I find noodle soups so fascinating – throw a few vegetables, some protein and some noodles into a bit of flavoured water and you have an incredibly filling, fresh bowl of goodness that’ll warm even the coldest heart. Put it in a little plastic pot and you have a student staple.
They come in all varieties, but recently I’ve fallen in love with the flavour of lemongrass. While other typical noodle flavourings like soy sauce and five spice can become tiresomely rich and salty, lemongrass tastes more refreshing than a mojito on a hot summer day – an apt comparison, since I’d liken the flavour to that of mint and citrus. Thanks to that punch of flavour, the pork balls don’t need a whole lot more. A bit of heat and garlic, but ultimately the often overlooked pork flavour gets to shine.
For the broth
- Vegetable stock – 500ml or so each
- Lemongrass stalks – 1 per person
- Red onion
- Garlic cloves – around 1cm cubed each
- Red chilli (optional)
- Fresh ginger root
- Tenderstem broccoli
- Sugarsnap Peas
- Baby Corn
- Dried noodles
For the pork balls
- Pork Mince – about 250g each
- Garlic cloves
- Red chilli
- Dried basil
- Put your vegetable stock in a saucepan and add the lemongrass stalks, half a red onion, 2-3 garlic cloves each depending on how strong you want it, peeled ginger, a spoonful or two of honey and a bit of sliced red chilli if you like it spicy. Bring to a simmer and cook for about half an hour, partially covered.
- Add an egg per person to the broth once it is up to the boil and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove and chill in iced water until the end, when you can peel and half them to put in the broth.
- Mix the pork mince with a few minced cloves of garlic, finely chopped red chilli and 1/2 spoonful of basil (not enough to overpower, complement) and a generous sprinkling of salt. Form into balls the size of golf balls. Fry in a large saucepan with a little oil, turning regularly until thoroughly cooked through. This took me about 10 minutes, but if you’re not sure simply break one of them open and check to see it’s thoroughly cooked with no pink showing.
- Strain the broth, removing all of the solid flavourings. Return the broth to the pot and add the dried noodles, broccoli, sugarsnap peas and baby sweetcorn simmering for a few minutes until cooked through.
- Distribute the noodles and broth among your bowls, top with the pork balls and eggs and you’re ready to go!