Quick and Easy Spicy Noodle Soup

Today’s recipe fits in well with today’s theme of “your easy cook meal”. Last year there was a similar prompt of “quick, easy and delicious” for which I made these zucchini and sweet potato fritters with sumac yoghurt. This time I’m sharing an Asian inspired soup that is (in my opinion) equally quick, easy and delicious.

I always have various ingredients on hand to make a noodle soup of this nature, and it’s great as it’s a really flexible meal. You can easily mix up some of the flavours with different sauces and spices, and use whatever veggies you have – depending on how I’m feeling and what I’ve got I might use broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, spinach or bean sprouts. A squeeze of fresh lime never goes astray either. But the point is, it’s a satisfying meal that can be whipped up fairly quickly and without too much stress.

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Spicy Noodle Soup

(Serves 2)

2 tsp sesame oil
4 button mushrooms, sliced (approx 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
2 birds eye chillis, minced (or less, according to your taste)
3 cups veggie stock

200g firm tofu, sliced into small rectangles
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp mirin
2 instant noodle cakes (approx 150g)
1 carrot, sliced with julienne peeler
2 small bunches bok choy, ends removed

Optional garnishes:
Spring onion
Fresh coriander
Black sesame seeds
Garlic chilli sauce
Sriracha

Heat 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil in a pan over medium high heat and add tofu. Cook until golden brown on most sides, approx 10 minutes. Turn off heat, and pour 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce over. Set aside.

While this is happening, heat the other teaspoon of sesame oil in a decent sized pot over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute for approx 1 minute. Add garlic, ginger and chilli and saute for another 30 seconds, being careful not to let them stick. Add vegetable stock, the other 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and mirin, and bring to a boil. Turn down and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Prepare other veggies and garnishes while waiting.

Add noodle cakes and cook according to packet, until tender. Turn off heat and add bok choy to the pot, covering with a lid to allow to steam slightly.

Divide noodles and bok choy between two bowls and pour over liquid. Add tofu, carrot and desired garnishes.

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Smoky Minestrone Soup with Pesto

As we reach winter solstice and the temperature keeps dropping, there’s nothing quite like a hot and hearty bowl of soup to keep you warm. It’s been a while since I’ve had minestrone, my main memories of it are from cold weekends when Mum or Nanna would cook up a big pot for the family. It always seemed a bit special to me that there was cooking going on for lunch, and we’d all sit at the table to eat.

Smoked paprika gives this one a little more depth of flavour, and the pesto just ties it all together beautifully. I like to sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top too just for good measure (not to mention those B vitamins!)

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Smoky Minestrone Soup with Pesto
(serves 6-8)

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 x 400g cans diced tomato
6 cups vegetable stock
3 carrots, diced (approx 2 cups)
2 stalks celery, diced (approx 2 cups)
1 large zucchini, diced (approx 2 1/2 cups)
2 potatoes, diced (approx 2 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans
1 cup macaroni or other small pasta
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili flakes
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Pesto:
1 cup tightly packed basil
2 Tbsp pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Pinch of salt

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, carrot and celery and saute until softened – about five minutes. Add zucchini, potato, green beans, paprika, chili flakes and thyme and saute for another minute.

Add tomatoes and vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until potato is tender – about 15-20 minutes. Turn up to bring to a boil again and add macaroni, chickpeas and cannellini beans. Reduce heat and continue to simmer until pasta cooked, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom.

While cooking, prepare the pesto: place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined. Set aside.

Once pasta cooked, stir in tomato paste, fresh parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serve up and top with pesto.

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Music for your Mouth: Soup Dragons

Soup Dragons are a band who I really only discovered through MoFo. I know a couple of their songs by ear, but never knew of the artist. I was originally going to feature Bowling for Soup – a band I listened to as a teen – but when I found out that the Soup Dragons did a cover of this Rolling Stones song I had to include it – it’s such a feel good classic. I love it!

soup1This recipe needs a bit more tweaking – I’m not quite happy with the flavour, however I’m on a roll with posting recipes every day for this MoFo and I don’t want to break it – this is the only one I have ready for tonight. And I’m free! To do what I want! Any old tiiiime. I will probably come back to it later and edit it once I get the balance right. Perhaps roasting the pumpkin first might help?

The inspiration came from a soup that was made for my work’s weekly Thursday winter soup day that was absolutely delicious – I will have to see if I can track down the recipe to see what mine is missing.

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Miso and Ginger Pumpkin Soup
(serves 4-6)

1 brown onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp ginger, minced
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Butternut pumpkin, peeled and diced (approx 1kg)
4 potatoes, diced (approx 500g)
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 litre vegetable stock
1/2 – 1 tsp cayenne pepper
3 Tbsp brown rice miso
Salt and white pepper to taste
2 spring onions, chopped (for garnish)
2 Tbsp black sesame seeds, toasted (for garnish)
Wasabi (optional)

In a large pot over medium-high, heat coconut oil and throw in the onions. Cook until translucent – approximately five minutes, before adding the garlic and ginger. Saute for a minute or two, being careful not to let the garlic and ginger burn.

Add pumpkin, potatoes and carrots and cover with veggie stock. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cover. Cook until the veggies become tender.

Transfer to blender (or use a stick blender) and blend until smooth.

Return to pot and add miso, cayenne and salt and pepper. Stir through.

Serve with spring onions, toasted sesame seeds and a blob of wasabi if you’re into that. I know I am.

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I’m free, any old time to get what I want, yes I am!

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Warming Pumpkin Soup

So I’ve been out of touch a while…we’ve been having some awesome adventures which I’ll talk more about later. We’re in country Queensland at the moment – yes! – we made it over the border at last. Just a quick post to say I’m still here – I had an awesome cannelloni recipe to share (my best one to date!) but I lost the paper napkin I wrote it on…I’m hoping it shows up in the van somewhere. I know, keeping information on a paper napkin is not ideal. Instead, I’ve got a quick and easy one for you – a pumpkin soup I made in the van last night. We were given a whole pumpkin a few days ago, so we used the opportunity we had being plugged into power at the Chinchilla Weir to whizz up this one. We only have one smallish pot, so we had to make do with whatever would fit. I know everybody has their own spin on pumpkin soup (I like a healthy dash of white pepper, or some red or green thai curry paste), but this one is a simple one that can be tweaked however you like.

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Pumpkin Soup
(serves 4)

Half a medium sized pumpkin, peeled and chopped
1 medium potato, chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
Thumb of ginger (about one inch), minced
Vegetable stock (enough to cover veggies)
1/2-1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a medium to large saucepan. Add onion and saute over medium heat for a couple of minutes until softened. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant.

Add curry powder, cumin and cayenne pepper and cook for about 30 seconds, before adding pumpkin and potato. If you have the space and feel like a thicker soup, throw a couple more potatoes in. Fill with enough veggie stock to cover the vegetables.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Allow to cook until veggies are soft enough to mash. Add salt and pepper, then get your whizz stick and mix until smooth (or transfer to a blender – but remember to let it cool a little first so there’s no soup explosions!). And voila! Ready to eat! We toasted some garlic bread under the grill to dip in and topped with plenty of pepper and cayenne as I like it spicy.

Enjoy!