This Coconut Mushroom Noodle Soup is a reflection of what I've been craving with our moody "summer" weather in Sausalito. Mushrooms float in a simple but rich and fragrant ginger coconut broth with cubed tofu. Ladle this over rice noodles and you’ve got a quick, simple and satisfying meal for your back-to-work/school routine this fall.Read More
Every time I make this noodle bowl I wonder why I don't make it more often. It's umami-rich, it's warming, slurp-y, crunchy, and noodle-y. What's missing? Nothing. But the truth is,.....Read More
If you are one of those who think soup is boring because you get the same taste spoonful after spoonful, then this noodle bowl is for you. There may seem to be a disparate range of ingredients here, but they come together to compliment each other nicely in this particular soup. Besides being pleasantly feeling, it is a really fun dish to put on the table. And the work, if you can even call it that, comes mostly in prepping the toppings. There are bits of this and that that keep the soup exciting for the eyes and taste buds and make it one of those dishes where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I'm talking about the magical yin and yang balance of spicy chipotle with rich umami-flavored miso freshened by bright lime, crunchy sweet roasted cashews with creamy fresh avocado and chewy paneer, and finally the slurping of noodles in a warming broth.
For me food often mimics life. This bowl reminds me that seemingly unrelated ingredients harmonize in the end if I know my end goal, give a little thoughtful attention, and trust the process. Days can feel scattered, months can blend together, but knowing what I am working towards gives me clarity, direction and focus.
Here's to a new week filled with clarity and direction for us all!
Chipotle Miso Noodle Soup
Notes: Go for a darker, aged red or brown miso here. The richness will hold it's own against the smoky chipotle and paprika. I use black rice noodles but other noodles also work well: whole wheat spaghetti, udon, soba, brown or regularrice noodles.
- Knob of coconut oil (or ghee)
- 2 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 6 cups water
- 1 medium head broccoli
- 3 Tbsp. red or brown miso
- 1 tsp. honey
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 package paneer
- 250 gr. black rice noodles (cooked al dente)
- Avocado, cubed
- Cashews, toasted
- Basil and/or cilantro
- Prepare paneer: Set oven to broil. If paneer is one thick block, slice into approximately 1/4" planks. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, spread a thin layer of coconut oil on top (optional), and broil in top third section of oven until just beginning to brown around the edges (~5 minutes). Flip over to brown on other side (~1-2 minutes). Let cool slightly to firm back up, then cut into cubes.
- Cut broccoli into small florets and chop tender stem.
- In a soup pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat and add chipotle powder and paprika. Coat spices in oil and toast until fragrant (~30 seconds). Add water and broccoli and simmer until broccoli is crisp tender (5-8 minutes). Remove from heat.
- In a separate bowl mix miso with a ladle of soup broth until dissolved, then pour into soup and stir to combine. Add honey, lime, then taste to balance flavors adding more miso or honey if needed.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with paneer, noodles, avocado, cashews, and herbs. Enjoy with a spoon and fork!
This week I'm sending this recipe over to Deena for her Fabulous Fusion FoodChallenge
On Saturday we woke to a fresh layer of snow and good news of the second Boston marathon bombing suspect being captured...alive. What a relief that this saga has ended. My heart goes out to everyone affected and the pain, shock, and grief they are experiencing. But more uplifting is to witness the resilience and strength of the human spirit and how people have united to support and defend.
Our Saturday also ended on a high note, literally. We attended a live performance by a German pop singer named Annett Louisan. She has a unique musical style incorporating jazz, blues, soul, and swing.
Here, here, and here are a few of her songs. Music, rhythm, and dance can transcend cultures and languages, so even though we could not understand much of the lyrics, we understood the emotion of the songs through the singer's universally-meaningful expressions and the rhythm of music.
Another highlight of this past week was making this Vietnamese-inspired noodle soup. On two separate occasions I recently had Pho (Vietnamese noodles in a spicy broth) and a Vietnamese rice bowl, both having cooked and raw, sweet and sour components playing off of each other. These dishes, with an explosion of flavor in every bite, reminded me how enjoyable and intriguing Vietnamese street food is with their multiple layers of flavors and textures.
