Fish noodle soup

Fish noodle soup

By
From
Vietnamese Street Food
Serves
6
Photographer
Michael Fountoulakis

Banh da noodles are a chewy noodle said to have originated from the northern port of Hai Phong. They contrast well with soft-fleshed fish and are used in lau (steamboats). Rice noodles can be used as a substitute.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 whole fish, (500-600 g each)
3 black peppercorns
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup plain flour
200g dried breadcrumbs
oil, for shallow-frying
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped, plus one extra, cut into 6 wedges
2 lemongrass stems, finely chopped, white part only
1 long red chilli
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons Tamarind water
600g banh da noodles
4 spring onions, cut into thin strips
1/2 handful dill fronds
1 tablespoon fish sauce

Method

  1. Remove the fillets from the fish (or ask your fishmonger to do it for you). Set the fillets aside.
  2. Remove and discard the gills from the fish heads. Wash the fish heads and bones under cold water. Put the fish heads, bones, black peppercorns and 2 litres of water in a saucepan. Slowly bring to simmering point, removing any scum that rises to the surface, and gently simmer for 20 minutes. Do not boil or the stock will be cloudy. Strain the stock and discard the fish heads and bones.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the fish fillets into pieces about 4 cm long. Break the eggs into a bowl and lightly whisk in the milk. Put the flour on a plate and the breadcrumbs on another plate. Dust the fish pieces in flour, toss them in the egg mixture and then in the breadcrumbs, pressing to coat the fish.
  4. Shallow-fry the fish in the hot oil for 3–4 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain well on paper towel.
  5. Put the tomato (not including the extra wedges), lemongrass and chilli in a mortar and use a pestle to pound into a paste. Heat a little oil in the cleaned saucepan, add the lemongrass mixture and stir for 2–3 minutes, or until aromatic. Pour in the fish stock and heat until it is simmering. Stir in the sugar and the tamarind water.
  6. Cook the noodles in a saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain well, then divide among six bowls. Top with the spring onion, dill and tomato wedges. Add the fish sauce to the hot broth and ladle over the noodles. Top with the crumbed fish pieces.
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