Sunday, January 24, 2016

Soup Glorious Soup Take II - Thenthuk Soup

I ain't gonna lie, boys and girls. I am not making this soup 'authentically.' If you were to make Thenthuk soup authentically, it would require a 'pulled dough' (which I think is what Thenthuk actually means.) That's a fancy blogger thing to do, and it's not something that most of you are about to do, and then you would skip this soup, and that would be a shame, because this is a good soup. So unless you are one of my super-foodie friends reading this, then, yes, fine, go ahead and make pulled dough. For the rest of you, keep reading.

Spouse (as we were making the soup): what's pulled dough?  
Me: it's like, dough. That you pull. Like this (pretends to stretch a dough in the air.) And then you drop it into the soup. But that's too much work, and I'm hungry .

This is DH. DH has soup when it's cold out. DH is smart. DH is not an annoying internet meme.

This is a great soup to make if you have barely anything in the house other than a tired tomato and some tired greens. When it's cold and wet out (like today. And tomorrow. And the next day.) and you can't be bothered to go shopping for actual food, and you only have bits and bobs around the house - this is the soup you make. 

Thenthuk soup is what happens when chicken soup and minestrone soup meet and have an illegitimate love child in Tibet. I make it with chicken broth and noodles, but it can easily be lent to vegetarian and gluten free. And I play with it and make it ever so slightly different every time, and I encourage you to do the same.

Now. In order to make this soup we need to start talking about the kitchen as a whole. My kitchen, and probably your kitchen too, does not exist in a vacuum. What I mean is, there be this thing called leftovers. And no cookbook that I have ever found seems to take that into account (with the possible exception of Tamar Adler's Everlasting Meal, but that's more cookprose than cookbook.) Which is a shame. Great things happen from leftovers - tiramisu, bread pudding, fried rice, sourdough - and that's just off the top of my head. 

So the beginning of this soup happens when you have leftover chicken/duck/goose/beef bones around the house.

Once upon a time, people appreciated bones and realized you could make great things, like soup broth, from them. I think it's because nobody used to have any money. Nowadays. . . people buy broth. Feh, I say, feh. Stop that. It's expensive and they put additives in to make it taste good.

Here's what to do instead. Next time you roast a chicken, or a goose, or a duck - save the bones. Either put them in the freezer and save them for a rainy day in which you are ready to make soup; or seize the day, make stock immediately, freeze it, and defrost on a day like today.

Take the bones. Stick them in a pot with onion skins, garlic, carrot tops, celery tops, bay leafs, maybe a pepper clove, salt, and water. If you don't have all those ingredients, don't worry about it. Be creative. Use what you do have. I've made pretty good stock from just a tiny bit of onion, bones, salt and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil and cook, for at least half an hour. Taste. Then either proceed to soup immediately or freeze that and wait for that day you need soup broth.

The other things that you will need for this soup are probably lying around in your pantry. Change around as needed. I will tell you how I did it, and you can do with it what you will.

Things you sort of need:
  • onion
  • tired tomato or two
  • hard vegetables - like radish, or kohlrabi, or daikon. Carrots would probably will work, as would beansprouts or celery. 
  • green vegetables - spinach/bok choy/cabbage/kale/etc. Or not if you don't have it.
  • soy sauce
  • broth
  • noodles

  1. If you have broth, defrost it now. If you only have the bare bones, start your broth now, and don't worry, it will be ready in time for there to be soup.
  2. Start water boiling for tomatoes. You're going to want to peel the tomatoes, and the easiest way to do that is to "score" them - cut a very thin cross in the skin, just barely breaking the skin. Then plonk it into the boiling water for about 30 seconds, until the skin starts peeling back, like a bad sunburn. Remove with slotted spoon and let cool. Remove the water from the pot, and either throw it away or be thrifty and reuse it. Maybe even in this soup.
  3. Meanwhile, take some oil or even shmaltz if you're lucky. Heat it in the very same pot you just used for the tomatoes (Make sure to dry the pot first or it will sizzle and spit and burn you. Not that I speak from experience or anything.) Cut and fry up the onion. Add the hard vegetables - this time I used a single kohlrabi. Let it cook and sizzle for a bit - maybe 5 minutes. 
  4. Keep an eye on that broth. Taste. Add salt if needed. Don't if it doesn't.
  5. Chop up and add the tomato to your onion-vegetable pot. Cook a few minutes more. Add your broth if it's ready, and a bit of soy sauce. A drizzle or two will do. Cook until it has become soup. This should only take a few more minutes, but it's forgiving.
  6. About 5 minutes before you are ready to eat, add the noodles and cook them according to noodle directions. Then, finally, a minute before eating, add the green stuff (I used strange green things that I got in our CSA) and let cook only a little, until slightly wilted, not sad.
Your result will taste like an Asian minestrone. Please let me know if you pull those noodles - I never have and I am intrigued, but also lazy. Oh, and if you like, some recipes say you can add chopped meat. But don't take my word for it - ask google. 

1 comment:

  1. This post is included in A Jewish Grandmother : Quickie Kosher Cooking Carnival. Take a look, and also see the other posts, comment and share, thanks.