But I wasn't completely satisfied to only enjoy these dishes out. I wanted to know I could bring some of those flavor combinations and preparation techniques to my own kitchen but in an uncomplicated and accessible way. A way that would not require I stock an entire Asian pantry of hard-to-find ingredients and that I wouldn't feel daunted by complicated preparation. So this is what evolved; a chili and citrus-flavored broth topped with noodles, crunchy lime-spiked carrot salad, sweet and smoky barbecued tempeh (fermented soy) and a scattering of fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and a squeeze of lime.
It is a meal in a bowl, and it is absolutely a fork AND spoon kind of dish. I have to say it hits all the right notes. Yes there are several components: noodles, broth, protein, raw salad. But that is what makes the dish so flavorful and dynamic. Plus several components can be made ahead, if desired. The important thing to note here is that substitutions are very easy and in fact I encourage them because there's bound to be variation in personal preferences and accessibility. Suggestions are mentioned in the recipe.
Vietnamese-Inspired Noodle Soup
Notes: This makes great leftovers too. Store all components separately and assemble when ready to eat.
- Red curry broth (recipe below)
- Package brown rice noodles (or regular rice noodles, spaghetti, etc), cooked according to package directions
- Raw carrot salad (recipe below)
- Sweet & smoky tempeh (recipe below)
- Toppings: bean sprouts, fresh cilantro & mint (chopped), toasted cashews, lime
- Ladle broth in a wide, shallow bowl. Top with a portion of noodles, carrot salad, tempeh, and sprinkle around bean sprouts, herbs, cashews, and a squeeze of lime.
Red Curry Broth
Makes 9 cups
Notes: This can be made up to a day ahead. For easy cleanup, cool and store directly in the soup pot, then reheat the pot on the stove when you're ready to make the meal.
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup red curry paste (recipe below) or 1/4+ cup store bought
- 2 1/4 quarts/9 cups/2.1 liters liquid (combination of water and vegetable stock)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets and tender stem thinly sliced
- In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and add red curry paste. If using store-bought curry paste, taste first to gauge level of spiciness and concentration of flavor, and start with 1/4 cup. Cook paste in oil for a minute.
- Add liquid, cover, and bring to a boil. Taste and add salt and/or more curry paste (if using store-bought), if needed. The broth should be a red hue and flavorful. Simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Add broccoli and simmer for 5 more minutes, covered.
Red Curry Paste
Makes ~1/2 cup
Notes: Store-bought paste such as Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste may be substituted, but you may need to adjust the amount needed for the broth depending on level of spiciness and concentration of flavor. Start with 1/4 cup and adjust from there.
- 8 dried mild Thai red chilies, de-stemmed and soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes
- 2 lemongrass stalks (or zest and juice of one lemon)
- 1 small red onion, quartered
- Small bunch fresh cilantro (with tender stems)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar/distilled vinegar)
- 1 tsp. natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)
- 2-3 Tbsp. water from soaking chilies
- Prepare lemongrass, if using. Remove the hard root end and the green stem. You only want the white portion of the stalk. Make a shallow cut down the white stalk lengthwise and discard the outermost layer to expose the softer core. Coarsely chop the core to make easier work for the blender.
- Remove chilies from soaking water, and add them along with the remaining ingredients to a small food processor, blender, or hand immersion blender. Blend until smooth, adding a touch more of the soaking water if it is too thick to blend.
Raw Carrot Salad
Makes 2 cups
Notes: Buy pre-shredded vegetables to save time. This can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. However, if using cucumber store separately and drain away any excess water that may have accumulated in the bowl before combining with the salad.
- Juice from 1 juicy lime
- 1 tsp. maple syrup (or natural cane sugar/brown sugar)
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup carrots, shredded
- 1 cup celeriac, shredded (or English cucumber cut in short matchsticks/shredded daikon radish/shredded jicama)
- In the bottom of a medium bowl mix together lime juice, syrup, olive oil, and salt. Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine.
Sweet & Smokey Tempeh
Adapted from My New Roots
Notes: You can substitute other sources of protein such as tofu or chicken, but note that baking times will vary.
- 1 package tempeh 7oz. / 200g
- 1 Tbsp. tamari (or soy sauce)
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar (or white wine/distilled vinegar)
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
- Preheat oven to 375F/190C
- Slice tempeh into slabs or rounds, depending on its shape.
- Add the remaining ingredients to a shallow oven-proof dish and whisk to combine. Add tempeh to the liquid, gently turning to coat all sides.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, turning tempeh over half way through, until it begins to caramelize and most marinade is absorbed.