Anyhow I love noodle soups because they are the comfort food of the gods, because they are infinitely variable, and because they can be utterly, utterly delicious. There's rarely an occasion when a great big bowl of steaming goodness won't hit the spot. From the simple, almost ascetic pleasure of a clear broth spiked with nothing but a scattering of herbs and a few shards of ginger, to the dense, rich pungence of a good laksa.
I make noodle soups all the time, rarely bothering with a recipe and mixing and matching ingredients from across East and South-East Asia as the fancy takes me. They're always satisfying, and sometimes memorably delicious too.
This was a particularly good effort, so I thought I'd put it on the blog. The flavours are quite clear and bright, with added richness from the fatty pork and crackling. I'm sure it's not in the least bit authentic, but if it's close to the cuisine of any country I'd guess it's Japanese with a bit of Vietnam thrown in.
it's a leftovers recipe really, so you need to have the pork prepared in advance. I had it left over from a different meal. If you do it from scratch a whole hock should do about 3 people.
What you'll need per person:
handful shredded pork meat
about 1 pint pork stock
shards of crunchy crackling
sriracha chilli sauce
2 spring onions
1 hot chilli
1 clove garlic
small lump ginger
1 sheet udon noodles
some greens or other veg (I used runner beans)
To make the pork, stock and crackling
1. Simmer the hock with onion, celery and peppercorns for a couple of hours, skimming off any scum from the surface.
2. After a couple of hours remove the pork and veg from the stock. Chuck away the veg.
3. Pull the skin/fat off the hock, then pull off the meat and shred it.
4. Put the remaining bones back in the stock and simmer for another hour.
5. Dry the fat, salt it and roast in a hot oven 'til you get crackling.To make the noodle dish
1. Finely slice the spring onions and chilli.
2. Shred or grate the ginger and garlic.
3. Chop some mint and/or coriander leaves.
4. Heat the stock in a large pan or wok.
5. Add the noodles, greens/veg and pork and heat until the noodles are just done.
6. Squirt in some fish sauce and sriracha to taste.
7. Garnish with the garlic/ginger, the spring onions/chilli, the mint/coriander, the crackling and a wedge of lemon/lime.
8. Serve immediately, stirring in all of the garnishes with your chopsticks.
For blogs providing more expert coverage of all things noodles I can wholeheartedly recommend Eat Noodles Love Noodles and Hollow Legs.