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What Is Batchoy?

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  • Written By: Angie Bates
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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Originating in the La Paz district of Iloilo City in the Philippines, batchoy is a type of hearty Filipino soup. Made with noodles, broth and pork, one of the key ingredients in this dish is pork innards, specifically intestines. Although it can sometimes be bought from vendors in the Philippines, it is often homemade.

Traditionally, miki noodles are used in batchoy. Miki noodles might be difficult to obtain outside of Filipino markets, however, so any type of egg noodle can be substituted. Ideally, fresh noodles should be used, because they reduce the cooking time and increase the taste.

In addition to noodles, shrimp paste is a traditional part of batchoy. Some modern versions, however, omit this paste and might use fish sauce or whole shrimp instead. Spices and seasonings — such as peppercorns, garlic, onion powder and salt — as well as soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce are often used to flavor the dish as well. Pork meat, in addition to pork intestines, liver and possibly kidney, also are primary ingredients. Chicharron, or crumbled fried pork skin, is added as a topping.

To make batchoy, the spices and shrimp paste are added to boiling water. Then, the pork meat is cooked until it is tender. Afterward, the innards are included and cooked. After both the meat and the innards are cooked, they are removed, and the meat can be sliced. Next, the noodles are cooked.

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Alternatively, a beef or pork stock can be used as the liquid base. Bullion cubes also can be dissolved in water to create a broth. When whole shrimp are added instead of shrimp paste, they are first cooked with the shells on and then removed from the broth and shelled. Cooking them in their shells adds flavor to the broth. Other than these small variations, most versions of the soup are cooked in the same way.

After the noodles have been cooked, they are put in a serving bowl. Then, the broth is poured over the noodles, and the sliced meat and innards are placed on top. In nontraditional versions, shrimp and even chicken breasts might be used as noodle toppings as well. After the meat has been added, the chicharron is sprinkled over the dish. Additionally, batchoy can be garnished with spring onions or roasted garlic.

Although a popular misconception is that batchoy includes eggs, the traditional versions of this dish do not have any type of egg as an ingredient. Nontraditional variations, however, might include a chopped hard-boiled egg as a garnish. Lemon juice and chopped celery might also be used for the garnish in nontraditional versions.

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