Miyazaki’s animated film, Ponyo, tells the story of a fish who wants to be a little girl, but in the process ends up turning the world back the Cambrian era. It’s quite surreal and charming. As Ponyo discovers what its like to be a little girl, she becomes fascinated with ham. My favourite scene is when Ponyo is given a bowl of noodles. The mother covers them with hot water and tells them to be patient till the noodles and heated through. After three minutes, she makes them close their eyes. When they open them and take off the lid – as if by magic – the bowl of noodles is full of wonderful ham, eggs and vegetables.
I think one of my favourite dinner time dishes is Pho. It’s a Vietnamese noodle soup and the most amazing deeply complex broth made from ginger, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, beef stock and lime. It’s then topped with succulent strips of beef and bright green coriander and other herbs. You can get great Pho from Pho Cafe in Farringdon in London. I’ve made this hundreds of times, so thought I’d make a different type of Pho noodle soup with a chicken broth base – inspired by Ponyo.
Ponyo Noodle Recipe
For the broth…
2 pints of chicken stock
1/2 inch of ginger
a tip of a chilli
a squeeze of lime
a tbsp of dark soy sauce
a tbsp of Thai fish sauce
a strip of kombu seaweed
Put all the ginger, peppercorns, shallot and chilli in a pan and dry fry for 30 seconds. Then add in your chicken stock and kombu. Let this simmer for 45 minutes, then add in your soy sauce and fish sauce.
For the topping…
onions and coriander
a boiled egg
You can pre-cook your broccoli and mushrooms or let them cook in the hot broth.
I’ve used straight to wok medium noodles, but prefer big fat flappy udon noodles for this. Let your noodles heat up and separate in the broth before adding your toppings.
I wish I had some great big clay noodle bowls to put this in…
Make sure you drizzle some soy sauce over the boiled eggs. Delicious.
I think Ponyo would approve.