Noodle Soup

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Its fall finally! The beautiful shade of blue of the sky, the pretty colors, the chill in the air and in my case the allergies which come with the season. After a long day at work nothing is more comforting than a warm cup of soup while watching new episodes of my favorite TV show. Add a few spices and I not only convert the regular store bought broth into something delicious and deeply satisfying, but also cook myself a natural remedy to relive those allergy symptoms. This recipe is super easy and one of my go-to when I have had a long day at work or I am feeling a little under the weather.

Every culture around the world, home cook and professional chef, have their version of a noodle soup. This is my version. Its a hybrid of pho chay, ramen noodle soup and my mom’s recipe for a home remedy she gave me for my seasonal sniffles and sneezes.

I am detailing the vegetarian recipe, but scroll down to see the notes section for suggestion for a Non-Vegetarian version. 

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Time for Prep: 10 mins     Time to cook: 30 mins      Yield: 2 Servings     Level: Easy

Ingredients:

  • For the Broth:
    • 4 cups vegetable stock/broth
    • 3-4 shallots, chopped
    • 2 inches of ginger, grated
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 2-3 star anise
    • 2 tsp coriander seeds
    • 4-5 cloves
    • 1-2 tsp black pepper
    • 1 tsp cayenne
    • 1 tsp fennel seeds
    • 2 tsp soy sauce ( I prefer using a soy sauce reduction).
    • 1 tsp honey
    • 1/4 cup dry sherry (optional)
    • 1 tbsp oil
  • For the Noodle:
    • 1/2 lb or 7 oz thin rice noodles
    • 6 cups of water
    • 1 tsp oil
    • salt to taste
  • For the toppings (Choose all or just a few):
    • 1 thinly sliced carrot (I usually just peel layers, then roughly chop them)
    • Thinly sliced green bell pepper
    • Mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 3-4 baby boo choy
    • Handful of kale, shredded
  • For Garnishes (Choose all or just a few):
    • 1/2 cup scallion, chopped
    • 2-3 chilli pepper, finely chopped
    • 1 lemon, cut in wedges
    • 1/2 cup mung bean sprouts (or any sprouts)
    • Handfull cilantro
    • Handfull basil
    • 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
    • Hot sauce
    • Fried Egg

Process:

  1. To make the Broth:
    1. In a large pot heat oil, add the spices (cinnamon, anise, clove, fennel, coriander, black pepper) and dry roast in low heat
    2. When you smell the aroma of the spices, add the ginger, shallots and sherry (if using) sauté for 4-5 mins or till onions loose their raw smell
    3. Add the vegetable broth, soy sauce, honey and cayene
    4. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 mins
    5. Strain and keep hot till ready to serve
  2. To prepare the toppings:
    1. Slightly steam or blanch the vegetables chosen
  3. To prepare the Noodles (While the broth is simmering):
    1. Bring 6 cups of water to a rolling boil, add salt and oil
    2. Turn of the heat and add the noodles
    3. Cover and let stand for 20 – 30 mins or till the noodles are tender
  4. To serve:
    1. Divide the noodles in two bowls
    2. Arrange the toppings over the noodles
    3. Ladle in the broth
    4. Top with garnishes and serve warm.

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Notes:

  • For Non-Vegetarian version:
    • Use chicken stock for the broth
    • Chicken topping: use shredded rotisserie chicken or stir fry chicken breast pieces with some soy sauce, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper
    • Sauteed shrimp topping: Stir-fry peeled deveined shrimp in hot oil with minced ginger, minced garlic, ground pepper and salt.
  • For Vegan Version:
    • Use stir fry tofu for the topping
  • For a pure vegetarian version:
    • Don’t use the fried egg as a garnish
  • The rice noodles can be replaced with Ramen noodles or Maggi that is popular in India, ditch the seasoning that comes with the package and just use the noodles
  • Instead of just soy sauce I like using a soy sauce reduction because the flavor is more intense
  • Use a tea steeper to add spices to the broth, to skip the straining step
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Fried Quinoa

Nasi Goreng, Chaufa, Khao Pad, Sinangag, Buteko bhaath, Htamin Gyaw, Arroz Fritto… all different names and variations of the most cooked dish in the world, Fried Rice. While the dish originates from China, it has become popular across the world for its versatility and ease of cooking. A classic way of whipping something delicious from left over rice and in my case all those half used vegetables sitting in the fridge.

Like every household in the world, fried rice is a favorite in our household too and is a regular on our dinner table. But every now and then I feel it’s time for some clean eating, so I make a simple swap – high protein quinoa instead of the carb heavy rice.

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I love fried rice and fried quinoa with loads and loads of vegetables cooked just enough so that it doesn’t feel raw but still remain crunchy. This does a few things – (a) adds a whole lot of color to the dish making it look so pretty when served, (b) the flavor they add to the dish, (c) the texture of crunchy vegetables with soft quinoa (or rice) and (d) then there is also the thing called nutrition.

I get my vegetables from the local farmers market and mostly cook with fresh produce but on occasions after long (12-16 hour) workdays I have reached inside my freezer and cooked this with frozen vegetables as well. It tastes just as good, just lacks crunchiness.

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Time for Prep: 10 mins     Time to Cook: 15 mins     Yield: 4-5 Servings     Level: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa, uncooked.
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 inch ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, thick slices
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1/4 cup cauliflower, chopped
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp black pepper, ground
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped

Process: 

  1. Cooking the Quinoa:
    1. Rinse the quinoa first always, this helps wash away the bitter coating. Make sure to use a fine mesh strainer.
    2. Heat a sauce pan, melt 1/2 tbsp of butter, add the quinoa and sauté for a couple mins. This really brings out a slight nutty flavor.
    3. Add salt and 1/2 tbsp ground black pepper, 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 10- 15 mins in low heat or till all of the water is absorbed by the quinoa.
    4. Turn of the heat and let it sit for 5-10 mins before fluffing it with a fork.
  2. Cooking the Vegetables:
    1. Heat oil in a wok, add the vegetables (except scallions), ginger and sauté in high heat for 4-5 mins, just so that the rawness goes but they still retain the crunchiness.
  3. Add the cooked quinoa, chopped scallions and the remaining butter, stir it in and cook for another minute or so.
  4. Pour the soy sauce, around the edges of the wok and gently fold it in.
  5. Remove from heat, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Notes:

  • Cook the Quinoa like how you would cook Risotto. Add some chopped garlic and onions to some butter along with (rinsed and drained) quinoa. Mix and coat with oil and dry roast for a few mins before adding the liquid little at a time, stirring every batch of liquid, until its cooked through.
  • You can also use Broth to cook quinoa for extra flavor.
  • Spread cooked quinoa in a baking sheet and chill it in the refrigerator for 15-20 mins. This takes care of any residual moisture and gives the dish a more fried texture. The same holds true if you are using rice as well.