Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bean Thread Vermicelli Soup

Last week Eat Arkansas posted a great article about the Arkansas food blogging scene, and this site was included, which made me really happy and appreciative.  My friend Joe, who I go way back with, loved that the writer used the word "simple".  Joe and I worked together at a TV station in advertising sales a few years ago where a fellow colleague once told us that all we did all morning was talk about what we were going to have for lunch, or for dinner.  This brings a smile to my face, because we did spend a little bit of the workday calling restaurants to have them fax us menus and tell us what their soup of the day would be.  Amidst all that, though, we were rescheduling bumped commercials, negotiating media buys with ad agencies, and fighting for market share against our own sister station.  We were among the top sellers!

Our colleague also once asked us if we ever ate anything besides lamb, lobster, and crab - stuffed mushrooms.  Joe would look at me at times like these, and say in his sardonic tone that the food we ate was "just simple....."  We have a lot of great inside jokes, me and Joe...

So it's not always lamb and pate around here.  There are days like when I've been on a field trip all day with my daughter's second grade class, I get home, and I don't have the energy to prepare a huge, involved meal.  There were times that I may have resorted to a quick and easy instant ramen package, but I've 86'ed those since, obsessive label reader that I am, I discovered the massive amounts of sodium as well as the presence of MSG.  What was I gonna do?  Attempt David Chang's extensive ramen broth with dashi and bonito?  Make some alkaline noodles?
I scoured the aisles of Sam's Oriental to find some noodles that did not have MSG.  They are still a little high in sodium, so I will limit my intake to a minimum.  But they're good enough to share here with you all.  The Good noodles come in several great flavors.  If you like spicy, look for the ones in the green package.  Spareribs flavour.  These are vermicelli noodles made of bean thread.  I love them.
I also love that these are so easy to make, my 9 year old daughter can make her own.  You just put everything in a bowl.  We throw out the oil package,though.  You don't need it.  It's tasty enough without it.
Add hot water, then cover the bowl with a plate for 3 minutes.
Add your choice of cooked protein.  I made some chicken just by filling up a large Dutch oven 2/3 full of water.  Bring it up to a boil, add 6 chicken legs, and cover.  Simmer on medium low for about 30 minutes.  Remove the chicken to let it cool.  Shred the meat, discarding bones & fat.  There's enough meat for 3 - 4 of these packages.  Garnish with chives, cilantro, chili peppers, and squeeze a little lime in it.  That helps give it a bit of homemade taste, I think.  Try the noodles....when you're in the mood for something simple.

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