I always feel like there’s something very healthy and almost cleansing about a steaming bowl of noodle soup, full of crisply cooked vegetables and delicious Asian flavours. It’s the thing I want to eat whenever I feel a bit run down or tired, or if I need something comforting that isn’t stodgy or sweet.
Unfortunately though, DH isn’t much of a fan of soup, and this kind of dish is probably something he would never, ever eat, if I didn’t make it for him.
However, we all enjoy noodles, and we eat lots and lots of stir-fry veggies, so I cooked up the different elements of this dinner separately and everyone was invited to compose their bowl to their own preferences.
I had anticipated that Kipper would go heavy on the noodles, light on the veg, but she surprised me by taking roughly equal amounts of both. At first she didn’t want any of the broth, but once she’d tasted some of mine, she asked for a serving of her own. Result!
DH surprised me too. I’d thought he wouldn’t have any broth at all, but he actually helped himself to a small amount, “just to moisten the vegetables.” Perhaps I’m finally bringing him around to the way of the soup…
As for me, I drenched my noodles and veggies in LOADS of broth. I love its warming, fragrant, coconutty flavour and find it so soothing and calming. I sprinkled a few black sesame seeds on the top too, allegedly for their nutritional value but mostly for decoration. Slurping up soupy noodles is probably one of the most inelegant ways to eat, but it doesn’t half make you feel good!
Giving the family the option of how they ate this dinner was a big winner, and I’ll definitely take this approach again. It meant that I could indulge my love of steamy soups without forcing them on the rest of the family, and everyone left the table happy. We all had variations on a theme, and it was no extra work for me in preparation.
Speaking of which, this really is a doddle to prepare and quick to boot. I can see it becoming a regular fixture on our family menu. Serves 2-3.
- 2 small/medium onions
- 175g baby corn
- 150g mushrooms
- 1 red pepper
- 2 pak choi
- 200g mange tout
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp chopped ginger
- 1 tsp crushed chilli (or to taste)
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 150g medium egg noodles
- 400ml hot vegetable stock
- 50g creamed coconut
- 1 tbsp tamari
- Black sesame seeds (optional) to garnish.
- Peel and slice the onions. Halve the baby corn lengthwise. Thinly slice the mushrooms. Cut the pepper into strips.
- Wash the pak choi and mange tout thoroughly and separate the leaves of the pak choi.
- Peel the garlic and cut into pieces.
- Heat the oil in a wok and add the sliced onions. Cook for a minute or two before adding the corn, mushrooms and pepper, and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add the pak choi leaves, mange tout and garlic, and continue to cook until everything is becoming tender. Finally, add the ginger and chilli and toss well to combine. Cook for a further minute or two then remove from the heat and pour over the sesame oil. Stir well to coat the vegetables.
- Meanwhile, boil the noodles according the the packet instructions. Drain and place in a warm serving bowl.
- To make the broth, combine the stock, creamed coconut and tamari and whisk together over a low heat. Keep warm.
- To serve: Invite diners to combine the noodles, vegetables and broth in a large bowl, according to their preference.
- Offer black sesame seeds, along with extra tamari and toasted sesame oil, to garnish and season to taste.