Spicy Sesame Pork Soup with Noodles

By • February 5, 2013 • 85 Comments



Author Notes: My noodle soup haiku: I love noodle soup. Laksa, Tan Tan, Bun Rieu Chay! Slurpy noodle joy.

I do love noodle soup but have seldom taken the time to make a rich, flavorful broth. I decided now was as good a time as any, and figured pork would be a good place to start. Going in I knew that this would not be an eat-the-same-day-you-make-it soup. This is the long road, the start on Friday eat on Sunday kind of soup. Having never made pork-based stock before, I remembered cookinginvictoria’s rich Sunday Pork Ragu used pork neck bones and that they ended up being one of my favorite parts of the dish. I decided to roast them, to deepen the flavor of the stock and added some carrots and onion, for their earthy sweetness. I also chose to add a ham hock in the last hour of cooking for its salt and smoke, as well as whole cilantro and green onion for another layer of flavor (a trick I learned from making a chicken soup from Hot Sour Salty Sweet). Thinking of my favorite tan tan ramen I knew I wanted a sesame element but could not source any Asian sesame paste. Realizing I could simply grind my own sesame paste, I decided to use a gift my dad had recently brought back from Japan – a mixture of roasted sesame seeds and bonito flakes (katsuo furikake) for added richness. For heat and salt, I used gojuchang (another timely gift) and a little aka miso – both having the dark, roasted notes I was looking for. The pork bones I found were extremely meaty and I was happy to be able to use the meat for the soup (though ground pork would be a good substitute). Far from traditional, the addition of balsamic vinegar adds a much-needed splash of acid. Enjoy! N.B. In experimenting with this recipe, I had an unexpected surprise. After one to two days of cooking (depending on how long you take to make the basic stock) the seasonings need at least an overnight in the fridge to bloom. Eaten immediately after adding them, the stock is shockingly bland. Allowing the mixture to cool overnight (or a few days) marries them in a flavorful way – suddenly all the taste you expected is there.
gingerroot

Food52 Review: WHO: Gingerroot is an apron-wearing cook from Honolulu, Hawaii.
WHAT: A rich, brothy soup that delivers on its promises.
HOW: To make this stock, you'll need to be a bit patient. You'll also need to roast a lot of bones, simmer, skim, and strain. But it'll be worth your time, we promise.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This soup tastes as soul-satisfying as it is to make. It's a long haul -- but the kind that we love to get in our element and make, methodically. The smoky, spicy, long-simmered end result just sweetens the reward.
A&M

Serves 4-6

For Stock

  • 3 pounds meaty pork neck bones
  • 1 medium onion, rough chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, preferably organic, scrubbed and rough chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 5 whole cilantro plants, including roots, well washed
  • 5 whole scallions, including roots, well washed
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Spread pork bones out on a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, carefully flip bones with a metal spatula and tongs and add carrots and onions to pan, piling vegetables on top of the bones. Roast for 30 more minutes, until vegetables begin to char around edges and bones begin to caramelize.
  4. Transfer bones and vegetables to a large stockpot. Add 14 cups water, reserving the last ½ cup to deglaze the roasting sheet, using a metal spatula to scrape up all the browned bits before adding mixture to stockpot. Water should be covering bones by about an inch.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk tamarind paste, tomato paste, and 2 tablespoons water from the stockpot. Whisk this mixture into the stockpot.
  6. Heat stock over medium-high heat until nearly boiling, and then reduce to a slow simmer.
  7. Continue simmering (uncovered) for 2 hours.
  8. After 2 hours, using a sieve, strain out vegetables, pressing down on solids so liquids go back into stockpot. One at a time, carefully take out bones and put them on a plate near your stockpot. Using small tongs and a fork (or two forks) remove the meat. Transfer meat (should have between 3-4 cups depending on how meaty your bones were) to a container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate. Return bones, including cartilage and fat, and any liquid that may have accumulated on the plate, to stockpot. Continue simmering for 1 hour. At this point, you can allow mixture to cool slightly before refrigerating overnight. I found that transferring stock to another pot nestled in a large pan filled with ice and water helped cool down the stock more quickly in order to transfer pot to refrigerator. The next day, remove congealed fat layer from surface of stock before simmering for a final hour, adding the smoked ham hock, whole cilantro plants and scallions. Strain out hock and aromatics with a sieve, pressing down on solids to allow liquids back into stock. Repeat cooling and refrigerating step.
  9. Alternatively, you can make the stock in one day by adding the smoked hock and aromatics after three hours of simmering (skipping the extra overnight in the fridge), and continue cooking for the final hour. Cool stock enough to refrigerate overnight (see above in step 8).

