Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Thenthuk, A Tibetan Soup We Love

This soup has been gracing our table for so many years I have no idea when I started making it and no doubt the children think it was part of their baby food menu.
Its wonderful on a cold night when the dampness seems to envelope you. Its not hard to make and certainly is good for you. I have never made it with meat and probably never will. One time I used whole wheat flour to make the dumplings but that was a once only thing, they were heavy and no one much cared for them.
Tibet is a place I hold dear in my heart and the food of that country is also dear to me. If you feel like trying something new, give this soup a try. Its so good and no need to measure or be fussy, just imagine yourself high in the Himalayan's on a cold night, sitting with family around a small stove and sharing a bowl of this soup. Maybe even play some music from Tibet, on that note I can hear my children saying I have gone too far. No one in this family appreciates my CD's of Tibetan monks singing. Oh well.....
Here is the recipe, its almost exactly like the one I use so I copied it from the web site rather than type out my instructions. A lazy move, but certainly a time saver.

Thenthuk ( Tibetan Noodle Soup )

from the web site
"Thenthuk" ten-took (n) : A typical Tibetan noodle soup that keeps the nomads warm during those long Tibetan winters. You can make it either with vegetables or meat.
In Tibetan "then" means pull and "thuk" means noodles.

The Dough
The dough is very important for this noodle soup. It needs to sit for fifteen or twenty minutes so that it can become flexible and easy to pull.
If you want to make "Thenthuk" for two people, put two heaping handfuls of all-purpose flour in a pot and add about half a cup of water.
Mix the flour and water very well by hand and keep adding water until you can make a smooth ball of dough. Then knead the dough very well until the dough is flexible.
You want it thick enough that it will stretch when pulled.
Separate the dough into pieces about half as big as big as your fist, and roll the dough between your hands.
Make the shape like bananas, or wedges.
Then put oil on your hand and roll the pieces between your hands again so they won't stick together. Put the wedges in a plastic bag or in a pot and put a lid to cover the dough so it doesn't dry out.

The Broth
Now the dough is prepared and you can start the broth.Chop half an onion, a small piece of ginger, a clove of garlic, and one small tomato. If you want to use meat, cut 1/4 or half pound of any kind of meat into thin bite-size slices. (free range, please....ed.)
Fry everything in two tablespoons of oil for three or four minutes, or until the meat is cooked well. Add a pinch of chicken, beef or vegetable bouillon, a dash of salt, and few shakes of soy sauce.Add about five cups of water to the pot. At this time, you can add one potato or daikon, which is a Japanese radish. If you want to use the daikon, slice it thinly. After that wash it in water with a little bit of salt. That way, the daikon won't taste so strong. If you want to use the potato just slice it thinly and put it in the pot.
While you are cooking, chop 1/4 of a bunch of cilantro, two green onions, and 1/4 bunch of spinach.

The Throw-down
When the broth starts to boil, you can add the dough. Take a wedge of dough and roll it between your hands so it gets a little longer. Flatten it with your fingers. Then pull the dough off in little flat pieces as long as your thumb and throw them in the pot.
See how fast you can pull off the noodles... ("I hear the people in Amdo can do it really fast." - Tenzin)

When all the noodles are in the pot, cook it for an additional three or four minutes. After that, you can put in the cilantro and spinach. They don't need to cook, really, so you can serve the soup immediately.
Before you serve the "Thenthuk" make sure that the taste is right for you.
Enjoy your food and sweat because it really makes you warm!
Cilantro, green onions, and the dough

The soup just about ready to eat, noodles have risen to the top.


Anonymous said...

Patty Just now seeing your prayer request...Looks like the COMFORTER took care of things! I'm glad shes feeling better. give you CHRONIC HEART DISEASE dont they! Always on your heart & mind. She is a beautiful MAMA!!!

Anonymous said...

How serendipitous is *that*? My daughters, who just got back from 5 months in Amdo with their dad, love this soup. My oldest, who is 10 made it for our dinner this weekend - she had to teach me since I wasn't fortunate enough to have been able to go on this trip with them.

The only thing we did differently was the addition of a lamb shank (yes, free range...) which makes it pretty authentic since Tibetan cuisine is heavy on the meat. Our vegetable mix was onion, garlic, bokchoy and tomatoes... my oldest says people often put leeks in it as well (which she doesn't like, so we didn't add any :-) )...

I'm not much of a white flour user, but I stuck to "tradition" and used it this time around.


It made great leftovers (we made a ton) - kind of stew-ish since the 'noodles' soaked up the soup.

Two names: Thentuk, pronounced kind of like Tien-du(k) with a silent but breathed k at the end - Amdo dialect probably...

and Mianpian - the Chinese name for it.

How's that for a ramble... sorry! but what a nice surprise & connection over food!


Peggy said...

what a wonderful recipe! thanks for sharing.

Patty said...

Hi Neighbor, we often add leeks, that is if we have them on hand and add one tomato if our garden is producing them.
Since we are mostly vegetarian, we leave the meat out. That is so funny you had the same food !

Happy Richters !! said...

Hi Patty

I was looking for Tendhok soup (mispelled) and found your nice blog. I also have a blog and would like to have my writing and pictures copyrighted. Can you tell me how to do it? I am also writing two books, one for kids and one for adults, and the copyright info would be extremely useful for that too. Can you give me a hand ? My e-mail is, and just to give you a little background I am Brazilian, my husband is American from Kansas and we presently live in India ! Thanks a lots and have a good weekend! Connie Richter

All writing and photography on MorningRamble is Copyright © 2005-2008 by Patty Lockwood All rights reserved

Lobsang and Yolanda said...

Hi Patty and All,

Thanks for linking to our Tibetan thenthuk recipe. Nothing better on a winter's evening! I wanted to let you know that our Tibetan recipes have moved to a new address:

We're planning to add some videos before too long. All the best to you -- this is a sweet blog :-)
Lobsang and Yolanda

The Didi Project, Nepal Network said...

Hello, Heidi here from California, with a strong Buddhist/Nepal connection...I'm hosting my friend, Khenpo Karten Rinpoche, from Tibet tonight and want to make him an authentic dish. A warm soup sounds just right. He has asked for meat (after many veg and vegan meals from well-meaning hosts), so I'll add some beef to the mix. I also have good greens I'll use to keep it healthy! I think he'll be very pleased.
Thanks, Heidi

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