Bok Choy Noodle Soup with Quail Eggs

The day I made this soup is the day I learned to recognise the flavour of star anise in food. I’d known it in licorice, but had never realised what it did to hearty dishes. Star anise, I learned, is one of the five ingredients in Chinese five spice powder - (along with cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns and fennel) - the Chinese have been using it for ages. And I never would have guessed it, but it does something quite amazing. 

Bok Choy Noodle Soup with Quail Eggs

Ingredients (serves 2):
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, minced
1 bunch scallions, chopped. Set the green aside for the topping. 
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 whole star anise
1300 ml chicken broth
2 tablespoon soy sauce
240g mushrooms, sliced
1/2 head of large bok choy, roughly chopped
120g rice noodles
4-6 quail eggs (or 2 regular eggs), medium-soft boiled
garnish: red pepper flakes or sesame seeds

Instructions:
1. Take the olive oil and heat in a medium sized soup pan, then add the shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes until glazed. 

2. Add the white of the scallions, garlic and ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes more, until the garlic and ginger are fragrant. 

3. Add the chicken stock, star anise and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer, then cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes. 

4. Discard the star anise, then add the sliced mushrooms, noodles and bok choy. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the bok choy and noodles are tender. 

5. In a separate pan, boil the quail eggs for 3.5 - 4 minutes, then cool in cold water to stop the boiling process. When cooled, peel the eggs and slice in half. 

6. Divide the soup over 2 bowls and top with the green of the scallions and the quail eggs, halved and yolk-side up. Sprinkle over some chili flakes or sesame seeds as garnish and serve.

Bok Choy Noodle Soup with Quail Eggs

Bok Choy Noodle Soup with Quail Eggs

Bok Choy Noodle Soup with Quail Eggs

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