Trying to keep the Taiwaneseness in a Taiwanese dish made in England is a challenge. The base of this soup should be prawn shells and heads first panfried then boiled, but at supermarkets here, I see only headless, shell-less ones, and then again, a fishmonger’s is not something you would encounter just around the corner.
But anyway, with love and care, any dish can blossom in a way. Start with chopping two celery stalks, slicing ginger and carrot. Saucepan-fry them in a tiny bump of olive oil. Drop in headless, shell-less prawns and coarsely chopped basa fillet when you hear the oil tapping the bottom of the pan as a devoting timer. Stir-fry further and add salt. Before the prawns and the fish are half-cooked, add in cold water, egg noodles (if you use pure wheat noodles, for their powdery surfaces, you better boil them in a separate pot) and chopped Chinese leaves. Heat up. When that cold water boils, add in Shaohsing rice wine (proudly imported from Taiwan and even more proudly manufactured by the company my grandmother used to work long before her passing early last year at the age of 90) and turn to medium heat to cook for another few minutes till the noodles are the way you like.
The trio of celery, ginger and Shaohsing rice wine can always promise a bowl of seafood soup without the unwanted smell of a fish market.
I’m so glad that S liked it as yesterday’s dinner, which was worth all the love and care put it.