This noodle soup is one of my favorite noodle dishes. It is very simple to make but it requires a little more effort but it is worth the wait. Well, to make life easier, the fish cakes are available from any Chinatown fresh food market if you are living near one. If not you have to make your own from scratched. The recipe below is very easy and require not too much of your time. Here goes…
Fish paste for fish cake slices
2 pounds fish meat (Spanish Mackerel/cod/haddock). Purchase the fish fillets with skin on.
3 teaspoons tapioca flour
1½ teaspoons raw sugar
¾ teaspoons ground white pepper
3 teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon sesame oil
1/3 cup cold ice water
A small bowl of salted water (3 cups)
3 cups canola/vegetable/corn oil for deep-frying
Scrape the meat from the fish fillet with a stainless steel spoon. Discard the skin after all the meat is completely out. Gently mince the fish meat with a French knife or a cleaver or a food processor until coarsely smooth. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
Place the tapioca flour, raw sugar, ground white pepper, salt, sesame oil and ice water in a mixing bowl. Combine well.
Gradually add the tapioca mixture into the minced fish meat and stir until the ingredients all combine together.
Working with your hand gently slap the fish mixture against the side of the mixing bowl several times until the mixture is totally well incorporated and your hand feels a little sticky, about 3-4 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a 2 racks Chinese steamer with water over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Line one of the racks with parchment paper.
Now, wet your both your hands in the salted water, scoop up an even portion of the fish mixture and shape each into a long round shape. Place the uncooked fish cakes into the lined rack. Steam the fish cakes for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat canola/vegetable/corn oil over medium-high heat and when it is heat, drop the steam cooked fish cakes into the hot oil and deep-fry until golden brown. Set to cool and then slice.
Broth for the Noodle Soup
12 cups water
1 cup dried anchovies
¼ cup Tang Chay (Preserved vegetables)
Flat rice noodles (It is available at Chinese grocer fresh or if you are unable to get, then use dried noodles and soak them with boil hot water and let it sit for until cool. Drain well.)
Sliced green onions
Fried garlic oil
Ground white pepper to your taste
Light Soy Sauce to your taste
Cut a good size muslin cloth square. Place the dried anchovies and Tang Chay in the center of the square. Close and tie with a kitchen twine securely.
Meanwhile, place the water in a soup pot over medium-high water and bring it to a boil. Add the anchovy pouch into the boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Bring down the heat to medium-slow and let it simmer for another 15-18 minutes.
Fill each medium soup bowl with beansprouts, cooked flat rice noodles, fish cake slices, sliced green onion, light soy sauce, ground white pepper, fried garlic oil and ladle the hot anchovy broth. Serve hot.