Saturday, April 9, 2011

Noodle Soup

It’s funny how dishes come into being. Several weeks ago, I started a hunt for udon noodle soup recipes, and found nothing really inspiring. So, I forgot about it for awhile. Then, I was at the Asian market, and found the udon noodles, and then forgot about it for awhile. A couple weeks ago, I actually had udon noodle soup at a Japanese restaurant in San Francisco, and it was pretty good, but I knew I could do better. Finally, this past weekend, as we were driving to the grocery store, my Mom pointed out a noodle place and suggested it for dinner. I responded that I didn’t know anything about it; was it good? It turns out that she meant making noodles for dinner, not eating at that restaurant. All the pieces had finally converged and the conditions seemed right for noodle soup.

Winging it has had varied results for me in the past; see my first attempt at wonton soup. But, I’ve learned some things in the past year, and have a few more tricks up my sleeve. This soup is definitely one of my best results; light, fresh, and so good for you, and it tastes amazing to boot!

Noodle Soup

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1 carrot, sliced diagonally, 1/4” thick
1 cup mushrooms (you can use pretty much whatever kind you want)
1/4 cup Chinese Rice Wine
1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/4” strips
1 cup snow peas
3 to 4 heads baby bok choy, chopped roughly
2 zucchini, halved and sliced 1/4” thick
1 package extra firm tofu, diced into 1/2” cubes
1 pound fresh udon noodles
4 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon chili garlic paste
Sliced Green Onions for garnish
Cilantro for garnish

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and ginger, and fry for 1 minute. Add the carrots and mushrooms, and sauté until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the stuck bits. Add the bell pepper, snow peas, bok choy, zucchini, tofu, and stock. Bring to a boil. Add the noodles, soy sauce, lime and chili-garlic paste. Simmer for about 3 minutes, until the noodles are tender. Taste for seasoning, and add more soy or lime if necessary. Scoop into large bowls and top with cilantro, green onion, and a wedge of lime. Enjoy!

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