Monday, August 12, 2013
Vietnamese Udon noodle soup (Banh Canh Gio Heo)
Wow.... and summer is officially over for us starting last week when both of my boys started school again. It was such a fun filled, busy summer for us with all the kids activities and mini vacations here and there. Now that with the older one went back to school and the little one started pre-school, I'm having my Monday back to do my own things. Ever since I've been away from my blog, my food pictures keep on piling up in my camera. Now with all the time I have on my day off, I'm planing to put my body back on track with the help from the gym membership .... and also hopefully more blogging:).
Banh canh is one of the Southern Vietnamese noodle soups. It's quite easy to prepare and still taste as delicious as other noodle soups such as Hu tieu or Mi soups (rice or egg noodle soups). It can be served as a hearty breakfast, simple lunch or a quick dinner meal. The banh canh noodles, contrarily to the rice noodles, are shorter and much thicker strains which are made from tapioca and rice flours. The broth is prepared with pork bones and pork hocks. There is also another version of banh canh from the Central region of Vietnam that made with seafoods such as shrimps and crabs with a much thicker broth called Banh Canh tom cua. Hopefully I will be able to cover that version of Banh canh in a near future. For now let's enjoy this simple hearty noodle soup first.
- 2-3 lbs for pork neck bones
- 1.5 lbs of pork hocks (use the pre-sliced ones)
- 1. 5 lbs of pork belly or pork shoulder
- Banh Canh noodles (Tapioca noodles, you can find these fresh pre-made noodles at many Vietnamese super market)
- Vietnamese pork ham (Gio lua, optional)
- 1 large white onion
- Bean sprouts, green onion, cilantro, chili pepper, lime wedges
- Salt, rock sugar (about 2 small lumps), fish sauce, mushroom seasoning (bot nem)
- Fried shallots (hanh phi)
- In a medium stock pot, bring half a pot of water with the bones, pork hocks and the pork belly or pork shoulder meat to boil for about 10 minutes. Drain and discard the dirty water. Clean the bones and meat under cold running water and set aside.
- In another large stock pot, bring about 3/4 pot of water (enough for about 10 bowls) to boil then add the bones, the pork hocks and meat back into the water. Add 1 whole white onion into the broth. Let the broth simmer until the pork hocks and the meat are tender (but not falling off the bones for the pork hocks). It takes about 1.5 hours. Season the broth with rock sugar, salt, fish sauce and mushroom seasoning to taste.
- In the meantime, make some fried shallots (hanh phi) by slicing the shallots into thin slices. Add a few tablespoon of cooking oil into a small sauce pan and add sliced shallots. Stir occasionally until the shallots turn caramelized and crispy. Remove from the hot oil just right before it completely turned golden brown (If you wait until it turns to color you want then the product will look burned).
- Add 1/3 of the fried shallots and a couple teaspoon of the shallot -infused oil into the broth.
- Remove the pork meat and the pork hocks from the broth and set aside. Once the pork meat is cooled enough to touch, slice them into thin slices.
- To prepare the noodle soup, add banh canh noodle, a few slices of pork meat, pork ham and 1 pork hock to a bowl. Ladle the hot broth on top and garnish with chopped green onion, cilantro, fried shallots and a few slices of red chili pepper (if you can take the heat). Right before being served, add a spritz of lime juice and a dash of fresh ground black pepper. Enjoy it with bean sprouts.