Seasonings For the Soup -- Finishing the Soup

  • 1/4 cup Katsuo Furikake (Roasted Sesame Seed and Dried Bonito mix) *found in the Japanese section of an Asian market or some grocery stores
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1-2 tablespoon Gochujang (fermented Korean chili paste)*found in the Korean section of an Asian market or some grocery stores
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Aka (Red) Miso paste *found in the Japanese section of an Asian market or some grocery stores
  • -------------------------------------------------------
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 cups reserved pork meat, chopped
  • 4 cups shredded Savoy or Napa cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 14-16 ounces rice vermicelli (from an Asian market or section of the grocery store – Do not substitute gluten free rice noodles) *Feel free to substitute your favorite Asian noodle instead, such as ramen
  1. Take stock out of refrigerator and remove congealed fat layer from the surface of soup (stock should be more like jelly than liquid).
  2. Heat stock over medium-high heat until nearly boiling, and then reduce to a slow simmer.
  3. If you have them, use a suribachi (ceramic Japanese mortar with rough grooves on the inside of the bowl) and surikogi (wooden pestle) to grind katsuo furikake into a paste. If you do not, a regular mortar and pestle will also work. Add ½ t sesame oil midway through grinding to help mixture come together.
  4. When almost all of the sesame seeds are mashed, add in 1 T of gojuchang. If you know you love heat, add 2 T. As you turn the pestle around the mortar, the gojuchang will ball up around the sesame seed mixture. Whisk this into the stock and allow soup to simmer for 20 minutes. If there is still a lot of sesame-gojuchang paste stuck in the mortar, add a little bit of stock to the bowl, stir, and pour mixture into the pot.
  5. Turn off heat.
  6. Place miso paste in a small bowl and whisk in enough hot stock (2-3 T) to liquefy the miso. Pour this into stock and stir to incorporate. Allow mixture to cool and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Remove your soup from the refrigerator and slowly heat it up.
  8. In another pot, cook rice vermicelli according to directions on the package, and then drain in a colander, rinsing with some cold water to stop the noodles from cooking.
  9. In a skillet large enough to hold pork and cabbage, heat sesame oil over medium heat.
  10. Add chopped pork and stir to heat through. Add cabbage and stir to take off raw edge. Turn off heat, stir in balsamic and a pinch of salt.
  11. Portion rice noodles into soup bowls.
  12. Top each bowl with pork and cabbage.
  13. Ladle steaming broth over each bowl.
  14. Generously add chopped green onions and cilantro to each bowl and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Jump to Comments (85)

Comments (85) Questions (4)

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4 months ago Andy

Sounds great!

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4 months ago Shaarkm

Can u please tell me substitutions for pork? Like chicken or no meat at all?

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7 months ago Alejandralxndr

Where in Honolulu did you find the neck bones and ham hock?

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7 months ago gingerroot

Hi Alexandralxndr,
You can find ham hocks in the meat department of most local supermarkets. For some reason Times Kaimuki seems to have more cuts of meat than most markets, including pork neck bones. Hope you enjoy it if you try it!

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10 months ago JoyD

Oh my what a great soup. Because of limited time it took me 4 days to complete. By the 3rd day, I said never again. But when the soup was finished and I tasted it, I put the printed receipe pages into plastic sleeves to preserve it. So good, I am making it for my daughter's family when they visit at Christmas time. It will be perfect as a pick-me-up after a 6 hour flight. Thank you so much for sharing.

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10 months ago gingerroot

Hi JoyD! Thanks for your message. Ha, I was thinking the same thing on the 3rd day of figuring this recipe out. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and am tickled that you want to make it for your daughter's family. I hope they enjoy it too.

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over 1 year ago Vivi B.

We all loved it so much and had such a good time. Thank you.

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over 1 year ago Vivi B.

I made this wonderful broth this weekend and will serve the soup tonight to friends along with some other spicy offerings. I lost my beloved 14 year old dog on Friday and decided to spend the weekend patiently making this broth as a way to ease my sorrow. I have renamed this soup Solace Soup as there was something so comforting about all the steps. I imagined my sweet little guy at my feet the entire time, hoping for a bit of pork (or alot of pork!) and generally hanging around in case I wanted his company during the long and fragrant broth making. It fully brought him back to life for me - so hooray for making things that take time and and are worth the time. Like any long and loving relationship.

Peace.

