Spare Rib Noodle Soup Recipe | Soup Recipes | PBS Food

Spare Rib Noodle Soup

Spare Rib Noodle Soup recipe

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)


Yield: 2-3 bowls


  • 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)


  1. 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).
  2. Season the spare ribs with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Use a skimmer to skim any foam that floats to the top.
  7. When there's no more foam rising, affix the lid to the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 45 minutes.
  8. 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.
  9. When the soup is almost done, boil a pot of water for the noodles.
  10. Follow your manufacturer's instructions to release the pressure.
  11. 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.
  12. Season the soup to taste with fish sauce. The writer recommends about 2 tablespoons.
  13. 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.
  14. Divide the noodles between 2 to 3 bowls, and then top with the soup, spare ribs, bok choy and fried shallots.
  15. Serve with sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) and fresh chilies.
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