“Healthy and Tasty Papaya Noodle Soup”
The inspiration of cooking papaya soup came from the famous payaya bee hoon soup served in Xin Wang Hong Kong café, when visited their café and ordered this papaya soup (chose instant noodles to go with it) for my late dinner, after the NDP preview on the 1st Aug. I was wondering if this papaya soup could be cooked at home and taste as nice. Yes, you can definitely do it.. I tried (laughing)!
Maybe, it is not as professionally done (presentation wise?) as the famous Hong Kong cafe, but it’s certainly delicious and very healthy for a homecooked soup dish. Not shy to say that, I think it is as tasty as theirs (winking smile)!
I loved papaya soup, even though the nutrient of papaya would have destroyed by the high temperatured long-boiling method. The natural sweetness in the soup yielded from the papaya makes this soup extra yummy and smooth for the throat. The aroma of papaya flavour carries through and mingles in the palate for a long while. It’s sweet, fragrant, and delicious. Enjoy just the soup and perks in it, you may even forget about adding bee hoon or noodles in it.
Or, like us. We added Ipoh (Ipoh: one of the state town in Malaysia) hor fun (Hor-fun: Chinese noodle made from rice) instead of bee hoon. What’s the difference between normal hor fun and Ipoh hor fun? Ipoh hor fun has thinner and smoother strands as it won’t affect the taste of your papaya soup. Thin hor fun might not come from Ipoh, but Ipoh hor fun is not just thin, it’s especially well-known for its silky smooth texture. So, try looking for Ipoh hor fun at many Chinese wet market store or supermarkets.
It is also easier to chew together with the papaya soup. Texture of this Ipoh hor fun is so soft and smooth for the palate. And, it is just so perfect to be added to this papaya soup. You’ll like it to add this strands to complement your papaya soup. I got the packet of Ipoh hor fun from Sheng Siong supermarket (升松超市).
500g Ipoh hor fun (in Chinese: 怡保河粉)
200 gram of medium prawns, deveined and shelled with tail intact
4 crabsticks, halves lengthwise
1 packet of beancurd/ tofu, cut into bite sizes
For soup base:
50 grams of dried ikan bilis aka dried anchovies (put into a disposable soup bag)
200 gram of boney pork ribs
1 small not-too-ripe papaya, peeled with seeds removed and cut into chunk pieces
1 ear of sweet corn, husked and sliced lengthwise
1 tomato, quartered
2 tablespoons of fish sauce (鱼露)
Slabs of salt and pepper
Sprinkle of sesame oil
200-400ml of low-fat evaporated milk or skimmed milk (amount adjustable as desired)
1 pot of water, 50% filled (about 1800ml)
1) Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the bag of dried anchovies and pork ribs into the boiling water. Bring it to another boil. Scoop away any scum floating on the surface of the soup. Reduce heat to low fire, and simmer for 20 minutes, with lid tilted on the pot.
2) Add papaya and corn, and continue simmering for another 30 minutes, with lid on. Add salt, pepper and fish sauce. Then, add tomato and other ingredients of prawns and crabsticks. Allow the soup stock to bring to a boil again. When boiling, stir in evaporated milk, and boil for another 30 seconds (if adding skimmed milk, reduce heat to medium-low fire first). Heat off. Add in tofu.
3) Blanch the hor fun (or your choice of noodles). Divide hor fun into bowls. Laddle soup with ingredients into each bowl. Serve hot.
If you are not a fan of noodles, just enjoy the soup and papaya as well as other side ingredients in it! Add some fish balls and any preferred ingredients for more varieties.
And for me, personally, I preferred very milky soup. So, I’ve added almost 400ml of UHT skimmed milk (Paul’s Trim UHT Milk was used) into the pot of soup. Using skimmed milk instead of evaporated was because it gives a lot more ‘milky’ flavour, and it contains lower fat. But mainly was was because that was what I had in my refrigerator at that point of time, just wanted to finish it up (laughing). Be it skimmed or evaporated milk, you may add the milk little by little to taste the right amount to be added.
A bowl milky papaya noodle soup yields about 350kcal.
Tips: Blanch the Ipoh hor fun in salted boiling water for a quick plunge as this hor fun is too soft and “flimsy”, which might get disintegrated if over-cooked. Just blanch it for less than a minute will do. Other noodle types may required longer blanching to have it cooked.
* If can’t get any thin Ipoh hor fun, use any thin hor fun or kway teow (粿條).
* Get Paul’s Trim UHT milk at any NTUC Fairprice supermarkets. The soup should be kept with medium-low heat when adding skimmed milk.