hurt. Her version makes your life easier though, strictly using fresh ginger, crushed black peppercorns, carrots, fish and chicken bones to make the broth.
One useful tip to share with you, fish noodle soup or any soupy dishes should be enjoyed when it is hot. Firstly, most Asians are accustomed to consume their food hot/heated or even piping hot. Secondly, any soupy noodles are not to be left unattended to prevent sogginess. After all, who doesn’t like freshly cooked steaming dishes?
1 litre water
2 – 3 fish bones
4 stalks of lemongrass bottom half, bruised
½ medium size fresh pineapple, cut into wedges
1 big tomato
2 cm of ginger knob, peeled
2 cm of galangal, peeled
2 kaffir lime leaves, bruised
Black peppercorns, crushed
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
The Noodle & Garnish:
Vermicelli or any rice noodles
Fish fillet, sliced
3 – 4 cloves of garlic, minced & fried (to garnish)
Fresh herbs (basil leaves, coriander & mint)
Bird eye’s chilies and soy sauce to dip
Put fish bones, chicken bones, galangal, ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and pineapples in a pot. Pour in water over a medium heat with lid for 20 minutes. Add black peppercorns. Continue to boil for 45 minutes on a low heat. Add water if you must. Skim off impurities every now and then.
While the soup is simmering away, lightly coat the fish with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, salt, white pepper and cornflour. In a frying pan add vegetable oil and garlic. Stir fry until garlic turns translucent. Then, set aside. Next, fry the fish fillets until golden brown. Set aside.
Once soup is ready, discard the aromatics and strain in a sieve. Pour the strained broth into the stock. Stir in tomatoes and fish sauce. Season to taste.
When ready for serving, make sure it is on high heat and the soup must be boiling hot before pouring the soup into your bowl of cooked noodles. Top with garlic oil. Serve with lime wedges and herbs on the side.