Friday, 30 September 2011


It has been unseasonably warm and sunny the past few days. Thank God for that. Of course, when the weather is like this, the first thing that comes to mind is firing up the barbie. Before you say not again, may I say that this is actually a comforting bowl of hot noodle soup. This is my take on the much loved Vietnamese noodle soup with flat rice noodles and aromatic chargrilled pork. 

I've recently seen Luke Nguyen's travel and cooking series on Veitnam and was so smitten by the whole country. Not only is the place endowed with natural beauty, they are also blessed with an abundant source of delicious, wholesome food. I was amazed at how they put so much love in their cooking. They treat their cooking as a true art form. Even street vendors cook each dish in the proper traditional way. Their food is so untouched by commercialism. 

I know that my dish would not stand up to the real Vietnamese noodle soup because their stock cooks for hours and hours. The stock has to be rich and well seasoned. I used pork neck bones and beef tendons and simmered them for a couple of hours to make a very tasty soup. Both can be bought frozen at the Oriental supermarket. I would have used beef bones but that is very difficult to find here. Onions and ginger were included to flavour the stock. A long simmer would reward you with the best soup ever.

I have used pork shoulder steaks for this recipe because that has a marbling of fat which makes the meat succulent and tender after grilling. A handful of herbs and crispy onions makes this dish to die for. Trust me.

The grilled pork can also be eaten on cold rice noodles  as bún thịt nướng. Follow my bun cha recipe but replace the pork patties with the chargrilled pork. This will also be nice in baguettes, banh mi style, with carrot and radish pickles. Of course, it can simply be eaten with rice.

Yield: 4 servings.

Ingredients for the chargrilled pork:

4 pork shoulder steaks
1 stalk lemon grass, chopped 
3 slices of ginger, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 red finger chilli, chopped
2 tbsps. light soy sauce
2 tbsps. fish sauce
3 tbsps. brown sugar
juice of half a lime or lemon

For the noodle soup:

300 gms. flat rice noodles
6 c. rich stock
coriander (cilantro)
spring onions
crispy onions
lime or lemon wedges


Pound the chopped lemon grass in a mortar and pestle. Mix with the rest of the marinade ingredients for the chargrilled pork. Cut diagonal slashes on the surface of the pork steaks. Cut diagonal slashes on the other side going the opposite direction. Lay on a glass or plastic container and pour in the marinade. Leave for at least an hour. Chargrill on medium low heat for ten minutes on each side or until done. Let rest for ten minutes before cutting into strips.

To assemble the noodle soup:

Cook the rice noodles until al dente. This will cook further when you pour in the soup. Divide into four bowls. Pour in some of the soup (about 1 1/2 cups per person). Top with chargrilled pork, spring onions, mint and coriander. Tuck in a wedge of lime or lemon and sprinkle with the crispy onions. Serve at once with the dipping sauce.

Ingredients for the dipping sauce:

1/4 c. white wine vinegar
juice of 2 limes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red finger chilli, chopped
1/4 c. of sugar
1/4 c. fish sauce

Combine all the ingredients together and serve with the noodle soup.

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Please support Adora's Box by making your and (use the code STMMMS55174) purchases from this site. Click on their respective banners to proceed to their websites. It will not cost you a single cent more but will help sustain this blog. Thank you.

You might also like
Red Braised Beef
Pho Bo
Grilled Pork Belly Rashers (Inihaw na Liempo)
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Tuesday, 27 September 2011


Paella has a wow factor in its presentation.  All the seafood arranged nicely on top of the rice never fails to impress and evoke anticipation of the tastes soon to be savoured. A well cooked paella never disappoints. Both the richly flavoured rice and the assortment of seafood provides well over the expected gustatory delights.

This is an easy and fool proof recipe that will give you a perfect paella each time. All the ingredients contribute to the success of the dish, so choose them well. You can vary the assortment and quantity of the toppings depending on what you like or what you have on hand. It is like a pizza with rice as the base. 

You can throw in anything you like. The only thing you have to measure exactly is the rice and the liquid. The ratio is 1 cup of rice to  1 1/4 cup of stock. This will result to a perfectly cooked rice. A good quality stock is vital to this dish as it provides the flavour for the rice. 

