Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thai Fish Ball and Banh Pho Soup with Pak Chee Farang

This is a very healthy recipe to start a night with!
     Soups like this one, do help to bring balance back into a stressed life.  I have posted a few similar recipes in my blog in the past.
     Thai cooking is very popular in Las Vegas.  Somee of the best Thai restaurants in the world are located in Las Vegas.  I have written a few restaurant review blog entries about a few Las Vegas Thai restaurants.
     Thai recipes like this one have a long list of spices and herbs in the ingredients.  Pak Chee Farang is also known as saw tooth herb and has a strong "cilantro like" fresh flavor.  Fish balls are easy to make from fish meal.  Frozen pre made fish balls from a Chinese Market are just as good in terms of quality.  The pre made frozen fish balls are a surimi fish meal product. 
     Banh Pho is an easily recognized rice noodle in Viet Nam.  Banh Pho is known as square noodle.  This noodle has a fettucini shape and can be soaked then fried or boiled.
     Recipe:  Boil a small portion of banh pho noodles ahead of time. 
     Cool the noodles with cold running water. 
     Set the noodles aside. 
     Boil enough water in a sauce pot to make a large bowl of soup with.
     Add a coarsely chopped lemon grass shoot.
     When the broth becomes full of the lemongrass flavor, remove the lemon grass pieces.
     Add a small dab of minced ginger.
     Add minced garlic clove.
     Add small handful of dried shaved bonito flakes.
     Add a splash of Thai Fish Sauce.
     Add a dab of Thai Chili Paste.
     Add 2 pinches of ground galangal.
     Add a few drops of sesame oil.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of turmeric.
     Add 2 pinches of garam masala curry powder.
     Add about 7 or 8 thawed pre made frozen fish balls.
     Add a few pieces of thin julienne sliced carrot.
     Add a small handful of julienne sliced onion.
     Add 2 small baby bok choy halves.     
     Add a few strips of julienne sliced red bell pepper.
     Add a few portabella field mushroom halves.  (Small portabella mushrooms are a nice field mushroom for this recipe.)
     Add a few feather cut snow peas.
     Add a few large bite size green onion pieces.
     Add a generous splash of coconut milk.
     Add a squeeze of lime juice.
     Pour the hot soup into a large bowl while the vegetables are al dente.
     Place a small portion of the boiled Banh Pho noodles in the center of the soup.
     Place a few whole fresh Pak Chee Farang leaves cantered on the edge of the bowl with the stalk ends in the soup.
     Float a slice of lime on the soup broth.
     The bonito flakes flavor the lemon grass broth just like a Japanese dashi broth.  Surimi fish balls are always puffy and have a mild flavor that takes on the soup broth flavors.  Coconut milk is a nice medium for the flavors and it has an inner warming effect.  The faint hint of curry spices is present in every sip.  The lime is part of the overall flavor too.
     The banh pho noodles are fun to eat in a soup like this one.  Pak chee farang wilts like spinach in the hot broth and it imparts a stunning fresh strong cilantro flavor!  This is a "feel good" chop sticks and spoon soup with a complex combination of light flavors.  Yum!  ...  Shawna

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