Red mullet, seaweed and prawn ‘rockpool’ soup with noodles
This dish is all about the tasty broth – nutritious yet light, so go to the trouble of turning the red mullet bones and prawn shells into a stock for the base for your soup. The soup can be made any time and frozen until needed.
1 x quantity fish stock (see recipe, below) or 1-1.25 litres shop-bought fish stock 2 stems lemongrass, trimmed of outer husk and finely chopped
2cm ginger scraped, then sliced into wafer-thin pieces 2 long red chillies
2tbsp fish sauce juice 1 large lime
5g dried seaweed
3 fat jumbo salad onions
125g fine quick cook Thai rice noodles
3 large or 6 small red mullet, filleted (heads and bones reserved)
8-12 prawns, heads and shells intact
For the fish stock
heads, shells and tails reserved from 8-12 prawns bones reserved from 3 large or 6 small red mullet
2 fish heads from any other fish or bones you can get from your fishmonger (no oily fish)
1 onion To make the stock, pull the heads off the prawns, then remove the shells and tails and put them in a large pan. Set the prawns aside in a bowl. Add the bones and heads from the mullet to the pan along with any extra fish bones you might have with the onion and a large pinch of salt crystals. Cover with 1.5 litres cold water. Gently bring to a low simmer for 30-45 minutes so the stock stays as clear as possible. Strain through a sieve set over a bowl without pressing the solids (otherwise it will go too cloudy).
Pour the stock into a pan along with the lemongrass and ginger, and bring to a gentle simmer for around 10 minutes.
Cut the stalk end from the chillies, roll them between your fingers, bang on the inside of the sink so the seeds drop out, then thinly slice into rounds. Add to the pan of stock with fish sauce and lime juice (add a little more of both to taste, if necessary).
Put the seaweed in a bowl of cold water and soak for
5-10 minutes until tender. Cut the fat spring onions in half lengthways and slice thinly on the diagonal and add to the pan.
Put the noodles in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for about 4 minutes until soft. Drain and refresh under cold water and set aside.
Cut each prawn lengthways almost in half, so the black vein sometimes found in the back and belly of the prawn can be pulled out with a piece of kitchen paper. Cut each fillet of mullet in half, diagonally. Bring the pan of broth to a simmer once more and add the prawns and fish. Heat for 3-4 minutes until they are just cooked.
Drain the seaweed, rinse and drain again. To serve, add some noodles to each bowl. Remove the fish and prawns with a slotted spoon and place on top of the noodles. Divide the seaweed between the bowls then ladle in the broth. Finish with the chilli, ginger and onion pieces from the pan.