This rich potato soup with wholemeal hand-cut noodles will warm you up, give you energy and fill you up too. I love the garlic chives and sichuan peppercorns: they are both very strongly flavoured, but make this soup unique.
I have not been to Bhutan, but I have visited Sikkim and the Hindu Kush mountains, as well as Darjeeling and Srinagar, all hill stations. In such places the locals are hardy, and things take on their own life: the climate is cooler, the air is fresh, the terrain is mountainous — and all these elements conspire to make your body crave carbohydrates. It just seems right to eat lots of potatoes while trekking! You are burning so much energy that soups like this are not only tasty, but give you the boost you need to keep climbing higher.
Start by making the dough for the noodles. Place the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix in enough of the water to make a soft pliable dough. Knead the dough by hand for 4 minutes, or until elastic. Cover and set aside while starting the soup, to allow the gluten in the dough to relax.
Place the potato slices in a large saucepan, along with the radish and tomatoes. Pour in the stock, cover and bring to the boil.
Take a small handful of the dough and roll it out on a floured surface into a fairly thin, large circle, using a rolling pin. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into two semicircles.
Lay one half on a chopping board, with the straight edge facing you. Cut strips about 1 cm (½ inch) wide from the curved edge to the straight edge, creating noodles.
Gently place the noodles in a bowl that has been generously dusted with an extra 1 tablespoon flour, then continue with the remaining dough.
Once all the noodles have been cut, add them to the soup. Continue boiling for another 10 minutes, or until the noodles are glossy and have no flour residue, stirring occasionally so they don’t clump together.
Meanwhile, just before serving, heat the coconut oil in a small frying pan until very hot. Add the chilli flakes, garlic and garlic chives, stirring to coat in the oil. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is fragrant and the garlic is slightly browned.
Remove the soup from the heat and add the fried garlic mixture, including the oil. Stir in the crushed sichuan peppercorns and season with salt to taste. Your bagthuk is ready to serve.
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