You’ll see people eating these huge bowls of noodle soup all over Asia. It’s such a simple dish, which you can vary endlessly with different vegetables, noodles, dumplings, fish, or meat. What I love most is it’s a complete meal in itself – carbs, protein, and veg, all in one big bowl of happiness.

1.5 liters fish stock or light chicken stock

3cm piece of fresh root galangal, sliced

1–2 banana shallots, peeled and very finely sliced

3cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced

1–2 red chilies, depending on heat, sliced

4 kaffir lime leaves, torn

Bunch of coriander stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped

2–4 lemongrass stalks, to taste

300g rice noodles, e.g. Thai rice sticks

1kg fresh clams, cleaned and well rinsed

150g beansprouts

Pinch of sugar

Fish sauce (available ready-made from supermarkets)

Juice of 1 lime

1. Place the stock in a large saucepan. Add the galangal, shallots, ginger, chili, lime leaves, and the finely chopped coriander stalks. Bash the lemongrass with the back of your knife to bruise it, chop each stalk into 4 pieces and add to the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 10 minutes, until aromatic and well flavored.

2. Cook or soak the noodles according to the packet instructions.

3. Meanwhile, sort through the clams, discarding any that do not shut tightly when tapped.

4. Once ready to serve, add the clams to the soup broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3–5 minutes, or until all the clams have opened up. Discard any that remain closed.

5. Drain the noodles and divide between warmed serving bowls. Add the beansprouts. Taste the soup and add a pinch of sugar and dash of fish sauce as necessary (the amount depends on how salty the clams are). Stir in half the lime juice, taste, and add more if you wish.

6. Pour the soup over each bowl of noodles, garnish with the coriander leaves and serve immediately


The easiest way to peel ginger, getting neatly around all those knobbly bits, is to use a teaspoon rather than a knife.

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