Sunday, December 20, 2009

chef sam's making ... coconut peanut soup with homemade whole wheat noodles

ariel here! hola! i'd like to introduce someone very special in my kitchen: chef sam. he is a master with flour ... aka the dough boy, who keeps our house constantly full of fresh breads, steam buns and homemade noodles. here's what he made last night ... it was amazing! now, sam, take it away...

Few things delight more than sharing warm soup with your friends and loved ones. With each slurp, your mind disrobes its worries to bathe oblivious in the bottom of the warm bowl; with each spoonful, a new flavor massages the mind and works hard kinks into supple joys; and with the final tilt of the bowl, you sit back, breathless, even sweaty, and pause in a supreme jolt of stupefaction.

After three weeks of studying for law school finals and anxious to take a muscle relaxant, I finally got the chance to make soup, and make it right, with homemade noodles. The resulting soup was all that I dreamed of. Everyone kept going back to ladle and lap from that magical well. My soup was an oasis at the end of a great burning journey of finals-inducing anxiety, and a PERFECT way to end the semester.

The broth -

For the broth you'll use anything you have on hand. You want a rich, complex flavor, and you want it now. Grab indiscriminately and surprise yourself.

The following is what I used:

1/2 organic onion (sliced or diced)
2 green onions (the white part)
1/2 finger of ginger (slivered)
3-4 bay leaves
4 cloves of garlic
1 dry chile
2 T. olive oil
4 dry shitake mushrooms
1 turnip
1/2 c. of Ariel's leftover conquering kale tomato sauce (see prior post)
1/2 meyer lemon from our tree (Diced. Meyer lemons have such tasty skin!)

1/2 can coconut milk
3 heaping T. peanut butter (be generous)
2 T. honey
1 t. Thai spice or curry spice
1 T. salt, or to taste
1 big splash of fish sauce
2 bunches organic baby bok choy

Get your aromatics sizzlin' on the bottom of your pot in olive oil (garlic, ginger, onions, bay leaves). Then fill your pot 3/4 with water. Throw it all in, but save the baby bok choy for the last 4 minutes of cooking to keep its freshness, and reserve the greens of the green onions for a flavorful garnish.

The noodles -

The noodles I made are simple, and are traditionally made for udon soup. (For udon soup, the broth is easily made by heating water at a light simmer with a big square of kelp and dried shitake mushrooms. Remove the kelp and mushrooms and add salt to taste.) Traditionally, people use white flour (which tastes great) but I enjoy the more complex joys of whole wheat flour, so that's what I used. If you use white flour, less water will be needed.


1 t. salt
3/4 c. water
2.5 c. whole wheat flour

Dissolve the salt in the water. Pour the water bit by bit into the flour, and mix as you go. Add more flour or water as needed. This should create a nice firm dough that is not sticky to the touch. Knead for 10-15 minutes. Cover the dough so it won't dry out, and rest it for a few hours. After it has rested, knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Flatten it out with a rolling pin to about an 1/8". Cut into tiny strips using a sharp knife, or an unusual instrument like the one I found at a thrift store. You got yourself some delicious fresh noodles. Nothing can beat it.

Get a big pot of water dancing at a vivacious boil. Invite the noodles in, and cook them for about 5 minutes. If you leave them in too long, the noodles will get too soft. Unlike store-bought dried noodles, these fresh noodles do not need to be reconstituted, and they cook up fast.

Marry the noodles and broth. Savor the joyous honeymoon of flavors in your mouth, and sing your gratitude (Mmmm-mmmm!) for this singular moment of consummate perfection.

1 comment:

  1. Homemade noodles make such a difference, this dish looks delicious!