One of the best memories I have of Singapore is the food markets and stalls. I love the fact that you can sit in the market and try all the different foods that are on offer. The prawn noodle soup I tasted there was something else. I wasn’t quite sure how they made it, but after a few trials I think this is pretty close. it tastes good anyway.
Prawn noodle soup (Serves 4 as a starter)
For the stock
500g raw Atlantic prawns in shell, plus extra shells and heads (see below)
A generous drizzle of sunflower oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 litre water
For the soup
1 tbsp sunflower oil
200g piece of smoked streaky bacon, cut into lardons
4 spring onions, trimmed, white and green parts separated and sliced
2 red chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
5 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp white wine
300g rice noodles
16 raw tiger prawns, shelled and deveined (keep shells and heads for stock)
2 pak choi, sliced into strips
70g bean sprouts
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the prawn stock, heat the oil in a sauté pan, then add the garlic and cook until golden.
Add the prawns (plus the extra shells and heads from the shelled prawns for the soup) and cook until they turn orangey red all over.
Crush the prawns with the back of a spoon, then add the water and bring to the boil.
Add a good pinch of salt and simmer for 25 minutes.
Strain through a sieve into a bowl and set aside.
To make the soup, heat the oil in a large saucepan.
When it is hot, add the bacon, white spring onions, chillies and garlic.
Sweat for 5 minutes, stirring every so often.
Now pour in the prawn stock, bring to a simmer and cook gently for 10 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce and wine.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Tip the rice noodles into the pan and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the prawns and pak choi and cook for a further 2 minutes until they turn orangey red.
Finally, add the green spring onions and bean sprouts.
To serve, ladle the soup into 4 warmed bowls, dividing the noodles, beansprouts, pak choi and prawns evenly.
Serve at once.
Recipe from Everyday Seafood by Nathan Outlaw (R415 on Loot.co.za). Click here to purchase
Photography by David Loftus