Alfresco dining at a Vietnamese restaurant in Berlin
Walking through Berlin it is hard to believe that sixty years ago it was a pile of rubble, and that twenty years ago a 103 mile wall divide the city.
Even ten years ago, what was considered a wasteland is now dotted with impressive monuments and well-designed buildings*. The city has managed to rebuild itself in a remarkably short period of time and the culinary scene is no exception.
Being a pescatarian however, I was leery of my options. My concern was certainly unfounded and faded the moment we hit the ground. The streets are teeming with cafés, bars and sleek eateries. Much to our surprise and delight Berlin is a haven for Thai and Vietnamese food. Even better, dining in Berlin is relatively inexpensive.
I have been craving Thai soup since returning home and found the perfect recipe. It is an adaptation of a Thai chicken coconut milk soup. Guten Appetit!
4 ounces cellophane noodles
6 cups vegetable stock
2 red Thai (or jalapeño) peppers, seeded and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon (or lime) juice
4 tablespoons Thai fish sauce, divided
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced (3 cups)
1 pound prawns
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Place noodles in a bowl; add enough warm water to cover and let sit until soft, about 15 minutes. Drain. Combine stock, pepper, garlic, ginger, lemon zest, lime zest, lemon juice and 3 tablespoon fish sauce in a medium saucepan.
Season with salt. Bring to a simmer, add noodles and cook 3 minutes more. Using tongs, transfer noodles to a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm. Add mushrooms to broth; season with salt, if desired; simmer 3 minutes more.
Add prawns and coconut milk and simmer, stirring, until prawns are just cooked, about 3 minutes. Stir in spinach until it begins to wilt, about 1 minute. Add chopped cilantro and season with remaining 1 tablespoon fish sauce. Using tongs, divide noodles among 4 bowls. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with sprigs of cilantro and slices of pepper.
adapted from epicurious
*Can you spot what is different about this Berlin building?