Get ready to slurp your way through a bowl of Yen Ta Fo Thai pink soup! This mouthwatering noodle soup is packed with flavors, and the bright pink hue makes it a fun soup!
Sen Yai wide rice noodles are the perfect pairing for this soup!
- What is Yen Ta Fo Thai Pink Soup
- Yen Ta Fo Ingredients
- 1. The Broth
- 2. Crispy Fried Wonton Skins
- 3. Yen Ta Fo Pink Sauce
- 4. Noodle Options for Thai Pink Noodle Soup 'Yen Ta Fo
- 5. Thai Pink Soup Garnishes and Toppings
- How to Make Yen Ta Fo
- Garnishing Options
- Recipe Tips
- Variations & Substitutes
- More Thai Recipes to Try Now
- Frequently Asked Questions:
- Yen Ta Fo Thai Pink Soup
- More Thai Soups You'll Love
This not so well known soup outside of Thailand is a favorite street food among local Thai vendors and food carts.
This Yen Ta Fo recipe is a family recipe straight from my aunt, who's working as the head chef for a Thai ambassador in the Philippines!
She's been one of my secret weapons in teaching and guiding me through my Thai cultural journey over the years!
What is Yen Ta Fo Thai Pink Soup
Yen Ta Fo Thai Pink Soup is a yummy Thai dish with red bean curd, pickled garlic, herbs, and seasonings. It is a beautiful pink color and served with your choice of noodles and toppings.
The soup has a delightful mix of sweet, spicy, umami, and tangy flavors. It's garnished with soft noodles, fish balls, tofu, and a delicious broth.
This soup is lesser-known outside of Thailand but is very popular amongst Thai people as a street food soup served by street cart vendors. This soup is almost as popular as other Thai noodle soups like boat noodles or pork noodles.
Yen Ta Fo Ingredients
There are 5 parts to this Thai pink soup. Don't worry, they're pretty straightforward, and you can skip some if you like (like the crispy wontons).
I want to give you a complete list so that you get an idea of how flexible the soup is. Here are the 5 parts to this soup.
- Then, there's the broth, which can also be served on the side to cleanse your palate.
- First, there's the sauce, where the pink magic happens.
- For a crunchy topping, fry some wonton skins.
- Choose your favorite noodles and cook them according to the package instructions.
- Lastly, have fun with an assortment of tasty toppings to personalize your Yen Ta Fo Thai pink noodle soup. Let's make our soup!
1. The Broth
- Onion. Use sweet or white onion.
- Daikon. Adds a sweet, earthy flavor to the broth.
- Bullion. Use chicken, vegetable, or pork boullion as the base and flavors for the broth.
- Cilantro roots. Adds an aromatic taste to the broth. Use the stems if the roots are not available. More about Thai herbs here.
- Salt. Use to season the broth.
- Black pepper. It is used to season the broth with a slight kick of heat. More about Thai spices here.
- Water or stock. Use light salt or no salt for the stock.
2. Crispy Fried Wonton Skins
- Crispy fried wonton skins. These add a crispy golden crunch to the hearty pink soup. Use the small square wonton wrappers (3.5x3.5 pieces).
- Cut them in half in a triangular shape and deep-fried them in hot oil until golden brown. Fry as many as you prefer.
- For a delicious beef wonton recipe, give this recipe a try. Also, try the pork and shrimp wontons and use both in this Ba Mee Moo Dang with egg noodles.
3. Yen Ta Fo Pink Sauce
The Yen Ta Fo pink sauce is the key to a flavorful soup. It's important to get the sauce just right for a delicious taste. While you can use artificial coloring, I prefer the natural red yeast shine, resulting in a deeper shade of red.
The red peppers and tomato paste also add to the pink color.
With these natural ingredients, you'll achieve a lighter pink hue in your Yen Ta Fo soup. But if desiring a brighter color, use a few drops of red or pink food coloring.
- Fresh garlic. Fresh garlic will also be used to season the sauce but will be used less than the pickled garlic
- Tomato paste. Also, a sour red/pink color adds a tangy flavor to the soup.
- Chili sauce. Use Thai sriracha sauce or any spicy sauce of choice.
- Vinegar. Adds a tangy taste to the broth. More about Thai sauces here.
- Red pepper. Use Thai red pepper for a more fiery sauce. Use jinta for a less spice. Use Serrano or red bell peppers if you want mild yen Ta Fo sauce. The more red pepper you use, the brighter the pink and the spicer your broth is.
