Asian fish chowder with basil
This Asian-inspired chowder has a light chicken broth base and is full of plump, white fish complemented by fennel and fresh basil. Ladle it over noodles.
1 1/2 pounds firm-fleshed skinless, boneless white fish (hake, pollock, cod, halibut, red snapper), cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
6 slices fresh ginger, smashed with the flat side of a knife
3/4 cup rice wine or sake
2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed with 1/8 inch of stem
1/2 pound somen, angel hair, or other thin noodles
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
8 cloves garlic, chopped
4 scallions (white and green parts), chopped
6 cups effortless Chinese chicken stock (see recipe) or chicken stock
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
Black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 bunch Thai holy basil or sweet basil leaves, chopped or finely shredded
1. In a bowl combine the fish, ginger, and 1/4 cup rice wine or sake. Toss lightly.
2. Halve the fennel bulb lengthwise. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles, and cook according to package directions, stirring occasionally, or until they are tender but still have some bite. Drain into a colander and rinse with warm water. Transfer to a bowl.
4. In a soup pot, heat the canola oil over high heat. Add the garlic and scallions and stir-fry for 15 seconds or until fragrant. Add the chicken stock and remaining 1/2 cup rice wine or sake. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, add the fennel, and partially cover the pot. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the fennel is almost tender.
5. Discard the ginger from the fish. Add the fish and marinade to the pot. Cover and cook 5 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a knife.
6. To the noodles, add the fish sauce, black pepper, lemon juice, and basil. Stir gently. Taste for seasoning and add more fish sauce if the noodles need salt. Divide the noodles among 6 shallow bowls. Ladle the soup over the noodles. Adapted from “Simple Asian Meals’’