Star anise, cinnamon, chili, ginger and garlic makes a fragrant broth for cooking chicken or seafood. The smell was spicy, warm and seductive. After the solid ingredients were gone, there was extra broth left over. It was strained and placed it a freezer for a future dish of steamed or braised fish.
Asian Shrimp and Noodle Soup
4-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. peanut oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise, left whole
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. Asian chili garlic paste
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock/broth
1/8 cup sherry 1 tbsp. honey
1/2 cup water
1/4 to 1/2 cup soy sauce, low sodium if possible
1 lb. of shrimp, cleaned and deveined*
5 baby bok choy
8 to 10 oz. Asian soba wheat or white noodles
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1. Heat peanut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add cinnamon sticks and star anise. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
2. Add ginger, garlic and chili paste. Stir until fragrant, about 30 minutes.
3. Add chicken stock, sherry, honey, water and soy sauce. Bring stock to a boil. Cover and reduce to a low heat. Let soup simmer for at least 30 minutes to one hour.
4. Meanwhile, clean bok choy by cutting and discarding the stem. Then cut in half length-wise and cut into quarters. Very roughly chop into smaller pieces (no more than 3 chops). Rinse bok choy three times to remove dirt. Place aside.
5. Prepare noodles according the package’s directions, but cook noodles al dente. When finished, run cool water over noodles to stop them from cooking and place aside.
6. After a half or one hour, add bok choy to the broth. After three minutes, add shrimp and spring onions. The bok choy and the shrimp should cook a total of 5 minutes or until shrimp is thoroughly cooked. Do not overcook the ingredients.
7. Serving the soup: Place noodles in bowls. Ladle soup over noodles. Garnish with green onions.
*Normally, baby shrimp is preferred for its sweeter taste. The larger, meatier shrimp is a better choice for this recipe, because it’s a better contrast to the complex flavors. Whenever possible, fresh and local shrimp that has never been frozen is the best choice. And, wild caught seafood has more flavor than farm raised.