Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Asian Noodle Soup

This recipe by Robin Robertson was recently highlighted on the VegNews site.

I love Asian-inspired cuisine, and was intrigued by the kick of hot sauce in here, which I knew my boyfriend would like!

This soup has a wonderful group of flavors that work well together. It's a really delicious, hearty soup!


Asian Noodle Soup

What You'll Need
8 ounces rice noodles
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp hoisin sauce*
2 tbsp soy sauce
5 cups vegetable broth or water*
3/4 cup seitan or extra-firm tofu, cut into 2 x 1/4-inch strips
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp Asian hot sauce*
3 scallions, minced
1 cup fresh bean sprouts*
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro*

*see my tips and tricks, below, for additional suggestions

What You'll Need to Do
Boil a pot of water and cook the noodles until they reach desired tenderness. Drain them and rinse under cold water, then put aside.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and cover, cooking about 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook an additional 30 seconds. Add the hoisin sauce and soy sauce, then stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the tofu or seitan, noodles, rice vinegar and hot sauce, and let simmer another 5 minutes (to heat it through and allow the flavors to meld). Once poured into it serving bowl, top with scallions, bean sprouts and cilantro. Serve hot, of course!

Tips and Tricks
Hoisin sauce is a commonly-used Asian sauce. It might seem like a bit of a splurge, but it's not too expensive, especially at an Asian market. It's also a great investment--it makes an excellent dipping sauce and is also a great addition to stir-fry!

Vegetable broth
This recipe calls for vegetable broth or water. Many soup recipes offer this option, but why add plain old water when vegetable broth will provide so much more flavor? You can always make your own broth (definitely the best way to go in terms of more flavor and less preservatives), or check out some of the vegan options available at the grocery store (I like Imagine and Pacific brands the best). Another alternative, if you want to cut back on your sodium intake a bit (or save space in your kitchen!), is to buy vegan bouillon cubes (I like the Rapunzel brand).

Hot sauce
Yay for Asian hot sauce! We love Sriracha. My boyfriend is a big fan of spicy foods, and with this recipe we could easily spice our soups according to personal preference. We both ended up adding more than the 2 tsp the recipe calls for, but I'd say that's a good starting point. It has a little kick but is not overwhelming.

I skipped the bean sprouts and the cilantro. I'm not a big fan of too many garnishes, and I found the chives added just the right amount of texture.

This recipe calls for a high noodle to broth ratio. Next time around I'll definitely add more broth, I might even consider doubling it (and doubling the seasoning accordingly).

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