This is one of many variations of Thai / Lao soup that you may find in many Thai, Lao or Vietnamese restaurants. This is the chicken variety, there are Beef and Seafood variations the stock differs a little, Beef the star anise is replaced by a cinnamon stick. In all cases the ox tail makes the best stock but can be replaced with a chicken Beef or shrimp Bouillon cube the one inch kind (some common brands are Maggi or Knorr)
The Chinese Tea Eggs are a Chinese twist that we love to add to ours (-:
Ox tail piece about 1x2x2in
Tea eggs one per person
Chicken Breast skinned and deboned 1/2 breast per person
Sliced jalapeno peppers in rice vinegar
Mung bean sprouts
Fresh Rice noodles
Whole black pepper
Hot pepper sauce
Oyster brand fish sauce (this has some salt in it)
One piece approx 2x2 inch of ox tail, you can get a bag at Asian Grocery stores frozen and use them as needed. (Give the bone to some dog you know when you are done with it !) You can also substitute the beef bouillon cubes found at Asian & Latino grocers 1 inch size I like the Maggi brand. Keep in mind the cubes are a huge draw back from the ox tail when it comes to flavor
Start with a 3 quart sauce pot/pan full with water. keep in mind you will need to add water at least 6 times while cooking. More if you need soup for extra people, pour off some as you cook if you require extra bowls of soup.
It is a good idea 1 to 3 days before you start the soup to slice up some jalapeno peppers and cover them with rice vinegar, This makes them less hot and a sweet. (I use the rice vinegar without sugar added) Many people like to eat the peppers sliced fresh with the soup but they are much more hot.
Heat your Chinese Tea Eggs if you wish to have them with the soup in a small pot
Add some of the liquid with an equal amount of water cook them slow and low while you are making the soup
I like to use a tea ball for this part it makes it easier to get them out.
Fill half of it with about 4 star anise and whole black pepper
Put it in your pot and hook it to the handle or side, take it out just before you put in the chicken.
Diakon root. Available at most grocers
Peal and cut the diakon into thin rectangles
Cook it in the pot for about 20 minutes, medium boil. You will have to add water
Chicken breast about 1/2 breast per person. Cut it in half long ways. This one was still half frozen, that is ok.
Mung bean sprouts, the kind at Asian Grocers not the home grown ones, (yes I love then too on other things) soak them in water for about a half hour while making soup
Spring onions, cilantro, Thai basil and lime quarters. DO NOT COOK ANY OF THESE VEGETABLES in the soup. They go in later. All of them are available at Asian grocers. For people who are not use to eating cilantro just use the leaves, for others we love the stems too.
Fresh Rice noodles, this is my favorite brand. Some people use the dried verity but these are better. (The dried rice noodles must be soaked for at least an hour before cooking and they lack flavor ! ) There are other brands but some of them taste more like barely. Also at Asian Grocer
Ingredients, Hoisin Sauce, Hot Pepper sauce, Oyster brand fish sauce, and Dried Cabbage (this is the only brand of dried cabbage I like for this soup.)
Chop up the onions, cilantro, and pick off some Thai Basil leaves soak them in cold water. Note may people put the Thai Basil stalks on a plate on so they can be put in with peppers as people like.
Pick out the diakon put it in a bowl with some of the beef broth stock from the pot, hot, cover it with a plate until you eat the soup, put it out on the table.
Slice up the chicken into thin slices.
This is a good time to take out the tea ball and spices. Stir the chicken into the soup and cook it about 15 to 30 minutes. You will need to add water
Blanch the noodles in boiling water only about 10 seconds. If you are not sure how much noodles to cook, try half, pick them out with tongs. This way if you need more you still have the hot water. Drain and place the vegetables on top (as i said the vegetables are not cooked ! The hot broth will wilt them to a lovely fresh taste.)
Add the stock put in the chicken, peppers, and in the center some dried cabbage.
Add the fish sauce, (a few shakes 3 to 5) yes it smells bad but it taste great in the soup. Trust me. Put some Hoisin Sauce in the center, squeeze in by hand a 1/4 lime wedge, drip some drops of the hot sauce only a few. Add a pealed tea egg if you are including one
Use the Hoisin sauce at the table drip it onto the chicken chunks as you eat them.
A small cup of Chinese green or black tea is a nice compliment.
A bowl for a child only a few onions and a little dried cabbage on the bottom to learn to like. Kids love the Hoisin sauce it is sweet.
Garnish with a few sprouts, put the other sprouts in a bowl on the table.
Maharishi Déjà Vu
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