This Vietnamese glass noodle soup is packed with pork, prawns and quail eggs. Instead of the pork and prawn stock, if you prefer you could use fish, chicken or even vegetable.
1 tbsplard500 gmpiece pork loin12quail eggs800 gmdried bean thread noodles16prawns, peeled and cleaned, shells reserved for stockTo serve:Chinese chives, bean sprouts and lemon wedgesPork and prawn stock2 kgpork bones, coarsely chopped4dried scallops, rinsed 1lemongrass stalk, coarsely chopped1spring onion, coarsely chopped2 cmpiece rock sugar 3garlic cloves, bruisedTo taste:fish sauceCrisp garlic and shallots250 ml (1 cup)vegetable oil6garlic cloves, thinly sliced3golden shallots, thinly sliced
For pork and prawn stock, combine bones and reserved prawn shells in a large saucepan, cover with water, then bring to the boil over high heat. Skim scum, reduce heat to low-medium, add remaining ingredients, except fish sauce, and simmer, topping up with more water as necessary, until stock is well flavoured (4-6 hours). Strain through a fine strainer, season to taste with fish sauce and refrigerate until chilled. Spoon fat from surface and discard. Refrigerate until required.
Preheat oven to 180C. Heat lard in a frying pan over medium heat, add loin and cook, turning occasionally, until golden (8-10 minutes). Transfer to oven and roast, turning occasionally, until cooked through (15-20 minutes). Cool, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled (1 hour). Just before serving, thinly slice.
For crisp garlic and shallots, heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat, add garlic, stir until just golden (3-5 minutes), then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper. Add shallots to oil and stir until golden (3-5 minutes), then set aside to drain. Cool oil and reserve.
Cook quail eggs in boiling water until soft-boiled (3 minutes). Refresh, peel and set aside.
Cook noodles in a large saucepan of boiling water until al dente (2-3 minutes). Drain, then divide among serving bowls.
Bring 2 litres reserved stock to the simmer, add prawns and poach until just cooked (2 minutes), then arrange on noodles and top with quail eggs and sliced pork. Ladle hot stock over and scatter with crisp garlic and shallots. Scatter with Chinese chives and bean sprouts and serve hot with lemon wedges and reserved garlic and shallot oil.