Spare Rib Noodle Soup
Blackened garlic, onions and ginger create a unique savory flavor that adds depth to this mouth-watering broth. (Recipe Courtesy: Marc Matsumoto from the Fresh Tastes Blog)
- 1 package rice stick noodles (sometimes labelled banh pho)
- 23 ounces (640 gram) pork spare ribs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 medium onion, sliced in half
- 1 ounce (30 grams) ginger
- 1 ounce (30 grams) garlic, unpeeled
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 6 cups water
- 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only
- 1 rib celery (including leaves)
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- .5 ounces (15 grams) rock sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 head bok choy
- 2 tablespoons fried shallots (for garnish)
- Put the noodles in a wide shallow tray and cover with warm water. Let the noodles soak until they are flexible enough to bend without breaking (about 45 minutes to an hour).
- Season the spare ribs with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
- Next char the onion, ginger and garlic. There are a few ways to do this, including putting the aromatics directly over an open flame. The writer recommends using a broiler with the rack closest to the heating element, which can take about 12 minutes to get an even char on the aromatics.
- Heat a pressure cooker over medium-high heat until hot. Add the vegetable oil, and then place the spare ribs in a single layer and leave undisturbed until browned on one side. Flip the ribs over, and brown the other side.
- Add the water, lemongrass, celery, black peppercorns and rock sugar along with the charred aromatics, and turn the heat up to high to bring the water to a boil.
- Use a skimmer to skim any foam that floats to the top.
- When there's no more foam rising, affix the lid to the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 45 minutes.
- This can also be done in a regular heavy bottomed pot, and the steps are the same, except you'll need to cook the ribs at a low simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
- When the soup is almost done, boil a pot of water for the noodles.
- Follow your manufacturer's instructions to release the pressure.
- Use a ladle to transfer the onions, ginger, garlic and celery to a strainer and press to extract as much soup as possible. Then discard the solids.
- Season the soup to taste with fish sauce. The writer recommends about 2 tablespoons.
- Boil the bok choy, and then use the same water to boil the rice noodles. If you've pre-soaked them, they should cook in about 1 minute.
- Divide the noodles between 2 to 3 bowls, and then top with the soup, spare ribs, bok choy and fried shallots.
- Serve with sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) and fresh chilies.