Duck soup, Thai style is wonderful! It has a lovely special exotic flavor and it is full of rice noodles, Shitake mushrooms, baby Bok Choy and green onions. I first had this at a Thai restaurant years ago and it became one of my son Stephen's favorite soup when he found a good little Thai restaurant near his university where we would go there whenever I would visit him. That great little Thai place closed down, unfortunately so we had to start making it ourselves. How to start? Well, the first time we made it ourselves, we used the duck bones from the roasted duck we bought at the 99 Ranch Market. Nowadays, we roast our own duck and then make soup the next day.
I was shopping at Uwajimaya's the other day - my favorite grocery store and duck was on sale. We roasted the duck and saved the leftover meat, but there wasn't much left as duck is not the meatiest of birds. In order to get the rest of the bits off, you need to cook the bones for a while, remove the meat and then return the bones to simmer some more. The broth is cooked with a stick of cinnamon, some star anise and an onion, garlic, ginger, some carrots and some chunks of daikon radish. Then when the broth is done, you strain it and briefly cook the baby Bok Choy, mushrooms and rice noodles int he broth. Season it with some fish sauce, some sweet soy sauce, some salty soy sauce and a squeeze of lime. Garnish with green onions and cilantro and you have an amazing meal!
Thai Duck Noodle Soup
Carcass from one duck, in pieces with the meat picked off and reserved
8 cups of water
2 Star Anise
1 stick of Cinnamon
1 onion, cut into big chunks
2 garlic cloves
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 small Daikon Radish, peeled and cut into chunks
2 slices of ginger
6 baby Bok Choy bunches, washed, root end cut off and cut into about 2" pieces
8 dried Shitake Mushrooms, rehydrate in a bowl of boiling water
8 oz Rice Noodles - cooked in boiling water for 4 minutes, drained and rinsed
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce or Tamari
2 Tablespoons Sweet Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
Juice of one Lime mixed with 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
Black Pepper to taste
Green Onions, root end removed and ends trimmed, cut into small pieces
Handful of Cilantro Leaves, washed
Sriracha Chili Sauce
Place duck bones in a soup pot and add water, Star Anise, Cinnamon Stick, Onion, Garlic, Carrots, Daikon Radish and Ginger. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook for one hour. Remove bones and cool slightly, removing the remaining meat on them and reserve. Return bones to the broth and cook for an additional 1/2 hour. Strain. (Broth can be cooled and stored in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to use it.)
Bring broth back to a boil. Shitake Mushrooms and the baby Bok Choy. Cook for 5 minutes. Add in the Soy Sauces, Fish Sauce and Lime Juice mixture. Divide rice noodles between 4 bowls and put reserved duck meat on top. Pour broth over the noodles, making sure to give each bowl enough baby Bok Choy and Shitake Mushrooms. Sprinkle Green Onion pieces and Cilantro on top and serve with chopsticks and Asian spoons and Sriracha Hot Sauce added to taste.
Five Element Analysis
Duck is a Watery food and soy sauce is a Water seasoning and this is a soup, which is a Water food so that element is completely covered. The baby Bok Choy, cilantro and lime juice contribute plenty of the Wood Element. The Sriracha and Black Pepper bring in the Fire Element, whereas the carrot. sweet soy sauce and brown sugar bring in the Earth Element. The green onions, onions, radish and spices add the Metal Element so this ends up being a completely balanced meal! No wonder it feels so good when I eat it....