Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Pork Ribs and Prawn Noodle Soup


We love prawn noodle soup so I save the prawn shells each time I use prawns for any dishes. They freeze very well. Mark the packet(s) for easier retrieval.
Shells from approximately two kilos of prawns yield a delicious soup, full of flavour and natural sweetness from the prawns.
The success of this dish is the stock, thus be patient and you will be appreciating every drop of the soup.

There are many ways to prepare this dish but this is my version.

1. Ten or more large prawns, rinsed and drained on colander
2. Frozen prawn shells and heads, rinsed and drained on colander
3. One rice bowl of fresh whole small shrimps
4. Four tablespoons of dried prawns (shake in sieve to remove grit and dust but do not rinse)
5. Six pieces of medium sized soft pork ribs, blanched
6. One medium sized piece of rock sugar
7. Pinch of salt
8. Noodles of your choice
9. Bean sprouts
10. One stalk of spring onions/celery leaves, finely sliced
11. Small bunch of Water Convolvulus/Kang Kong, pluck only the tender parts (if available)
12. Two tablespoons of vegetable/onion oil
13. Three cloves of whole garlic without skin
14. One slice of ginger
13. Pinch of white pepper
14. Crispy fried shallots/caramelized onions according to taste
15. Ten cups or more of chicken stock excluding stock from cooking raw prawns

Add some liquid and scrape bottom of pot before blending
Blended prawn mixtures
Pork ribs simmering in stock

1. Put just enough water in a small pot to cover raw prawns, bring to a boil. Add raw prawns (not the small fresh shrimp), lower heat to simmer till prawns are just cooked. Reserve liquid for stock. Ladle prawns out and rinse in cold water. Remove shells and de-vein. Save prawn heads and shells to make stock.
2. Wash pork ribs, blanch with hot water, re-rinse and wash well by removing blood and impurities. Set aside.
3. Heat pot (same pot for cooking the prawn stock) on a high heat, add oil and brown ginger and garlic till slightly brown. Add prawn heads, shells, small fresh shrimp, dried prawns, pinch of salt and white pepper. Fry till slightly crispy and aromatic. Add reserved liquid for cooking raw prawns into pot and scrape bottom of pot. The slightly burnt bits enhance the flavouring for the stock.
4. Pour prawn shells mixture into blender, blend till very smooth.
5. Pour mixture back into pot and add chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
6. Add pork ribs, and once water has re-boiled, lower heat to simmer. Remove scum from the surface. Add salt and rock sugar and continue to simmer uncovered until the pork ribs are tender. The stock should be reduced by about half. Add more stock if necessary.
7. Remove pork ribs and sieve the stock. Add pork ribs back to the pot and bring it back to a boil. Adjust seasoning according to taste.

To Serve:
1. In a separate pot, scald noodles for less than ¾ of a minute, add bean sprouts and kang kong (if used) and sieve on colander immediately, divided into individual serving bowls. Top with prawns and pork ribs, then ladle the hot soup over it, garnish with spring onions/celery leaves and/or crispy fried shallots/caramelized onions and serve hot.
2. Serve with sliced fresh red chillies in light soya sauce and fried pork lard if available.
3. Quicker way of cooking, skip under 'Method Step 4' and omit pork ribs. Substitute with pork tenderloin/belly pork or do not use any meat products.