THIS LIGHT SOUP, a standard in Japanese meals, comes together quickly. It makes an easy start to any meal, or a last-minute lunch if served with a salad.
6 cups Kombu Broth
½ cup mellow white miso
½ cup chopped green onion (white and green parts)
Bring the kombu broth to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer 1 cup of the broth to a small bowl. Add the miso to the bowl and whisk the mixture until is smooth and creamy. Add the miso mixture to the pot. Add the green onion and cook over low heat for another 2 minutes, or until heated through.
Add 1½ cups cooked spinach or 1½ cups sliced mushrooms with the green onion.
Thai Noodle Soup
ONCE THE INGREDIENTS are prepped for this soup, the dish comes together quickly. Sautéing the vegetables first shortens the stewing time, so there’s no need to spend long hours over a soup pot. This is a great one-pot meal that makes serving dinner a snap.
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 cups sliced bok choy
4 cups Vegetable Stock, or low-sodium vegetable stock
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 serrano chile, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds (for less heat, remove the seeds)
6 ounces brown rice noodles, cooked according to package directions, drained, and kept warm
1 cup mung bean sprouts
½ cup chopped cilantro
1. Place the onion, carrot, and mushrooms in a medium pot and sauté for 7 to 8 minutes. Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan. Add the garlic, ginger, bok choy, vegetable stock, soy sauce, lime zest and juice, and serrano chile. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes.
2. To serve, divide the noodles between four individual bowls. Pour the broth over the ingredients and garnish with the mung bean sprouts and cilantro.
Thai Vegetable Soup
Recipe by Judy Micklewright
THIS PUNGENT THAI-STYLE soup is sweet, sour, and spicy. The vegetables in this dish create a soup rich in nutrients, flavor, and color. Added sweetener is generally an integral part of this soup, but this version is naturally sweetened by the yams and sweet potato. Cut the yams and potato into rather large chunks so that they do not fully break down into the soup. If you do not have fresh coconut, substitute unsweetened shredded coconut.
SERVES 4 TO 6
Coconut water from 3 young coconuts, or about 3½ cups of your favorite coconut water
Coconut meat scraped from ½ coconut (about 4 to 6 ounces), optional
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1½-inch pieces
2 yams, peeled and cut into 1½-inch pieces
1 small butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, and cubed
2 small carrots, peeled and diced
¼ pound shiitake or cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
3 stalks of lemongrass (bottom white part only), halved and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 jalapeño peppers, halved and seeded
3 kaffir lime leaves
½ medium onion, peeled and diced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and scored
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Juice from 2 large limes (about ½ cup)
1½ tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1½ teaspoons ground coriander
Pinch white pepper
3 cups spinach (about ½ pound), coarsely chopped
1½ cups snow peas, trimmed
1. Add the coconut water and coconut meat to a blender and puree on high.
2. In a large stockpot, combine the pureed coconut, sweet potato, yams, butternut squash, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, jalapeño pepper, kaffir lime leaves, onion, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, coriander, and white pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the spinach and snow peas and cook for 1 minute.
3. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove and discard the lemongrass, ginger, lime leaves, and jalapeños. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately (best served piping hot).
If you do not have both yams and a sweet potato on hand, one or the other will do, but you may need to adjust the potato or yam quantity to balance the sweetness and sourness of the soup. The soup will get sweeter as the potato melts into the soup, and yams give off more natural sugar than sweet potatoes. If you find the soup is not sour enough for your taste, just add more lime juice or, if you run out of lime juice, a small amount of rice wine vinegar will work. Since jalapeño peppers may vary in spiciness, start out with 1 jalapeño and add more according to your personal taste.
Tom Yum Goong (Thai Hot-and-Sour Soup)
TOM YUM GOONG is usually made with chicken stock, and often includes both shrimp and a fish sauce called nam pla. Shopping for this soup takes more effort than preparing it, but it is well worth it. Many grocery stores have well-stocked Asian sections, but you can also order ingredients online or seek out Asian grocery stores. When possible, choose fresh lemongrass instead of jarred, and Thai basil instead of the standard Genovese you’ll find in most American markets.
4 cups Vegetable Stock, or low-sodium vegetable broth
4 thin slices fresh ginger
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
Zest and juice of 2 limes
One 14-ounce can lite coconut milk
3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 head baby bok choy, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 cup mung bean sprouts
¼ cup chopped Thai basil
2 Thai red chiles, sliced into thin rounds
In a large saucepan, add the vegetable stock, ginger, lemongrass, curry paste, soy sauce, lime zest and juice, and coconut milk. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Stir in the shallots, tomatoes, bok choy, and carrot. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Remove the ginger and lemongrass and add the mung bean sprouts, basil, and chiles. Serve garnished with cilantro.