chinese hot & sour soup

When Justin from Marx Foods contacted me about participating in “A Chile & A Spoon” Blogger Recipe Challenge, I accepted immediately – I love a good challenge and I love anything with some spice. As I considered what to make Asian foods kept coming to mind. I am after all, still obsessed with all flavors Asian. So I turned to the Internet and determined the essential flavors and ingredients of a classic hot & sour soup.

This Chinese classic had phenomenal flavor. It is spicy from the chilies, sour from the vinegar and savory from the chicken broth and Asian sauces. The pork and meaty mushrooms take this soup from starter to meal, and it is definitely substantial enough for a meal.

Chinese Hot & Sour Soup - 4 servings

  • dried chilies (I used Japones Chilies, a medium heat Asian Chile)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 lb pork loin, thinly sliced into bite size pieces
  • 8 oz exotic mushrooms (mix of baby bella, oyster and shitake), sliced
  • 3 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 can bamboo sprouts
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 eggs, whisked together
  • green onions, thinly sliced

Soak chilies in boiling water for at least 30 minutes. Drain from water.

Heat oil in wok and when hot add pork, stirring frequently for about 3-4 minutes.

Prepare sauce: combine vinegars, fish and soy sauce and sesame oil.

Add mushrooms, ginger, bamboo sprouts and sauce to wok. Cook for another 4-5 minutes. Add chicken broth and chilies. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Prepare cornstarch: mix 1 tsp cornstarch with 2 tsp water. Add to soup mixture and  stir well.

Taste soup – at this point I added a touch of salt, pepper and 1 tsp of sriracha.

While stirring soup, pour eggs into wok. Divide into soup bowls.

Garnish with green onions and a chile pepper.


thanksgiving 2010: turkey noodle soup

The big question after Thanksgiving is always what to make with the leftovers. Growing up, we always spent Thanksgiving in Milwaukee and the Friday after, we always had turkey sandwiches on little potato buns with crunchy lettuce and a bit of mayo. While sandwiches are fine and often appreciated, this year I wanted to do something a little different and I finally wanted to tackle something I’ve been putting off for the last year: noodles from scratch.

My noodles need some work, these were more like dumplings, but I did what I could without a rolling pin and I promise you next time they’ll look more like noodles. :) If you don’t feel like making your own noodles, you could always just add 2-3 cups cooked whole grain noodles right before serving.

The best thing about soup is that it easily freezes – meaning I can wait to eat it until I feel like turkey again – in March.

Turkey Noodle Soup - about 6 servings

  • entire leftover turkey (I removed most of the meat – you’ll be surprised by how much falls off when making the broth)
  • 2 white onions
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 5 large carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp sage, 1/2 tsp parsley and 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups shredded turkey
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg + 1/2 egg yolk
  • 2-3 Tbsp water

    Prepare the Broth: Cover turkey carcass in large pan. Chop one onion into large pieces and add them to water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 3 hours. When cool, strain all the liquid out and separate meat and bones. Set aside meat and discard bones.

    Prepare the Soup: Mince remaining onion. Heat olive oil in large pan and when hot, add onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Season with salt & pepper and remaining spices.  Stir occasionally for about 5 minutes.

    Add 12 cups of broth and the shredded turkey to the pot. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about an hour.

    Prepare the noodles: Combine flour and salt in bowl. Form a well in the center. Add egg, yolk and water (start with 2 Tbsp, add more if need-be) and mix together with fork. Knead for about 5 minutes on a floured surface. Set aside. Roll into thin pieces and cut into desired shapes. Boil in salted water for about 8-10 minutes.

    Add noodles to soup and taste. Add more salt and/or seasonings if necessary, remember the broth doesn’t have any!



    curried lentil soup with cilantro yogurt

    I would be lying if I told you that when the Taster asked, “What’s for dinner tonight?” and “Lentil soup” was the answer, that he was exactly thrilled.  In my constant struggle to not eat as much meat, I had planned this vegetarian dinner and my meat-loving husband-to-be wasn’t exactly feeling “Meatless Monday.”

