Monday, July 25, 2011

Quick Tenthuk

So, I'm in Taiwan with a terrible cold right now. As evening rolled around, and I was completely exhausted and coughing, I had the question of did I want to go out and get dinner, which would involve turning myself into a functional, multilingual human being, go outside into the terrible heat, walk at least half a mile to go to a restaurant, or was I going to cook at home. Well, I wanted something for a cold, so I decided to make my go-to comfort food: Tenthuk.

Now, I have already posted the most traditional tenthuk recipe that I know, but that recipe takes a long time to prepare. It's very rare that your average person outside of Tibet takes the long time involved to make that meal. So the following recipe can be made, start to finish, in less than half an hour. Which is roughly the amount of time I was able to remain conscious. There are no photographs because I was having enough trouble figuring out whether I had added soy sauce or chinese black vinegar to the soup. Fortunately, it was soy sauce.

I made this for one (myself), ate two midsized bowls of it and the rest (I'd say about 1/3 of what I made) is in the fridge, so I would say I made the right amount. As a result, the amounts will seem like very little.


2 cups Flour
Vegetable oil
1/4 lb of beef, cut thin, one inch pieces.
half a medium sized tomato, chopped
1/4 of a large white onion (or one half of a small white onion!) chopped
1/4 inch of ginger root, finely minced (I went overboard with the ginger. It was delicious)
1 clove of garlic, crushed and minced
2-3 sprigs of scallions, roughly chopped
handful of greens of your choice (optional. I didn't have any. I recommend baby spinach)
soy sauce to taste
salt to taste
chili powder to taste

First, make your dough. Like a lot of the dough described previously, mix flour and water until you get a stretchy, but not terribly sticky ball of dough. You will need to knead it and experiment with how much flour and water. I never get it right on the first try. When you have this big ball of dough, separate it into small balls, about half the size of a fist. pour a little bit of oil over these and roll them around until they are lightly coated in oil. Cover this. If you haven't chopped your meats and vegetables and stuff, you might as well do it now. The dough does well to wait a bit, but it's not too necessary.

Take a pot and put it on the stove, heat up a bit of oil and start to fry up your meat. Stir this around a bit and add a sprinkling of salt. When the oil has picked up some meaty flavor, dump in the garlic, ginger, onions and tomatos. When I don't feel ready to fall down, I add the garlic and ginger first and fry that a bit before adding the others. Give me a break, I am sick and this is faster.

When the tomatos and onions have reduced, add water until you have about 2/3 your desired soup volume. Now add salt and soy to taste.

While this is boiling up you can add chili, if you like, or any other spices you want. Although my version is pretty traditional, don't hesitate to tweak it to your personal tastes!

When the soup is boiling and flavored as you like it, take a dough ball and roll it into a snake-like coil.

For this next step, you may need to add some oil to your fingertips. Take the dough coil and pinch it between your fingers to make a long tape, around 1 inch wide, and 1/8 of an inch thick or even thinner. Tear pieces off (about 1 inch by 1 inch) into the boiling soup. Stir occasionally. Continue until all the dough is gone, or until you have enough noodles. You can freeze the remaining dough for later.

The dough will need only a couple of minutes to boil. Remember to stir occasionally so the noodles don't stick.

As this is coming to a boil, toss in the scallions and greens. They should take only a minute to cook. When the greens have reduced or the scallions have slightly changed color, your soup is ready to eat! Enjoy!

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