Left-over Smoked Ribs
4 quarts of water
rib tips from one rack of spareribs
1-1/2" ginger, split in half
3 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
2 star anise
8 Phu Quoc peppercorns, black
6 whole cloves
1 2" length of cinnamon stick
Bring all ingredients to a low simmer, the idea is to have almost no bubbles and to very slowly steep the ingredients to create a clean, clear broth. The steep runs about 180F and goes for around 4 hours. This is filtered, cooled and skimmed. You'll notice there is not a lot of salt, this allows me to control the salt later in the cook and gives me flexibility later in the cook.
Noodle Dough before rest
Not Hand-pulled Noodles
3/4 cup bread flour
1/4 cup all-purpose whole wheat flour
1/4 cup very hot water
2 tablespoons neutral oil
Sift flours together to blend, place in bowl of blender with paddle attachment. Mix hot water and oil together and slowly add to flour as mixer is running on low speed. The dough will start to come together as you add water. Only add enough water to make the dough into a rough loose dough. Remove and knead for 5 to 7 minutes by hand. Wrap dough in plastic wrap tightly and allow to rest for at least an hour. These will be Lamian-style noodles except I don't hand pull them. I use a pasta roller, after a couple of minutes of kneading to refresh the gluten, I roll it three times through a flat pasta roller, then use the spaghetti cutter to form the noodles. Then into boiling salty water for 2 to 3 minutes.
4 left-over ribs
4 cups prok broth
1 cup water
1/4 cup Red Boat fish sauce
2 fresh shiitake mushrooms sliced
green onions, cilantro to taste
This is a very simple soup, I simply simmered the ribs until the meat came off the bone, the mushrooms were added to cook, about 5 minutes before serving, I add the fish sauce. The green onions and cilantro are added just a minute or two before serving. Here is also where the lack of use of sugars and salts in the preparation of the broth comes in. I use Red Boat and call it out by brand for a spefic reason, it has no added sugars or preservatives, I believe it has a distinct flavor that is salty, sweet and pungent. Adding it is an easy cheat to add a dimension of dashi, a subtle sweetness and a taste of the sea.
Green onions, Cilantro and Shiitake
Pork Rib Soup, dark rich broth
Once the noodles have been boiled, the whole process goes pretty fast. The noodles need to go from boiling water to very hot soup, the herbal component should have just gone in as well. Since the noodles are fresh, they can overcook in a flash. 3 minutes might be just right, 3.5 minutes could well be mush. This makes a welcome and familiar dish for most anyone, but, particularly for anyone who grew up in an Asian family. Quick and simple.
Although the noodles add a great dimension of texture and help carry the flavor, as with all soups, the real deal is found in the broth, the pork broth I used as a base for the soup, along with all of the aromatics, really brings the flavor to this dish. The smoke and spice from the ribs, although not at all Chinese or Japanese in origin, really adds depth and complexity to the dish.
Look at that shine
Look at that shine, the use of the collagen rich rib tips really adds to the mouth feel of the stock, the addition of the herbs and fish sauce really enhances the highlight flavors of the broth. This soup really highlights the idea of a simple dish elevated with layers of flavors.