Konky's Creative Kitchen
Headmaster's Salmon Noodle Soup & Salmon Stock-Making (校长的三文鱼汤面 - Xiàozhǎng de sānwènyú tāngmiàn)
Updated: Feb 10
Years ago, my daughter attended a local Chinese school to learn how to read and write Mandarin. The Headmaster and his staff were absolutely incredible. For years, we were not just student/parent. We became part of the family. And a great friendship began with the leader of this amazing school. Headmaster spoke of his father back home. His family owned a fishing business on the southern coast of China to which they worked many hours to help sustain and build a thriving business. When Headmaster shared this piece of philosophy from his father, I was immediately awestruck at just how much sense it made and that it could apply to just about anything in life. There was a soup his father made that encompassed how to be in the moment. And what better way to explain it was through a bowl of noodle soup made right there at the docks.
Headmaster quoted his father by saying, "Soup is more than just comfort. It's the simplicity of life we sometimes forget. Slow down and savor the moment within the moment. Clarity follows." While they did not have much, they made something out of nothing and it birthed something far greater in meaning and principle. From the scraps of the day's catch, his father created a soup from very simple ingredients. This philosophically profound bowl of soup with such complex flavors had so much meaning: There was so much more with so very little. From this philosphy, I am making my interpretation of this noodle soup.
SALMON STOCK MAKING: Salmon heads - 4-6, depending on size Fresh water
In a 2-gal stock pot, load up with your salmon heads and fresh water.
On medium heat, cook off your salmon-heads. Periodically you will need to remove any floating remnants and scum from the top. You may need to add a little more water as you go. This will be approximately a 60-90 minute time-frame. The key here is to not only cook and harvest the meat but we want a super-rich stock that is filled with collagen.
At the end, you want approximately 3-4 quarts of rich salmon stock. Carefully, run the hot stock through a strainer, lined with cheesecloth, into a clean pot. This will help remove any remaining scum or sand.
Put this back on your stove for the interim. Do NOT add anything to the stock. Safe to freeze stock in quart-sized containers for two to three months.
Harvest the salmon meat, removing any pin-bones, cartilage, gills, etc. Set salmon meat aside.
Noodles must be cooked separately
For every one bowl of soup or noodle stir-fry, you will want to average approximately: 6-8oz of fresh prepped soup vegetables, your choice, small diced/chopped
1 Cup Glass noodles, cooked 1.25oz freshly chopped garlic 1.25oz freshly pureed ginger
Finishing sauce: Orange Tamari sauce, Soy sauce, or Tamari - 2 TB
Additional Ingredients: MSG or Kosher salt White Pepper Fish Sauce
Glass noodles Garnishes: Cilantro, chili oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds, dried pepper flakes, fresh chili, etc.
Set up a large soup bowl with your cooked noodles and some of the harvested salmon meat. Set this aside.
In a saute pan on medium-high heat, add some oil.
Add a couple pinches of MSG/Kosher salt, white pepper to the pan.
Add your prepped vegetables and garlic to the pan. Do not walk away from the pan as you dont want to overcook the vegetables. Toss the pan or with a spoon, mix around the vegetables for about 1-3 minutes
Add about 1/2 TB-1TB Fish sauce
Add the ginger and toss around the mixture for another 1-3 minutes
Add your salmon stock - no more than one quart. Bring this up to temperature
Add two tablespoons of the finishing sauce and stir.
After about 1-3 minutes, carefully pour your soup/vegetables into your soup-bowl
Garnish with your favorite toppings, herbs, and oils.