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28/06/2020 - 07:21

Refresh your taste buds with yellowtail scad thick noodle soup

Summertime is when yellowtail scad becomes most abundant and widely sold in the coastal afternoon markets. Yellowtail scads harvested nearshore stay extremely fresh with bulging and shiny eyes, good for any recipes but the Hue-style thick noodle soup is the best of all.

In the yellowtail scad season, the fish brings out a rich sea flavor in the family meals. Yellowtail scad only needs simple preparation but makes several excellent dishes with refreshing tastes: sour soup, sweet leaf soup, deep-fried, tomato sauced, or simmered. Yet the best is to enjoy a bowl of yellowtail scad thick noodle soup made from tapioca starch or rice flour.

Just a few days ago I saw a bunch of fresh yellowtail scads in the local wet market and thought of my friend who spoke highly of her Hue-style yellow scad thick noodle soup, so I was curious to try out the recipe. The fish should be first cleaned, boiled, and filleted. Because yellowtail scad isn’t so bony, fileting is quite easy. The fish gives fatty and aromatic flesh.

To enhance the taste and for the fish to absorb the marinade, after the fish is boned, stir fry it with spices. Panfry some sliced shallot to arouse smell and add the fish. Toss gently and season to taste with basic spices such as fish sauce, seasoning powder, and MSG. Simmer the fish under medium heat and gently stir so as not to break up the filets.

After simmering until all seasonings are well absorbed, add water and bring to a boil, then add the noodles. To make the noodle strips more chewy and tasty, it is best to blanch the noodles before cooking.

Only fresh yellowtail scads make a perfect pot of soup. A fresh yellowtail scad has a firm and bulging body along with bright red gills. When preparing the fish, clean the intestines inside out to get rid of the fishy odor.

My friend often cuts open the whole fish belly to gut it and scrape the black film inside. As a result, the fish is clean, mildly scented, and completely free of the fishy smell.

After a while, I managed to finish my pot of yellowtail scad thick noodle soup. My first try with this Hue style cuisine was successful beyond expectations. Just three people of my family finished the whole pot in a snap, and everyone was absolutely in love.

The buttery taste of each noodle strip mixed with the savory flavor of fresh fish pleases everyone’s palate. A spoonful of the soup sided with a piece of fresh, hot chili will enrich your “Hue” experience. What’s more, a pinch of finely ground black pepper and a few aromatic basil stems will bring your yellowtail scad noodle soup bowl even closer to Hue authentic taste.

If you are wondering what to have for these burning summer days, then the appetizing yellowtail scad thick noodle soup may offer a refreshing taste for your family.

Story and photo: Thao Vy

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