(aka mì hoành thánh: noodles with wontons)
Aka one of my Sunday lazy dishes: I buy the wontons pre-made from the XIIIe Arrondissement, and then make the soup come together fairly quickly. The version in the picture lacks a bit of vegetables: I’d usually throw in two handfuls of fresh spinach/ arugula, or one bok choy (all per person), in addition to the spring onions–except of course I seldom have greens left in my fridge on a Sunday evening! It’s a fairly effortless dish that only requires a bit of attention while it’s simmering on the stove.
I’m pretty sure the traditional recipe for this doesn’t include the sesame oil or the five-spices, but I really like the taste of the broth with those two ingredients thrown on.
- 125g dried egg noodles
- 10 shrimp wontons
- 1 tablespoon instant chicken broth (my chicken broth says: 2 teaspoons for 4 cups water, so if you want to use other sources of broth, I suspect it’d be 6 cups canned broth?)
- 6 cups water
- 1 teaspoon five-spices
- 1 10cm kombu piece
- 1 5cm ginger chunk
- 1 white onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1.5-2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 bok choys, or 4 handfuls of fresh spinash or arugula
- 2 spring onions
- Dash of sugar
- Cooking oil
- Sesame oil
- Using a mortar and pestle, smash the garlic and ginger into a rough, chunky paste. Cut the onion into wedges.
- In a saucepan, warm some cooking oil, and fry the ginger/garlic mixture until fragrant (about 30s-1min).
- Add the 6 cups water, the kombu piece, the onion, the white part of the spring onions, the five-spices, and 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce. Then bring to a boil.
- When the water starts to boil, remove the kombu.
- Leave to simmer for thirty minutes. Taste and adjust: it should have a strong salty kick but not make you instantly thirsty–if it’s too salty, adjust with some sugar, else add fish sauce. Don’t forget the noodles and wontons that are going into the soup are fairly bland, so the broth itself needs to have a kick if you want to taste anything!
- Bring the water back to a roiling boil, and add the dried egg noodles, the bok choy/spinach/arugula and the wontons. Leave to cook for about 3 minutes after the water comes back to a boil (if, as often happens for me, the noodles cook before the wontons, fish the noodles out to avoid having the taste boiled out of them, and set them aside. I put them straight into the serving bowls).
- Prepare two serving bowls: cut the green part of the spring onions into thin rings, and line the bowls. Then split the noodles, greens, and wontons between both bowls. Pour the broth over, and carefully mix to have the spring onions come back to the surface (careful, you don’t want to burst those wontons). Sprinkle some sesame oil on top (I usually go for anything from half a teaspoon to a teaspoon, depending on the mood).
- Serve hot.