I used a good homemade fish stock using fish bones and all the trimmings from the squid plus bouquet garni, onions and carrots. You can also add prawn shells, if you have any. I always save the shells from my prawns when I peel them and stash them in the freezer. I used long grain rice instead of paella rice because I find that it absorbs all the flavours better and cooks more evenly. I pre-cooked the dish on the stove top and finished it in the oven. 

This recipe will happily serve 6-8 people. 


olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 onion, cubed
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 c. uncooked long grain rice
2 1/2 c. rich fish stock
1 pinch of saffron or 1 tsp. kasubha (wild saffron)
1/2 sweet red pepper, cut into squares
12-20 whole shell on prawns
5 whole squids cut into 1" wide pieces
20 mussels
1/2 c. frozen green peas, blanched


Pre-heat the oven to 350º F/ 180º C. 

Boil some of the stock and use to parboil the mussels just until it opens. Drain. Add the mussel liquid back to the stock. This is the exact amount (2 1/2 c.) you'll need to cook the rice. 

Wash the rice and drain. 

In a clean paella pan or ordinary pan, fry the prawns in 3 tbsps. of olive oil on medium high heat until the shells become a bright orange colour. Transfer to a dish and set aside. 

Fry the squid in the same pan briefly just until it turns opaque. Transfer to a dish. 

In the same pan, saute the garlic for 2 minutes. Add the rice, tomato paste and the saffron and stir well until the grains are coated with oil. 

Add the sweet pepper and the 2 1/2 c. of stock. Stir, then bring to a boil. Taste and adjust the seasonings. The liquid should be a little over salted as it will be absorbed by the rice. Cover tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. 

After 15 minutes, uncover, add the green peas, stir and fluff up the rice. Arrange the prawns, squid and mussels decoratively on top. If there are juices from the seafood, drizzle them over the rice. Cover with the foil again and bake for another 5 minutes. 

Take out of the oven, keeping the cover on, and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with lemon wedges.

All rights reserved ©Adora's Box Copyright 2011. 

Please support Adora's Box by making your and (use the code STMMMS55174) purchases from this site. Click on their respective banners to proceed to their websites. It will not cost you a single cent more but will help sustain this blog. Thank you.

You might also like
Arroz con Pollo y Chorizo
Catalan Fideua
Steamed Prawns on Egg Fried Fried Rice
Cajun Jambalaya
Thanks for dropping by. It would be nice if we could meet up on FACEBOOK or TWITTER

Friday, 23 September 2011


The Kulinarya Cooking Club's theme for the month is red, white, blue and yellow. These are the colours of the Philippine flag. We are paying homage not only to our flag and country but also to our national heroes. This month's great hosts are Ray of Wok with Ray, Oggi of I Can Do That, Chef Theodore Salonga of Chef by Day and Boyet of Reel and Grill.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Among Orientals, tokens of food are exchanged on any day for no reason. It is not the muffin or cookie kind but usually are homecooked food meant for a family meal. 

A dear Chinese neighbour gave me some choi sum pancakes one time and I immediately fell in love with it. She graciously shared her brief instructions after which she gave me a bunch of fresh choi sum. They supply Asian vegetables to the restaurants so they always had a few extras at home

Friday, 16 September 2011


It is quite ironic that I never got to know the cuisines of the other Southeast Asian countries until I moved away from the Philippnes and came to London. Being a melting pot of different cultures, the food here is so varied and interesting. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


The previous weekend, we took a trip to London's Camden Market, just a few minutes away from our house. It is a very quirky, fun market and I thought you guys might be entertained by some photos. 

Friday, 9 September 2011


In line with the trend for sweets to be spiked with salt, I am sharing a recipe for a fusion Asian dessert that is just that. 

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


The children go back to school this week. After thoroughly chilling out and enjoying the summer break, I have to snap back into the school time routine. 

Weeknight meals on school days tends to be rushed in our household. I bet it is in most. I have to quickly cook after the school run, serve the kids dinner (technically it's called "tea" because we eat very early), then they have to do their school work. The dinner has to be planned so that I know exactly what to do and can get on with things pretty quickly. When my children were young they had their fair share of frozen crumbed food. Thankfully, their tastes have now matured (a little) and prefer real home made crumbed food, if they were to have it. 

Friday, 2 September 2011


How much barbecued food do we get through in a barbecue season? No one knows for sure. Even here in sun deprived London, we still do it no matter what. Sometimes though, things get out of hand.