- Thai Pickled garlic & Liquid. These are whole garlic, including the peel, and part of the tender stems are pickled in water, vinegar, and sugar. The liquid of the pickled garlic is very important in making the tangy and sweet garlicky flavors come from the pink soup sauce. (See image below).
- Red bean curd fermented tofu. This umami paste and the liquid are important ingredients in authentic Yen Ta Fo sauce. This is where the original natural pink color comes from, and over time, vendors have added food coloring to soup to intensify the pink color and tempt their customers to order this vibrant soup. (See image below).
4. Noodle Options for Thai Pink Noodle Soup 'Yen Ta Fo
- Sen Yai. They are soft, chewy, wide noodles. They are very popular with Thai people.
- Vermicelli or rice noodles. These small, thin rice noodles are like angel hair pasta, very fine noodles that complement yen Ta Fo very well.
- Egg noodles. Egg noodles are not as popular with yen ta fo, but there is an option if you want a heavier taste in your soup.
- Glass noodles. They are also not as common as the first two noodles, but for a lighter noodle option, glass noodles are an option.
Read more about the different types of Thai noodles here.
5. Thai Pink Soup Garnishes and Toppings
- Morning glory. Morning Glory or Pak Boong offers a mild taste and adds leafy green vegetables to the soup.
- Fish balls and fish cakes. These are umami fish pastes popular in soups and curries and as street snacks.
- Seafood of choice. Use shrimp and squid. Add your favorite protein to Yen Ta Fo. Shrimp and Squid are excellent for pairing with this soup.
- Puffed tofu. These absorbed the pink broth well, and the chewy fried tofu added a fun texture to the soup.
- Chili garlic oil. For added heat and flavor to the soup for spicy food lovers.
- Some soy sauce or fish sauce for added salty flavors if desired.
How to Make Yen Ta Fo
1. Make the broth. Combine water, bouillon, cilantro roots, onion, daikon, black pepper, and salt. Bring to a gentle boil.
2. Fry the wonton skins. Cut the wonton skin into triangular shapes. Deep-fried in hot oil until golden brown. They only take seconds to cook, so stand by ready to scoop with a wire mesh strainer.
3. Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients for the sauce in a small food processor. Grind until you have a smooth paste. Add the red or pink food coloring here if using.
4. Cook the rice noodles. Whatever noodles you decide to use, cook them according to the package instructions. Set aside when done until ready to assemble.
5. Cook your seafood, fish cakes, fish balls, and water spinach in a separate pot. Set aside until ready.
6. Now, let's add and put it all together. Mix 3 tablespoons of the pink sauce and a little bit of the broth into a serving bowl. Add more sauce if you want a stronger flavor. Then, add the noodles, water spinach, fish balls, and seafood.
7. Add the broth. Ladled the broth over the bowl and added more garnishes as desired. Top it off with 2 slices of crispy fried wonton and dig in! Enjoy!
- You can make the sauce and the broth ahead of time. Add more Thai chilis for a spicier sauce.
- Remove the Thai chili seeds or use less spicy peppers for a milder sauce.
Storing any leftover Yen Ta Fo sauce, noodles, broth, and ingredients separately. Do not mix the broth and the noodles together, or they will expand and get mushy. All the ingredients will last up to 2 days
Variations & Substitutes
Make Yen Ta Fo vegetarian by skipping the meat and using only tofu and vegetables. Suggested vegetables are spinach, bok choy, bean sprouts, and napa cabbage. Slice them all very thin and long.
More Thai Recipes to Try Now
- Thai coconut ice cream
- Thai pink milk
- Tom Yum sour noodle soup
- Thai papaya sour soup
- Nam Prik Pao chili paste
- How to cut a coconut
- How to make coconut milk
Frequently Asked Questions:
Yen Ta Fo got its original name from the Chinese words "Yong-Theu-Fu," which translates to stuffed tofu. In Thai, it is known as "Yud Tao Hoo," meaning stuffed tofu. However, the name has undergone some modifications over the years and ended up as Yen Ta Fo somehow.
To use Yen Ta Fo sauce, simply pour it over your Yen Ta Fo dish. It adds a tangy and savory flavor that complements the soup and enhances the overall taste.
Yes, you can purchase Yen Ta Fo sauce at most Asian grocery stores or online. Just look for it in the condiments or Asian section.
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