I used to think that I didn’t much like fry-ups, save for that one supremely healing one in a proper greasy spoon the morning after I was dumped in a bar (via text, the two-timer). But then I went to Rye and understood the beauty of a fry-up: if every individual component is decent quality, it’s a jumble of lovely things in a plate. It’s also why I like noodle soups, lots of delicious bits and pieces in a bowl and a smooth broth to help it all go down.
So why not put the two together? I just picked the things I liked most from a fry-up and threw them onto some noodle soup.
It’s too much of a faff for me to co-ordinate a perfect fried egg and unsoggy noodle soup, so I’ve chosen a medium boiled egg (known in Thai as bael sap eggs, ไข่ต้มยางมะตูม, because of their just-runny texture), which can also be made in advance and stored in the fridge for when the need arises.
On the topic of mushrooms: I don’t much enjoy lightly cooked mushrooms. What I like are really toasty mushrooms where you’ve made them caramelised and savoury with fearlessly high heat. You may think that’s overcooked, so do them how you like.
For bacon, that’s your choice entirely. I like to get the dry-cured stuff when I can because it doesn’t shrink so dramatically and browns nicely.
Mustard spinach goes well with bacon. I don’t blame you at all if you can’t also get hold of this–the only reason I got to taste some outside of my parents’ vegetable bed is due to the wonderful Kentish Town Vegbox (I’ve written about them before here). Try another peppery leaf in its place. I’ve found that cooking the greens alone preserves their bracing flavour and keeps it in the leaves, so I turn the damp leaves about in a dry pan rather than blanching them. Boil them if you prefer.
As with all noodle soups, this multi-part undertaking is less stressful if you make components in advance–it’s actually super off-putting to me to even think about making the whole thing from scratch for lunch in one day, and I love noodles with terrifying ferocity. So, I’m assuming you’ve already got stock and fried garlic oil (or whatever oil you’d like to toss the noodles in), while the medium boiled eggs can be cooked, peeled, and kept well chilled for at least a day.
It’s also really recommended to set up your work station–have bowls ready, portion things up, put all the toppings on one plate, etc., for straightforward assembly. Leisurely pootling about means soggy noodles. (But you may enjoy that; who’s to say?)
Ugh, goodness, I want this now. Make it and eat it for me, won’t you?
EGG, BACON, & MUSHROOM NOODLE SOUP
1 generous bowl, a complete meal. Adjust this however you like. The beauty of noodle soup is that each individual bowl is customisable.
Spot of vegetable oil for cooking
5 – 10 medium button mushrooms, wiped clean, thickly sliced
1 – 2 slices bacon in thick strips
250ml your favourite stock
Handful of mustard spinach, washed & left damp
150g fresh noodles, any kind, or 100g dried noodles
1 – 2 tsp fried garlic oil (recipe here) for tossing/drizzling
1 medium boiled egg (recipe below)
further toppings & seasonings:
1 small whole spring onion, finely chopped
1 – 3 bird’s eye chillies, chopped
powdered white pepper, white vinegar, fish sauce/salt, sugar, ground dried chillies to taste
Brown the mushrooms. Thinly coat the base of a medium frying pan with the vegetable oil and let it get really hot. Add all the mushrooms at once, let them cook without moving for a good minute or so until they start browning. Flip them a few times so each side becomes a deep brown, adjusting the heat if it gets too smokey (too high) or the mushrooms too sweaty (too low). Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Heat the pan again with just a spot of oil this time and brown the bacon pieces well. Add to the browned mushrooms.
Splash (or melt in) a little of the stock into the mushroom/bacon pan, stirring well to dissolve stuck bits. Pour this deglazing liquid and all the rest of the stock into a small saucepan. Bring up to a simmer, cover and keep quietly bubbling away while you cook the mustard spinach and noodles.
Put the still-damp mustard spinach leaves into the now mostly clean mushroom-bacon pan and wilt them over a medium-low heat. Set aside with the bacon and mushrooms.
Bring a medium pot full of water (unsalted!) to a rolling boil. Add the noodles, cooking according to package instructions. For fresh egg noodles it’s just a minute or two. Taste a bit to check, though–some people love snappy noodles, others prefer silkier; just know there’s mere minutes between each stage.
Drain and rinse noodles in running hot water, washing actively with chopsticks/hands/noodle claw. Press well to squeeze out all water and transfer to your noodle bowl. Immediately toss with 1 – 2 tsp fried garlic oil and arrange the mushroom, bacon, mustard spinach, and egg on top. Dust with white pepper.
Ensure the stock is nice and hot, then pour it over the noodles. Taste the soup, add fish sauce/salt, vinegar, sugar, chilli powder to taste. Sprinkle over spring onions and chilli, if liked, and eat immediately.
MEDIUM BOILED EGGS
Method is from SheSimmers
Super easy and reliable. I used this to make 3 eggs; this will likely work with any amount. Cooked eggs keep in the fridge for at least a day.
Eggs, preferably slightly old
Pinch of salt
Take eggs out of fridge and let them sit while you bring a pot full of lightly salted water to a rolling boil (should be capacious & full enough to contain and cover the eggs).
Meanwhile, prepare a cold water bath for the eggs–could be a bowl or sinkful of cold water. Add ice cubes necessary.
Once at a rolling boil, carefully lower eggs into the water using a spoon or similar to prevent cracking. Adjust heat so the rolling boil remains. Boil them for exactly 7 minutes. Timing is crucial. Give a gentle stir occasionally to help centre the egg yolks.
When done, immediately drain and lower each egg into the cold water bath. Let them cool completely.
Gently crack the shell all over and peel under cold running water. Use or chill immediately.