I woke yesterday with a raging urge to make some sort of spicy soup. I started pouring through books trying to decide on what exactly I wanted. Hot and Sour soup? Nope. Tom Ka Gai? Nope.
I wanted clean, unmuddled, broth based soup. Finally a picture in my Wagamama cookbook of Shichimi spiced duck ramed struck my attention and I began to formulate my execution.
If you get the prep out of the way early, this soup can come together fast. I know that reading this may make you think that it took forever to make, but I assure you it was under an hour for everything. I also now have gyoza sauce and tori kara age in the fridge ready to go for several other dishes over the next week or two. They both keep for a long time and are great to marinate chicken or fish. Most of this kind of cooking is make it and wait, slice it and wait. Prep is your best friend when making Asian foods. Have everything reay to go because the cooking time is minimal.
Since I didn't feel like going over to Super 88 to get shichimi which is generally a blend of pepper, salt, seaweed, sesame seeds, dried orange, hemp and poppy seeds I used the Eden Organic Seaweed Gomasio from Whole Foods and I added cracked pepper and sea salt.
I scored the duck breasts on both sides and rubbed it well. Put a plate on it and some heavy cans and let it hang out in the fridge for a few hours.
In the meantime I made my broth with chicken stock and a few tablespoons of South River Sweet brown rice miso. If you ahven't tried this miso before I have seen it at Whole Foods and it is reasonably priced and really delicious. It is made locally out in Shelburne Falls. To the broth I also added a tablespoon or two of ponzu sauce. I just let this simmer for 5 - 10 minutes, tasted and added more miso or ponzu as required. Next time I might try it with their brown miso and decide which I like better.
Over on the counter I julienned some bamboo shoots and 1 leek, sliced a bunch of scallions on a nice angle, minced 6 cloves of garlic, chopped up some baby bok choy and then thinly sliced 2 serrano chilies with the seeds and ribs and a few handfuls of bean sprouts. Everything went into little bowls ready to go, this drove the resident house dishwasher (husband) crazy.
Next I made a batch of gyoza sauce (garlic and serrano chili, sugar, cider vinegar soy and sesame oil), for later dipping and I made some tori kara age sauce (ginger, soy, sake, sugar and oyster sauce) to marinate the chicken thighs.
After the chicken thighs hung out the fridge for an hour or two in the marinade they were tossed in with a beaten egg with cornstarch, dried oregano and thyme and then they were quickly fried. Husband started groaning while eating these. Very dangerous.
I set up some condiments for both the soup and the tori kara age. Quartered lime, the julienned bamboo shoots, some kewpie and the gyoza sauce ready to go.
Once everything was ready to go I set up the stove to cook the noodles, stir fry and then deep fry and sear the duck breast.
I boiled a batch of udon noodles, cause that was what I had in the house, drained and held them in cool water. I turned the broth back on and brought it up to a simmer.
The duck breasts went into a heavy bottomed pan on pretty high heat to sear the skin and then I lowered the heat a bit to cook the other side. Once they were ready (maybe 8 - 10 minutes) they rested on a board while I did a quick stir fry of the veggies with some soy, sugar and sesame oil. Once they were ready I pulled them to a waiting bowl and cleaned out the wok to cook the tori kara age.
While the oil heated up I sliced the duck breast for the soup and added any juices to the broth.
When the tori kara age were fried they just went on a plate.
The udon went in the bottom of a bowl topped with a scoop or two of the stir fried veg and then the duck went on top and I filled the bowl with the miso broth which heated everything back up nicely.
Very good and definately a repeat.