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Oh Vivi B., I can't tell you how much I appreciate your kind words. My family lost a beloved dog (perhaps the best dog I've ever had)a few months ago and we still miss her so much. That making my soup was able to bring him back for you is the highest compliment. I hope you all enjoy it tonight.

Christinaconte_5535fw

over 1 year ago Christina @ Christina's Cucina

Congrats! What a lot of work, but you've created a masterpiece! Nicely done!

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Thanks so much, Christina!!

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over 1 year ago QueenOfGreen

I am SO impressed with myself for 1) finding all the ingredients in the market where everyone's yelling in a completely unfamiliar language and 2) managing to make this! I mean, that you CAME UP WITH the recipe is great and all too, I suppose. : ) It was wonderful, thank you!

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Oh QueenOfGreen, you've made my day! I'm so glad you made my soup and hope that it was worth the search for unusual ingredients and long production time.

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over 1 year ago QueenOfGreen

Will absolutely make it again!

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over 1 year ago calendargirl

This is just a glorious recipe, gingerroot, and beautifully presented. Have been on a noodle soup jag and am writing my shopping list now! Many thanks.

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

You are so welcome, calendargirl!! I'd love to hear your thoughts about it. Thanks for your kind words.

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over 1 year ago Dolcearia

I cannot locate neck bones. What should I substitute?

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Hi Dolcearia, maybe try country style ribs or spare ribs? Since I've only made it with meaty neck bones I do not have a specific cut to recommend. Any meaty cut that includes smallish bones should work. Let me know what you end up using. I'd definitely still keep an eye out for neck bones - they make amazing stock!

Moi_1

over 1 year ago QueenSashy

I love it! A big congrats.

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Thank you, QueenSashy!

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over 1 year ago Birtiledge

This sounds amazing! Will have to wait it out for southern hemisphere winter to really make the most of it. This'll be the perfect incentive to make something other than emergency "everything soup" next time I feel a cold coming on.

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Thank you Birtiledge, I hope you enjoy it!

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over 1 year ago MikeeLikesIt

i'm making your recipe this weekend while nursing a week long cold--perfect for healing the senses and soul! I'm curious tho, how big is a cilantro plant? I decided to use a medium bunch of cilantro from the market.

Mahalo!

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Hi MikeeLikesIt, I'm so glad you are making my soup! I hope it will do the trick and kick your cold. This kind of soup is my go-to panacea when I'm feeling under the weather. To answer your question about cilantro, I get whole cilantro in my CSA box - each plant with roots has about 6-10 stems. A medium bunch sounds like a reasonable approximation. Actually, I think Amanda & Merrill's photo slide show includes a photo of a cilantro plant with roots.
Hope you enjoy the soup!

Linda_cooking

over 1 year ago Beautiful, Memorable Food

This looks epic! I will have to add it to my noodle soup repertoire.

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Thank you, Beautiful, Memorable Food, I'd love to know what you think if you make it.

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over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Hooray Jenny!!! This looks simply unbelievable! I want to slurp it all right up!

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Thanks so much, Em! I appreciate your enthusiasm. :)

Clambake

over 1 year ago ChristineQ

You got me at tamarind! This soup looks amazing and I comend you on your ingenuity in your creation of this recipe. My Mom has been going through chemo, I've been making her soup nearly every week since she started, next week is her 12th and final treatment. I'm making your soup which will also be her celebration soup. I'm so looking forward to both making and trying your soup. Congratulations!

Clambake

over 1 year ago ChristineQ

Commend you. Sent from my phone.

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Oh ChristineQ! You've just about made my day. Best wishes to your mom - I'll be thinking of you both next week. I hope you both enjoy this and I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.

Clambake

over 1 year ago ChristineQ

I made the soup for our celebration and it was the perfect soul warming soup. Really outstanding. Thank you for your fabulous creation!

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

I'm so happy to hear that! Thank you for letting me know. Now you've really made my day.

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over 1 year ago darksideofthespoon

This looks divine! I can't wait to try this.

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Thank you, darksideofthespoon! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

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over 1 year ago Madhuja

This soup sounds AMAZING! Have to make that trip to the Asian market soon! :)

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Thank you, Madhuja! I especially love the gojuchang - to my palate it adds such a rich and almost smoky flavor to this soup.

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over 1 year ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This looks amazing gingerroot!! Many congrats. Tough week for voting when two of my favorite people on Food52 have recipes in the finals!! Good luck to both of you :-)

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Thanks so much, S! I am humbled and thrilled to be in such good company.

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over 1 year ago Bevi

Congrats GR!

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Thanks, Bevi!