    The warm and creamy flavor, the flavorful spices and good for you lentils make for a very healthy, high in fiber and protein, low-fat soup. The cilantro yogurt adds an extra dose of protein and flavor, definitely not an addition you want to leave out. And while lentil soup may not be for everyone, it turned out to be a perfectly satisfying meal – without any meat.

    Turns out we had a leftover truffle burger so the Taster ate that along with the soup, it tastes much more amazing than it looks, and everyone was happy. Tout est bien qui finit bien. (All’s well that ends well)

    Curried Lentil Soup with Cilantro Yogurt - 6 servings – adapted from Bon Appétit

    • 2 small yellow onions, chopped
    • 6 cloves garlic, minced
    • 4 carrots, cut on a diagonal
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tsp hot curry powder
    • 1 tsp garam masala
    • 1 tsp smoked paprika
    • 3 1/2 cups red lentils
    • 8 cups broth (chicken or veggie)
    • 1 head kale, chopped into 1 inch pieces
    • 2 cups greek yogurt
    • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
    • 1 tsp coriander

    To Prepare Soup:

    Heat olive oil in large pot. Add onions, garlic and carrots, sauteing for about 10 minutes, until onions are translucent.

    Add spices and saute for about 2 minutes.

    Add lentils and broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for about 30 minutes.

    Add kale to soup and season with salt and pepper. Let simmer for another 15-20 minutes.

    To Prepare Cilantro Yogurt:

    Combine yogurt, cilantro and coriander. Set aside until serving.


    review: annie chun’s pho

    At times I find myself with the skepticism of my Father and Annie Chun’s packaged Pho was the most recent to fall prey to my budding skepticism. As in, I really didn’t have high hopes. My favorite soup out of a plastic cornstarch bowl? My favorite soup that I couldn’t even get right after hours and hours over the stove? But, I’ll try anything once for the sake of my readers. ;) And my curiosity.

    Well, I’m here to say that I was wrong on my early skepticism. This was surprisingly good. Sure, it didn’t have wierd meatballs, fresh bean sprouts or herbs, but the flavor was so close to the Pho I love and I slurped with content.

    Fan of:

    • the surprisingly, savory pho flavor
    • requires only boiling water
    • packaging is made of corn starch instead of plastic

    Wished:

    • there wasn’t so much sodium – it is 80% of the daily value!
    • there was more protein (I think I’ll try adding some tofu next time)
    • it was a bit more filling (I need to balance the meal better and add a little fat – I had it with a salad which just wasn’t enough – hummus and veggies next time!)

     

    Here’s the issue that I have – the nutrition stats are ok – for an entire lunch but I still questioned how this would leave me feeling after I ate it.  Hungry 5 minutes after eating it? Hungry in an hour? My recent trip to Haiti however makes me think twice about my “hunger” so I decided to slow down, have a cup of tea and then decide how I felt. Partially because I think there are times when I think I’m hungry but it isn’t really hunger that I’m feeling and partially because I was really crossing my fingers that this would keep me full enough to add into the lunch rotation.

    It wasn’t as filling as I would like my lunches to be, but next time I’ll try adding some protein or pairing it with something more filling. I think this Pho can have its place – every once in a while.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size 1/2 Bowl (85g)
    Servings Per Container About 2
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 220  Calories from Fat 10
    %Daily Value*
    Total Fat 1g 2%
    Saturated Fat 0g 0%
    Cholesterol 0mg 0%
    Sodium 970mg 40%
    Total Carbohydrates 45g 15%
    Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
    Sugars 3g  
    Protein 6g  
    Vitamin A 2% Vitamin C 4%
    Calcium 2% Iron 4%
    *Percentage Daily Values based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

     

    What do you think of the nutrition stats? Would this be an acceptable lunch for you?