kunkhen's torn noodle soup

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Servs: 10

Fermented black beans are an essential ingredient to this soup. I couldn't find exactly the kind of beans Kunkhen used, so I settled for a prepared black bean garlic sauce, which was perfect and gave the soup the same earthy taste that Kunkhen's had. I recommend that if you are using black beans you begin by adding 5 teaspoons, then taste the soup for seasoning. If it needs more flavor, add more black beans. The tablespoon of black bean garlic sauce was perfect to season this amount of soup.

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  • add   1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • add   5 shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup hot water
  • add   1 carrot, cut in half lengthwise, then cut in thin half-moon shapes
  • add   1 2-inch length fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • add   2 heads butter lettuce, rinsed, leaves scissor cut in wide strips
  • add   2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • add   2 ounces black radish, peeled and diced4 tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
  • add   3/4 cup water<B>For the soup:</b>
  • add   3 scallions, trimmed and minced
  • add   2 cups all-purpose flour
  • add   Sea salt to taste<B>For the garnish:</b>
  • add   <B>For the noodles:</b>
  • add   1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, firmly packed
  • add   1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • add   8 cups water
  • add   About 5 teaspoons fermented black beans, or to taste, (or 1 heapingtablespoon prepared black bean garlic sauce - see head note)
  • add   1 1/2pounds fresh spinach, trimmed and rinsed
  • add   2 medium onions, thinly sliced


  1. 1. Place the flour in a medium bowl and make a well. Add the water and the
  2. salt and mix, then gradually mix in the flour. Turn out the dough onto a
  3. lightly floured surface and knead it until it is slightly elastic and
  4. smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover it with a bowl and let it sit. The noodle
  5. dough can be prepared up to 2 hours before making the soup.
  6. 2. To make the soup, place the oil, onions and garlic in a large stockpot
  7. over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are
  8. translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the ginger, the carrots, and the radish
  9. and stir, then add the tomatoes and stir. Cook, stirring, until the
  10. tomatoes have lost their shape, about 8 minutes.
  11. 3. Drain the mushrooms, saving the liquid they soaked in, and cut them in
  12. quarters. Add the black beans, or the black bean puree to the vegetables in
  13. the stock pot, stir, then add the water and the mushroom soaking liquid.
  14. Stir, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the liquid is
  15. simmering and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. Add
  16. the spinach and the lettuces. You may need to add the greens gradually,
  17. pushing them down into the liquid as they wilt. Cook until all the greens
  18. are wilted.
  19. 4. While the greens are cooking, divide the noodle dough in quarters. Roll
  20. the quarters into 1-inch thick ropes, then take one rope and holding it at
  21. the end between your thumbs and forefingers, gradually move along the rope
  22. of dough as you continue to pinch the dough with your fingers, so that you
  23. end up with a band of dough that is about 2-inches wide. Repeat the process
  24. on the same band of dough, then repeat with all the ropes of dough so that
  25. you have four, flat bands. They will be irregular, but that is fine. When
  26. the greens are thoroughly cooked, tear 1-inch pieces off the first band of
  27. dough and throw them into the soup. Stir, then continue with the remaining
  28. band of dough. The dough is fairly soft, but it tears quite well,
  29. resulting in noodles that are irregularly shaped, just as Kunkhen's were.
  30. 5. Cook the noodles just until they are tender, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring
  31. the soup so they cook evenly. Serve the soup immediately, with the
  32. garnishes alongside.

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