It’s not difficult to make.
You place some prepared-until-just-tender Asian-style egg or rice noodles in a large soup bowl and top them with a stock mixture spiked with such things as ginger, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil. In today’s recipe, I’ve also simmered a few vegetables in the stock, namely carrot, baby bok choy and cut, young (baby) corn.
Once it’s on the table, diners can accent their noodle bowls to their liking by topping them with such things as chopped cilantro, sliced green onion, hot chili sauce and/or bean sprouts.
You could stop there, or to create an even more sustaining noodle bowl, top it with a protein source or seafood, which shouldn’t hurt the budget too much, as you won’t need a lot of it. Below today’s noodle bowl recipe, you’ll find four possibilities, including sizzling sweet chili prawns, ginger garlic beef, fried tofu and Chinese-style barbecue pork.
Top-as-you-like Asian-style Noodle Bowls
The Asian-style egg or rice noodles used in this recipe are available in the Asian food aisle of most supermarkets and, of course, at Asian food markets. Package sizes can vary. If you can’t find the size called for in the recipe, buy a larger one, use the amount from it that you need, and keep the rest of the noodles for another time.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: About 10 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or more if you want it more brothy
1 large, minced garlic clove, or to taste
1 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger, or to taste
2 Tbsp soy sauce, or to taste
1 tsp sesame oil, or to taste
1 medium carrot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
3 baby bok choy, trimmed, separated into leaves, washed, and coarsely chopped
1 (14 oz /398 mL) can cut young (baby) corn (see Note)
1Ú2 lb (250 g) thin Asian-style egg or rice noodles
n bowls of chopped fresh cilantro, sliced green onion, hot chili sauce and/or beans sprouts, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, place the stock, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and carrot in a medium pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the bok choy and corn and cook 2 minutes longer, until the bok choy is just wilted.
While the bok choy and baby corn are cooking, add the noodles to the boiling water and cook until just tender, about 1 minute. Drain the noodles well and divide them among 4 large soup bowls. Ladle the broth and vegetables over the noodles. Set the bowls on the dining table and let diners top them, to taste, with the cilantro, green onion, hot sauce and/or bean sprouts. Diners could also top their noodle bowl with one or more of the items suggested below.
Note: Cut, young (baby) corn is an immature cob of corn cut into pieces. They are available at the locations noted above for the noodles.
Other ways to dress up your noodle bowl
To make a more filling creation, beyond the vegetables and toppings used in the recipe above, you could also top the noodle bowl with a protein source (meat/tofu) or seafood. Here are a few ideas:
Sizzling Sweet Chili Shrimp or Prawns
Pat dry 20 medium or large shrimp or prawns, peeled with the tip of the tail left intact. Place 2 Tbsp vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok set over medium-high heat.
When it’s smoking hot, add the prawns and cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes, until just cooked through. Carefully add and mix in 1/4-cup Thai-style sweet chili sauce, or to taste, to the skillet or wok and remove from the heat.
Set shrimp or prawns in a bowl, set on the dining table and let diners arrange them on their noodle bowls as desired.
Thai-style sweet chili sauce is sold in bottles in the Asian food aisle of most supermarkets.
Ginger Garlic Beef Steak
Place 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tsp chopped fresh ginger, 2 Tbsp soy sauce and a pinch of crushed chili flakes in a small to medium shallow bowl. Set a 1 lb. piece of top sirloin or round steak in the bowl and turn to coat both sides with the marinade. Cover and marinate steak for 20 minutes. Preheat your grill to high. Lightly oil the grill. Grill the steak 2 to 3 minutes per side, until rare to medium-rare in doneness. Remove and let steak rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak, arrange on a plate, set on the dining table and let diners arrange the meat on their noodle bowls as desired.
Heat the oil in your deep-fat fryer to 350 F. Cut a 350- or 400-gram package of medium-firm tofu into 3/4-inch cubes. Set the cubes on paper towel and gently pat dry. Spread 1/4 cup of cornstarch on a wide plate. Coat the tofu in the cornstarch. Deep-fry the tofu, after shaking the excess cornstarch off, until lightly golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes, then drain well. Arrange the tofu on a plate, set on the dining table and let diners arrange them on their noodle bowls as desired.
Chinese-Style Barbecue Pork
Head to Chinatown and purchase, to taste, some sliced, cooked barbecued pork. Set the pork in a small baking pan and place in 300 F oven 15 minutes, or until heated through. Arrange the pork on a plate, set on the dining table and let diners arrange the meat on their noodle bowls as desired.
Eric Akis is the author of the just-published book Everyone Can Cook Everything. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.
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