When the weather outside is wet and windy, nothing like coming home to a bowl of a fragrant warm soup, full of flavour and satisfying for the tummy and soul.
I have had a packet of udon noodles lying around for some time now but had almost but forgotten about them, once that I had picked up from a specialist store selling asian groceries. Today, when I was rummaging through my pantry looking for something to whip up for a quick lunch, there they were, poking out under half a dozen packs of dry pasta. Usually I would probably do a quick stir fry but today I felt like having a warm Asian inspired soup with noodles and crunchy vegetables just like the one I have at one of my favourite Chinese restaurants.
The best thing about this soup has to be the broth. The reason I have called this an ‘asian style’ soup, is because this is somewhere in between a vietnamese pho and a Thai Tom Yum. Absolutely brimming with flavour without being OTP, that you could smell it from the lift lobby. Once you have the base ready, one could pretty much add any vegetables or proteins you fancy. I added what was in my fridge but you can totally customise it…prawns, tofu, shredded chicken.
The Udon noodles when paired with the aromatic broth is so satisfying and hearty that you got to try this. Due to its meaty texture, it beautifully soaks in all the flavours of the broth and lends a totally fulfilling experience. The crunchy veggies against the soft noodles swimming in a light clear soup with fresh herbs and chillies is a clear winner – warm and comforting for cold days yet equally light and refreshing for a mid summer lunch.
- Udon Noodles – 1/2 packet / 200 grams
- Carrots – 1, julienned
- Button Mushrooms – 8-10, chopped into thick slices
- Baby corn – 8-10, cut into halls or left whole
- Vegetable stock – 500 ml
- Fresh ginger – 1 inch, slice
- Garlic – a couple of pods, peeled and crushed
- Cloves – 3-4 ( spice)
- Lemon Grass – 1 stock, chopped
- Red chillies – 1 large, sliced
- Basil and coriander – a small handful, roughly torn
- Toasted Sesame oil – to drizzle over ( optional)
- Bring the stock to slow boil in a large pot with the sliced ginger, cloves, garlic pods, lemon grass, coriander and basil stocks and a few slices of the red chilli ( preserving the remaining to garnish). Once they start to boil, cover and simmer covered for about 15 minutes till the stock reduces and you can smell the wonderful aroma through out your home. Fish out the ginger, chillies, cloves, garlic and lemon grass and discard. Add the julienned carrots, mushrooms and baby corn or any other vegetables of your choice to simmering broth and blanch for no more than a couple of minutes and keep warm;
- Meanwhile, in a another pot of boiling water, cook the udon noodles according to the package instructions till al dente, rinse with cold water to stop it from over- cooking and keep aside;
- To serve, place a small heap of noodles in a soup bowl, pour in a couple of ladles of the hot broth along with vegetables, garnish with red chilli slices, lemon wedges, coriander, basil and drizzle with toasted sesame oil;
- You can substitute the vegetable stock with any other fish or chicken stock for the carnivorous;
- Ensure that you do not overcook the noodles, they need to have a bite to them; similarly with the vegetables, they must be crunchy and retain their colour;
- You can choose to add cinnamon and star anise to title this more towards a vietnamese pho;
- You can make the broth and refrigerate for upto two days and just heat it up with your preferred vegetables, proteins and/or noodles;