Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mi Dac Biet - Combination Egg Noodle Soup

I've been craving a bowl of noodle soup lately.  I remember eating a really delicious bowl of Mi Do Bien (Seafood Egg Noodle Soup) at Cafe Thuy Van in Louisville.  It had plumped shrimps, quail eggs, and some fish cake (cha ca) in a chicken broth.  What made the dish really memorable to me was the use of He (Chinese chives).  Herb is more than just a garnish in Vietnamese cooking, it really complete the dish.  Pho is not the same without rau hung que (Thai basil) and we just can't have Banh Xeo without rau dap ca (fish mint).  Here is a good site to learn more about Vietnamese herbs.

Ingredients:

1-2 lb of pork neck or pork ribs
1/2 chicken 
1 medium yellow onion
1 ginger 
rock sugar
salt
fish sauce
ground pepper
egg noodle
1 cup of imitation crab
1/2 lb shrimp
1 can of quail eggs
bunch of Chinese chives
green onions
bean sprouts (optional)
limes (optional)
msg (optional)

Prepping:  

1.  Prepare egg noodles, most noodles require you to boil it before eating.
2.  Cook the shrimp and peel the shell, leaving only the tail on.
3.  Rinse the quail eggs.
4.  Cut the imitation crab to your liking.
5.  Wash all herbs and vegetables.
6.  Cut chives into 2 in. section.
7.  Prepare green onions for garnish.
8.  Cut limes into smaller section.
9.  Roast yellow onion and ginger.

Broth:

1.  Wash chicken and pork bones with salt.
2.  Boil the chicken in pot with about 1 quart of water and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Since we don't usually pre-boil chicken make sure you scoop away the scum.
3.  In a seperate pot pre-boil the pork bones, the rinse with cold water.  Simmer in a large pot with 2 quart of water and 3 teaspoon of salt..
4.  Add peeled ginger and yellow onion to the pork pot.  To taste add rock sugar, 1 pinch of msg, 1 teaspoon of ground pepper, and fish sauce.  
5.  Once the chicken is cooked, remove from broth and let cool.  You can add the chicken broth into the pork pot.  Continue to let broth simmer for 1-2 hours.  Continue to add more fish sauce and sugar to your liking. 
6.  Once the chicken is cool enough to work with, shred chicken into smaller strips.  It's up to you if you want to use the skin.

Arrange some shredded chicken, cooked shrimp, and Chinese chives in a bowl with egg noodle.  I cook the quail eggs and crab meat in the broth in a smaller pot for a couple minutes.  Once the  broth has come to a boil, add to your bowl.  Add bean sprouts, green onions, and limes to your liking.  Top off your bowl with some ground pepper and enjoy!