Spicy Asian Vegetable Soup

The stock in this soup is an explosion of flavors, from roasted garlic and onions, to clove, cinnamon, chilies and the umami that miso brings. If you have time, make the stock the day before so the flavors can infuse overnight. The lime juice balances the heat nicely. For the toppings, you can add any vegetables that you like. I just choose these to have different textures in one bite. The fried wontons strips and sliced sugar snaps give it a nice crunch. For the noodles, I used rice flakes. It was the first time I saw them at my Asian store so I gave them a try and I liked them, but you can use whichever noodle you prefer.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the spicy vegetable stock:

1 head of garlic

2 red onions

Vegetable oil

2 cloves

1 star anise

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tablespoon of chopped ginger

1 tablespoon of red miso paste

1 teaspoon of Sichuan pepper powder

3 tablespoons of chili bean sauce

1 bay leaf

½ a teaspoon of ginger powder

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

½ teaspoon of celery salt

3 litters of boiling water

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

½ teaspoon of onion powder

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup or honey

Toppings:

Juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

100grs of sliced sugar snap peas

100grs of fried wonton strips

100grs of rice noodles or the noodles of your choice (I used rice flakes)

1 cup of frozen shelled edamame

2 baby paksoi, leaves separated

1 spring onion, thinly sliced

A handful of Enoki mushrooms

Sesame seeds for serving

2 soft boiled eggs (7 minutes)

 

You can make the stock in advance. I made it the night before to let all the flavors infuse. Wrap the garlic bulb in foil with about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Do the same for the 2 red onions. Roast them for 1 hour at 180C/350F. Once they are roasted. Squeeze the roasted garlic from the shell. Peel the roasted onions and chop them.

Pour 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the roasted garlic, roasted onions, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, ginger, miso paste, Sichuan pepper powder, chili bean sauce, bay leaf, ginger powder, brown sugar, celery salt, garlic powder, onion powder and ginger syrup. Cook while stirring for about 3 minutes. Then add the boiling water. Give it a good stir so that there is nothing sticking at the bottom.

Lower the heat to the lowest and let it simmer for 1 and a half hour.

It you have time; once the stock is done, covered it and let it infuse overnight. If not, just pass it through a fine mesh sieve. Set it aside.

To fry the wontons, I just thinly sliced them into strips using a pair of scissors. Then pan-fry them in vegetable oil until golden.

For the rice noodles, I cooked them according to package instructions in a different pot.

Once you are ready to serve, reheat the stock over medium heat. Add the lime juice and sesame oil.

Add the sliced sugar snaps, paksoi and frozen edamame. Stir for about 1-2 minutes and then divide it over 3 bowls. Add the rice noodles and top with some spring onions, sesame seeds, soft boiled eggs, Enoki mushrooms and fried wontons. Enjoy!

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BBQ Pulled Pork, Avocado, Gouda & Fried Egg Breakfast Sandwich on a Soft Pretzel Bun

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I was craving pulled pork lately so I went to my butcher to get a nice piece of pork shoulder to make it. It is so easy to make. It does require time for the meat to get tender but you can just set your timer. I cooked the pork a day in advance and just kept it in the fridge. This is the sandwich I made for breakfast on Saturday. The pretzel buns I did make on the same day as they are best when they are fresh out of the oven. This made a very indulgent Saturday morning.

A quick tip: If you add pork bones to the Dutch oven where you are cooking the meat, you end up with a good stock to later use for ramen. I didn’t add it to the recipe, but it is what I did to not waste the stock I was left with after cooking the meat.

This recipe makes 8 medium sandwiches.

Ingredients:              

For the pork:

800gr of boneless pork shoulder

About 3 litters of beef stock

3/4 cup of Smoked BBQ sauce

For the soft pretzel bun:

For the dough:

1 cup of warm water

1 package of dry yeast (7gr)

2 tablespoons of butter, melted

3 cups of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 ½ teaspoons of salt

For the water bath:

10 cups of boiling water

2/3 cup of baking soda (here in the Netherlands, you can find it in a toko/asian store)

Extras for the buns:

Egg wash

Coarse sea salt

Vegetable oil

Toppings for the sandwich:

2 avocados, sliced

8 fried eggs

8 slices of Gouda cheese

 

To cook the pork:

Slice off any big parts of fat from the outside of the piece of pork. Then chop it into large chunks (about the size of half a cup). Place the pork in a Dutch oven. Add enough stock to submerge all the pieces of pork. Let it come to a simmer over medium heat. Cover it with a lid and let it cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Check every half hour and add more stock if necessary. You know it’s done when the meat just falls apart.

Transfer the pork to a cutting board and shred it using two forks. You can save the stock and use it for something else. Set the shredded pork aside.

To make the soft pretzel buns:

Place the warm water and the yeast in the bowl of the stand mixer. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Then add the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Knead the dough with a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Do it on low speed for about 5 minutes, until it stops sticking to the edges and it forms a ball. You can also knead it by hand.

Remove the dough from the bowl. Clean the bowl and then grease it with some vegetable oil. Place the dough back in the greased bowl and cover with plastic film. Let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 230C/450F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment with vegetable oil.

Start making the water bath. Mix the boiling water with the baking soda in a large pot.  Make sure it is not completely filled to the top because the baking soda bubbles a bit. Leave the heat on medium, while you work on the dough.

Place the dough in your working area, it is not necessary to use extra flour. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Make each piece into a ball.

Place the balls in the water bath for 30 seconds. I did 4 at a time.  Then remove them from the water using a slotted spoon and place each ball in the prepared baking tray.

Once they are all done, cut a cross in the middle of each bun, brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle some coarse salt on top of each one. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Once the buns are done, mix the shredded pork with the BBQ sauce. Warm it up in a pan.

Slice each bun into halves. Add a slice of Gouda, and then some of the BBQ pulled pork. Top it with avocado slices and a fried egg. Enjoy!

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