This noodle soup is totally a Japanese Thai hybrid thing, and it’s amazing. Like all my noodle, soup, and curry dreams coming true.
Whenever I’m asked to choose one favourite food or food memory I panic, because there’s so many to choose from and narrowing it down to 1 is an impossible task. I mean, that’s not even how memory works, I start thinking about one food I love and it links to a memory about another food or dish or experience and then my list is ever expanding. I’m the worst at answering the last meal question because my list is so long that the meal isn’t a last meal so much as a way to keep extending life!
But choosing a favourite food/ food memory is the task for the 2nd RSSAU challenge. As I can clearly not choose just one, the closest I can get is my love of noodles – a cheekily broad category – and the many memories that led to this recipe.
I’ve loved noodles in all their forms since I was a kid and this is probably because of the food I was exposed to through travel from a pretty young age (thanks Mum and Dad!). Our childhood vacations were a mix of summertime camping in New Zealand and overseas trips to Asia. My best friend and her family moved to Hong Kong for a few years when we were in primary school and as they were our next door neighbours and our families were very close we all went to visit. Traveling to Asia as a young child and continuing those travels all the way through adulthood has instilled in me two things: a love of travel and a love of Asian food.
Every country I’ve been to seems to have it’s own take on noodles and maybe that’s why I love them so much. From Cantonese style in Hong Kong, to Pad Thai and Pad See Ew in Thailand, to Pho in Vietnam noodles are always my favourite. there’s something so comforting in their versatility for someone like me that constantly craves change.
Another thing I loved about these adventures is that they would come home with us in the form of new favourite foods to eat and make. Even if the first time Dad made Duck Red Thai Curry it wasn’t exactly a success (we may have refused to eat it! Sorry Dad, but I’ll sing your praises again in just a moment). As we got older our Friday night Take Away requests changed from McDonalds, KFC and Burger King (whoever had advertised the best toy that week usually won) to the Thai, Chinese and Indian that the suburbs of Melbourne do so well. Our dinners at home would also reflect the flavours found on these holidays.
Many of my favourite food memories are from Sunday dinners. When we got old enough to be semi -independent adults we (my brother, sister and I) slowly moved out. But we always come home for Sunday night dinners. These dinners are something we bring friends and partners to and all catch up on whatever has happened in our world’s that week. They’re also not your typical Sunday night roast. Usually it’s an adventurous feast in which Mum and Dad mix tried and true recipes with new things they’ve chanced upon in recent weeks. Mum is in charge of desserts and her endless variations on meringues are something I’ve bragged about before. Dad is in charge of entree and main with the help of the many sous chefs ready to taste things for their service.
I love that new recipes are always being tried on Sunday’s and that openness to experimenting and trying new things is a food memory that inspires this blog daily. A few years ago Dad absolutely perfected that Duck Thai Red Curry that we complained about as kids. It’s now my favourite dish that he cooks… Even if it’s been way too long since the last time!
I love this readiness to try new recipes and experiment in the kitchen that was so much a part of my upbringing. It’s why my favourite food is so broad, because part of what I love is the ability it make food new over and over again. Noodles offer so much opportunity for this!
It’s all these experiences that come together to make me the food lover and maker that I am today. This recipe at once reflects a childhood spent holidaying in Asia and Sunday’s spent with my family feasting on Dad’s latest dish (and mum’s desserts!!). That love of creating something new from familiar flavours.
This noodle soup is my own new creation but it’s the memories of all these meals and experiences that help me create new recipes for this blog every day. For this recipe I wanted to use a red curry base because Dad’s Duck Thai Red Curry is still one of my favourite Sunday meals. However, I also wanted to keep it in theme with this blog and make it a little lighter. I used lean chicken mince instead of roast duck and miso to increase that meaty umami flavour. This instantly seemed to be taking it down a ramen path so I went all in and used ramen noodles for the noodle part and a soft boiled egg.
This is a far simpler, easier and faster version of Dad’s curry but that’s everything my favourite noodle dishes always are. Using chicken mince cuts down some of your prep time too – win! I steam the bok choy separately to make sure it doesn’t over cook but you could just throw it in the pot with everything else. Because you’re getting the salty intensity from the miso at the start you don’t need to season with soy or fish sauce at the end.
Luckily, Thai Red Curry as the base of a ramen noodle soup is crazy delicious! I made it for some friends on the weekend and one of them then went home and made it for their partner. And that is everything I want from this food blog: for people to try recipes, experiment and make their own food memories.
Now it’s your turn.
Serves 2, you can double for 4.
90 grams ramen noodles
1 Tbs coconut oil
250g chicken mince
1 tsp miso paste
2 Tbs finely sliced spring onions
2 Tsp finely chopped coriander roots and stems
3 Tbs red curry paste
1 can coconut cream or milk
400 ml chicken stock
1 red capsicum, core removed and sliced into 3mm thick batons
1 bunch of baby bok choy
1/3 cup coriander leaves
2 Tbs finely chopped spring onions
1 birds eye chilli, finely sliced (optional)
1 radish, finely sliced
Fill a medium sized pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the eggs and turn the water down a little and boil for 6 minutes (you want the water to be just above a simmer). Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and put in cold water until cool.
Bring the water back to the boil. Separate the leaves of the bok choy and place in a steaming basket. Add the ramen noodles to the pot, place the steaming basket over the top and cook both for 2 minutes (or according to packet directions for the noodles). Drain.
Use the same pot, sans water and melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the chicken mince and use the back of a spoon to break up and brown it. Add the coriander root, 2 Tbs spring onion and the miso post and cook for 1 minute. Add the red curry paste and cook for another minute. Add the coconut cream and stock and bring to a simmer. Taste, add more curry paste if you think it needs it (curry paste can vary widely!). Simmer for 2 more minutes then add the capsicum slices and cook for 2 minutes.
Divide the noodles between two bowls and place in the centre, try to get some height. Divide the soup between the two bowls including the mince and capsicum slices. Place the bok choy on top of the soup and garnish with the coriander, spring onion, radish and chilli slices. Squeeze lime juice over to serve.