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Dang that's an Awesome Soup! - The Recipe

My wife's delicious soup — by David Smith
My wife's delicious soup — by David Smith

The recipe includes semi-homemade items, like the pork and marinade. The broth, meat and condiments are more time-consuming than labor-intensive. The broth is the foundation to this soup and requires patience. And the condiments add additional bold flavors that compliment the soup’s overall taste.

Makes 4-6 servings

Roiling and Boiling Broth — by David Smith
Roiling and Boiling Broth — by David Smith

Making the Broth

1.5-2 Gallons (6-8 Liters) Water

Approximately 1 pound (1/2 kilo) of pork bone with a little meat like spine, neck or hock in 2 or 3 pieces, can use ribs if these are not readily available, cook until meat easily falls off the bone.

1 medium to large sized carrot sliced

2 stalks of celery, chopped fine to medium

½ of a medium to large sized head of garlic, about 4-6 pieces or teeth, peeled

1 bundle of Asian spices (coriander seed, star anise, clove, cinnamon, fennel, peppercorns) in a small sachet and in a equal ratio, NOT powder, because if the flavor starts to get too strong you can remove the sachet

1-2 small dried mushrooms

5 Tablespoons each of the following: Sugar, Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce

In a large stock pot of at least 6 to 8 quarts, approximately the same in liters, add all of the ingredients and pork bone.

In order to make this soup really deeply flavored and delicious, boil and then simmer the soup for a minimum of 2-3 hours, the longer the better the flavor. Make sure to add water if needed. The broth should be relatively thin.

A Crock pot or slow cooker can also be used, as an all-day simmer will allow the bone to impart amazing flavor into the broth. This is a good reason to keep the bone in the broth when serving later, it will continue to impart flavor.

Marinating the Pork

2 pounds (1 kilo) pork loin cut so the length has about a 2 inch (5 cm) diameter

1 pack of red pork seasoning

Enough water to thin out the powder and cover the pork

I have tried making the sauce for the pork from scratch, but I also appreciate saving some time. My favorite is still a spice packet that is regularly sold in supermarkets and grocery stores that carry Thai products.

Red pork marinade packet. — by David Smith
Red pork marinade packet. — by David Smith

Mix the red pork seasoning with water until thoroughly blended.

Wash and clean the pork loin, then dry and slice into the appropriate 2 inch or so diameter, any larger and the surface area really misses out on the delicious red flavoring.

Put the loin into the red sauce and marinate for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Marinating the pork — by David Smith
Marinating the pork — by David Smith

I usually do not like to marinate and then cook my food in the same marinade, this is literally the one and only exception I make. Since the pork loin boils in the marinade until reduced and thickened, I am not as concerned about any residual contamination. If you are concerned, then I suggest buying at least two sauce packets, one for the initial marinating and then another for cooking the pork in the pan.

Cook the pork and marinade until it reduces to a very thick and viscous sauce and you are sure the pork is completely cooked through. It is okay to check with a knife, but the pork should feel relatively firm throughout. Add water to rehydrate the sauce if you need more cooking. Be careful with the sauce though, at this point it is very concentrated and bubbling which can cause splattering. The mix contains a significant amount of sugar and any splattering that lands on you can really burn and hurt.

When the pork is finished cooking through, remove the pork from the sauce and allow to cool on a platter. With the same red sauce, I have substituted an equivalent amount of beef for the pork and some people use chicken breasts.

The finished pork - cooling for later slicing — by David Smith
The finished pork - cooling for later slicing — by David Smith

Garlic & Peanuts

½ Cup of Peanuts

Roasted and crushed peanuts — by David Smith
Roasted and crushed peanuts — by David Smith

My wife likes to roast fresh or raw peanuts in a pan and then after they have cooled a little bit, crush them with a mortal and pestle. You can also put already roasted peanuts in sealing plastic bag and smash them with a rolling pin or can on top of a cutting board or other hard surface. Just remember to be careful not to damage the underlying surface.

Frying the whole Thai garlic til a golden brown — by David Smith
Frying the whole Thai garlic til a golden brown — by David Smith

1 ½ Heads of garlic

Another condiment to add is fried garlic with the finished the soup. Take about 2-3 teeth or cloves per serving, about one and half heads of garlic total. Peel them and and chop them up. My wife claims that the skin on Thai garlic is thinner than Western garlic, so the skin is not problematic when mixed in, I disagree, so I I always peel my garlic Thai or otherwise. Fry the garlic in a tablespoon or two of corn oil or other frying oil, not olive oil. Fry the garlic until crispy and brown, but avoid overcooking it and making it bitter. Set aside to add later.

Noodles

1 bird’s nest or ball of Ba-Mi noodles per person, or a substitution of 1 pack of ramen without flavorings.

Cooking the Ba-Mi noodle in a sieve — by David Smith
Cooking the Ba-Mi noodle in a sieve — by David Smith

When it is time to serve the dish, get a pot going with hot water. If you are using fresh noodles, they will cook very quickly. The typical noodle used is a thin egg noodle, called Ba-Mi, about the size of normal ramen. Sometimes, people use ramen as a substitute for the noodle. It is fine if you want to use this option, but do not add the ramen flavors and make sure the noodle itself is plain.

Bring it all together

1 ½ to 2 Cups of Bean sprouts, washed

1 to 2 Cups of rough cut Water Spinach (also known as Chinese Watercress or Water morning glory)

2-3 pieces of spring onion, sliced

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

When you are ready to eat, heat a large pot to cook the noodles. My wife is used to making individual servings, but you can certainly put the noodles in the pot and cook according to the specific noodles you have available and are using. I would suggest not using regular spaghetti noodles, as they tend to be too chewy. After cooking the noodles, dip the bean sprouts and water spinach in the noodle water using a sieve for about 30 second to a minute. Please note, adding a hot broth in the next step should finish the cooking, so do not worry about cooking completely through.

Typical Thai soup condiments — by David Smith
Typical Thai soup condiments — by David Smith

Have your bowls ready. Add the cooked noodles, top with thin slices of the pork, a handful of bean spouts and water spinach per bowl. Depending on your tastes and preferences, sprinkle crushed peanuts, crunchy fried garlic. And then ladle the broth over everything. With the fresh ingredients and a boiling hot broth, it should finish the cooking in the bowl of the noodles and vegetables. Add cilantro and sliced spring onion as a fresh garnish.

The final step is to conform the soup to your individual tastes and preferences. Add dried chili powder, vinegar, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and powdered black pepper.

The Final Soup — by David Smith
The Final Soup — by David Smith

I know it is a difficult and multi-step process to make this soup. If you can stick with it and make it, good for you, it is one of my favorite soups.

Hope you enjoy the soup and are able to share it with friends and family.

In an upcoming recipe, I will be making a much easier 4-main ingredients Chicken Soup.

If you enjoy this recipe and have not seen my story that inspired us to try and make Ba-Mi Moo Dang for ourselves, please check out: