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Binging with Babish: Secret Ingredient Soup from Kung Fu Panda

Binging with Babish: Secret Ingredient Soup from Kung Fu Panda
- Order up. Hope you like it. (bowls sliding across table) (sipping

soup

) - This is really good. - Naw, come on, you should try my dad's

secret

ingredient

soup

, he actually knows the

secret

ingredient

. - What are you talking about? This is amazing. - Wow, you're a really good cook. - I wish my mouth was bigger. - Tigress, you've got to try this. - Hey, what's up guys. Welcome back to

Binging

with

Babish

where this week we're taking look at the

secret

ingredient

noodle

soup

from "

Kung

Fu

Panda

". The only known

ingredient

s of which are noodles and

soup

, and maybe what looks like a daikon radish. The only other thing we know is that there is no actual

secret

ingredient

, so we need to take every effort to make each element as special as possible. Let's start with the

soup

. I'm going for a pork bone based broth inspired by the flavors from the Guangxi province. The most important

ingredient

of which are the bones. Which as you can see, I'm having some second thoughts about here because these bones smell like they've been frozen for a long time. And when you're putting this amount of time and energy into a recipe, you need to get some

ingredient

s that you fully trust. I got these bones very inexpensively from Pino's Prime Meats, and they only smell like pork. Now we could make this broth strictly out of bones, but I'm going to add some short ribs and this pig's tail to provide a little bit more meat and collagen to give...
binging with babish secret ingredient soup from kung fu panda
the broth more body. Into a very tall and narrow stockpot they go. Just the bones and meats at first. And, are we sure this is a pigs tail fellas? We're gonna cover those with cold water and bring them to a simmer on the stove top. This is going to draw any blood, and scum, and impurities out of the bones and meat which is going to form a gray foamy scummy layer on top of the water. Skim this off, drain, and scrub the bones and meat clean until they look like this. And now back into the emptied and clean stockpot they go. Along with a handful of aromatics, which you can mix and match as you see fit, or as they are available. I'm gonna start with a little handful of licorice root, a healthy sized chunk of cassia bark, or Chinese cinnamon, or just cinnamon really. Toss that in there along with a few pieces of dried tangerine peel. You could probably also use fresh orange peel. I'm almost gonna add a handful of dried longan fruit, a handful of dried star anise pods, a whole onion, quartered, and a handful of fresh ginger, roughly peeled. And this might not be traditional but I'm gonna add a couple of carrots just to round out the flavors. Then I've got something special here, some dried Chinese scallops. These are very expensive. This little handful was like $18 and they smell pretty, very, very bad. But they are a huge umami booster for

soup

s, stews, and broths. So we're going to add maybe four, seems like a good amount, I guess, I dunno. And then we are...
binging with babish secret ingredient soup from kung fu panda
again covering everything with cold water and bringing to a bare simmer. We're gonna take one more opportunity at the beginning of the boil to skim off any scum. And then we're lettin' this guy go slow and low for at least four hours, and up to 12. Now, unlike say a tonkotsu ramen broth, we want this to just barely bubble so it stays nice and clear. Once the flavors and colors are nice and deep, and your whole house smells like warm spicy pork water, strain, cool in an ice bath, refrigerate overnight, and get some restorative sleep. Especially if you're about to do what I'm about to do. No, not bang your head on the table. I'm only doing that because I'm a food YouTuber, and I've come to the unassailable conclusion that it's about time that I fulfill my destiny and try to make hand pulled noodles. A skill that supposedly takes 10 years to master. I have two days, so go ahead and lower your expectations. There are basically four elements to any hand pulled noodle. Flour, water, salt, and an alkaline solution. I'm using this commercially available mix of potassium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate. You can find it at many Asian grocers. If you cannot go ahead and check out my ramen video in the upper right-hand corner right now, to see how to make baked baking soda. The next thing to nail down is the ratio of these

ingredient

s. There's conflicting information all over the internet, and the recipe can apparently be affected by things...
binging with babish secret ingredient soup from kung fu panda
like your altitude, or the humidity in the air. So take this recipe with a grain of potassium carbonate, so to speak, because everyone seems to have a recipe for the perfect hand pulled noodles. And everyone else seems to think that everyone else is wrong. I tried a litany of different hydration ratios and kneading tactics, and these are the ones that worked best for me. Did you hear the air quotes around best? I hope you did because this, no matter what you do is going to be a very difficult process. I've got a dough here of 500 grams bread flour, 306 grams of water, five grams of salt, and four grams of potassium carbonate. I mixed it until just combined in a stand mixer and now I'm going to knead it into submission for 40 minutes, here we go. The objective here is to develop the gluten, or rather overdevelop it until the dough more closely resembles chewed chewing gum than dough. If like me, you are not an experienced hand pulled noodle puller, you might not even come close to that consistency in this amount of time. So give it your very, very best for 40 minutes straight, and then cover with plastic wrap and left rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Which will allow your gluten to kick its feet up and relax a little bit. As you can see I've got my other experiments here in the foreground. And as you can see our gluten has become very well developed. But we have to take it several orders of magnitude beyond that. And if you're a hand pulled noodle newbie like me,...
old-fashioned kneading is only gonna get you so far. Now we're gonna get into something I'm gonna call tug kneading, or the act of gently tugging on the dough until it's elongated, folding it over on top of itself and repeating the process. This is not only going to continue to develop, but also apparently help align our gluten, which as I understand it, for some reason needs to be aligned. Now this process might take you 20 minutes, it might take you 45 minutes, it might take you two hours. The only indicators that you're close to being done are the right texture, and maybe a more athleisure appropriate shirt. About the only advice that I can offer you at this point is just don't give up. I mean, sure, anyone can go to their local Asian grocer and get fresh noodles that are arguably better than what you can make yourself. And it would be cheap, and it would be easy, and it would be convenient, and it wouldn't physically exhaust you. But I can't quite remember what my point was here. And as you can see, our dough is starting to get closer to the right texture. So we're just gonna keep goin'. And something important to keep in mind is your dough's hydration. During all these lengthy tugging sessions it's bound to lose some moisture. So every four to six turns, you might want to pat it down and brush it down with water before folding it in half once again. It should straddle the line somewhere between a very hydrated bread dough, and...
pasta dough. Pounding it against the table as you stretch also helps. Not entirely sure why, but I see it in every video. Anyway, go ahead and take a break once you've worked up an actual head sweat, and become so delirious from all the dough that you've kneaded over the past 14 hours that you forget to put your apron back on. But finally, all that effort is yielding results. At long last, my dough finally resembles chewed bubble gum. So that means we can finally work on the only remaining

ingredient

of our

soup

, some daikon radish. Or at least that's what it looked like Po was putting in the

soup

. So I'm just gonna peal and slice off a bunch of slices and put them in the broth as I heat it up. Maybe let those simmer for about 20 minutes until they're nice and soft. Just enough time to finally do the deed, and pull some noodles. I've got half the dough here which I'm also going to divide in half so it's a little easier to work with. Keep the other pieces covered, and let's give our guy a stretch. Give it a few slaps on the tabletop, this seems to prevent it from tearing too much. Stretch it out nice and long, give it a little roll to make sure that it's even, and then since we don't want the noodles to stick to themselves we're gonna dust this guy down with flour. Once it's all evenly dusted, it's time to fold it, stretch it, and repeat until we have noodles. Now the 10 years of training it takes to become a noodle...
master covers not only your ability to develop a glutenous dough in like 20 minutes, instead of the three some-odd hours it took me, but it also covers your ability to actually stretch out the noodles because this is extraordinarily hard. And after two failed tries I decided to give up before I ruined all my dough. Opting instead to stretch out each noodle one at a time. This makes for a somewhat flat, pretty uneven noodle, but it's better than kneading multiple batches of dough for hours and hours with no noodles to show for it. And so there you have it, a handful of my very best attempt at hand pulled noodles. Do I recommend trying this at home? Absolutely not. Unless you need a new lifelong hobby. Anyway we're treating them just like we would pretty much any fresh noodle, cooking quickly and gently for no more than 90 seconds. During this time we're gonna check our broth for seasoning, mine needs a lot of salt. Make sure it tastes as righteous as it smells, and then it's time to serve up. First, we're just gonna scoop out the noodles using a sieve and dump them into an empty bowl. And then over top we ladle our broth, marrying together flavor and texture. Make sure you don't forget a couple slices of daikon radish, and then it's time to tuck in. These might not be the prettiest noodles in the world, but they're mine. And don't you let anyone ever tell you otherwise. I'm very happy to report that they're delightfully light, and...
chewy, and springy, and the broth is deep, and rich, and warm, and spicy, and complex. It's served very simply in the movie but I'm going to add a handful of Chinese chives or scallions, and a dollop of chili oil, two things I'm quite simply not going to enjoy noodle

soup

without. Now while this was delicious, the sting of failure prevented me from entering it into the clean plate club. I have an idea for how to hack the noodles, but if we're gonna do that we might as well make our own chili oil from scratch. Because believe it or not it's miles ahead of the store bought stuff. Into a small saucepan goes a handful of szechuan peppercorn, star anise pods, cassia bark, a knob of peeled ginger, and three lightly crushed cloves of garlic. Then over that, we're gonna pour two to three cups of a neutral flavored oil, I'm going with canola. We're gonna gently swirl that over medium heat on the stove top until the oil reaches about 325 degrees Fahrenheit. At which point we're going to strain it and pour it over a cup of szechuan chili flakes. Make sure you're doing this in a very heat proof bowl, otherwise you might be looking at a disaster for both your countertop, and the skin of your feet. Give it a little mix, make sure that those flavors have gotten to know each other before setting aside for about 30 minutes to cool. Just enough time to negotiate our noodles. Here I have some of the dough after its initial 45 minute knead. As you can see...
it's off to an ugly start, but as we laminate it and pass it through over and over again, rolling it out like pasta dough, it becomes supple, and tame, and perfect for passing through a spaghetti cutter. What results is almost more reminiscent of ramen noodles. So while maybe less impressive, they are at least in my mind perfectly suitable for the task at hand. Same deal, boiling water for no more than 90 seconds until they're tender but chewy. Drain into an awaiting warm bowl. Maybe don't use a spider like this unless you want a perilous noodle situation. And serve with the boilin' hot broth ladled gently over top. And there you have it, a much more achievable but still distinctly homemade

secret

ingredient

noodle

soup

. You guys will excuse me for a second, I am just a mess. Give my apron a bit of a bachelor shower here. And of course we're garnishing with Chinese chives, and our homemade chili oil. And while these noodles might've been way prettier while remaining just as delicate and springy as the hand pulled ones, I almost preferred my first batch. Imperfection is sometimes what makes something unique, or distinctive, or familiar. And had I learned nothing from Mr. Ping, that there is no

secret

ingredient

, there is no

secret

way to make perfect noodles. The only perfect noodles can be found in one place, in your heart. And oh my God nevermind, it was delicious, I ate the whole bowl. (calm music)