Sunday, January 19, 2020

Hu Tieu (Teochew Noodle Soup)

Hủ tiếu (Teochew noodle soup) is a popular noodle dish found in Soc Trang and other Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. Similar noodle dishes can be found in other Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia and Singapore where there are large communities of Teochew descendants. In my family, we eat this soup at any meal and any day of the week. It can be eaten dried or wet. The dried noodles are cooked, seasoned, placed in a bowl and served with a smaller bowl of hot broth next to it. The wet soup (as seen in this recipe) is eaten with the broth poured over the entire contents in the bowl and served hot. 

The clear flavorful sweet broth is typically made from pork bones with the addition of salted dried daikon (sai pau), fresh daikon, dried shrimp and/or dried squid. The noodles can be wonton noodles, a mixture of wonton noodles and/or rice noodles and/or wonton dumplings. The toppings can range from just a few to multiple items such as pork ribs, ground pork (but can be turkey or chicken), pork belly slices, pork slices, pork offal (such as liver) slices, fried tofu slices, boiled/steamed peeled whole shrimp, pork balls, fish balls, shrimp balls, fish cake slices, squid, crab meat, boiled quail eggs, chicken eggs, any green leafy vegetables (such as lettuce), chopped salted daikon, bean sprouts, Chinese chives, scallions, cilantro, fried garlic and/or fried shallots. The noodles are generally served with extra vegetables, chili, ground pepper, fish sauce and a wedge of lime on the side.

For this recipe, I used what I have available. I made my umami broth using a mixture of green crabs and a turkey carcass, salted daikon, fresh daikon, and carrot. The toppings consisted of fried tofu, blanched watercress, mushrooms, boiled peeled whole shrimp, bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions, and fried shallots.

I purchased the fresh noodles from Lo's Seafood and Oriental Market in New Hampshire. It is a Hong Kong-style wonton noodle (thick type), each container makes 4 bowls. These noodles taste just like the ones I remember eating in Soc Trang, Vietnam.

Hu Tieu
Hủ Tiếu (Teochew Noodle Soup)

Ingredients:

1 recipe of Hủ Tiếu Broth (recipe below)
1 package of store-purchased Hong Kong-style wonton noodles (wider or thicker strands)
1 container of store-purchased fried tofu, squeezed out the liquid and sliced thinly
12-16 peeled whole shrimp (about 3-4 shrimp per bowl), boiled until just cooked
1 bunch of watercress, blanched until slightly wilted
1 bunch of mushrooms (such as enoki), blanched until slightly wilted
2 handful of bean sprouts
Cilantro, chopped, garnish
Scallions, chopped, garnish
Fried shallots, garnish
Fish sauce (extra seasoning)
Chili peppers (extra seasoning)
Lime or lemon wedges (extra seasoning)

Method:

Dip the small batch of noodles in hot water for about 10-15 seconds. Rinse with water to remove some of the starch. Strain and add to a large bowl. Garnish with 2-3 tofu slices, 2-3 shrimps, some watercress, mushrooms, and bean sprouts. Ladle the hot broth over the bowl. Remove some broth and return it into the pot and add more new hot broth back into the bowl. This will keep the contents in the bowl hot. Garnish with cilantro, scallions and fried shallots. Serve the bowl with extra fish sauce, some lime wedges, and chili peppers.

Hủ Tiếu Broth (makes about 14-15 cups or enough for 4 large bowls)

Ingredients:

16 cups water
1 turkey carcass
1 lb processed green crab
2-3 young kelp (fresh, frozen or dried)
1 piece (about the size of your largest finger) of dried salted daikon
1 white or yellow onion, chopped
1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced and slightly bruised
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 carrot, cut into roughly 2-inch pieces
6-inch piece daikon, cut into roughly 2-inch pieces
About 3 Tbsp fish sauce (to taste)

Method:

Heat the entire contents minus the fish sauce in a large pot, partially cover. Once the liquid comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer for about 1 1/2 hour. Strain and save the broth. Season the strained broth with fish sauce.

Helpful Hints:
  • If you live in seacoast New Hampshire there is an Asian store called Lo's Seafood and Oriental Market located at 1976 Woodbury Avenue, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The people working there are very friendly and helpful. For a small place, they carry a large inventory of Asian ingredients. I purchased watercress, bean sprouts and wonton noodles from them. 
  • When you peel the shrimp, leave about half an inch of the last part of the tail unpeeled. This makes for a better presentation. Remove and discard the intestines.
  • Avoid covering the pot when making the broth as it will yield a cloudy looking broth. You may season the broth with a combination of fish sauce and salt if interested.

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