With 1-degree wind chills and the first dusting of snow, it only seemed natural to whip up a big pot of soup.
A little urban exploration and camera venture outdoors left my frigid hands wanting nothing more than a warm bowl to hold. My red cheeks were longing for that steam-filled facial, too.
And so began the soup-making.
Originally, this was designed to be a ramen recipe. But when you get to the store and no ramen noodles are to be found, that needn’t be reason to abandon ship.
Instead, I found a funky package of raw kelp noodles laying on the shelf near the empty ramen spot. Resembling cooked rice noodles upon first look, I decided to give it a whirl. Plus, the package sold me on the claim of tons of trace minerals captured inside…
The kelp strands were slightly crunchy – almost like a julienned cucumber – but also smooth and mild like a rice noodle.
I’d eat them again, and would recommend them for this recipe, especially if you’re seeking a light, New-Year-resolution-friendly, goodbye-sickness meal. Although, ramen or rice noodles will certainly work just as well – and play a heartier role.
The broth here gets its flavor from kombu, one of my favorite seaweeds, and also from ginger, garlic and mushrooms. Feel free to play around with dried mushroom and other veggie combinations. But don’t skip the seaweed. It’s chock full of vitamins and minerals, and also able to develop an awesome, vegetarian umami flavor.
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2-inch piece of ginger, minced
- 7 (6-inch x 1-inch) strips of kombu
- 3 cups shiitake mushrooms, diced
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup miso
- 1/3 cup soy sauce + 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. mirin
- 1.5 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- 8 cups of water
- 1 large bok choy, greens and stalks chopped
- 2 cups of bean sprouts
- 14 oz. extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cubed
- 20 oz. of raw kelp noodles (or sub cooked rice noodles or ramen)
- 5 eggs, soft or hard-boiled, halved
- 1 small bunch of scallions, chopped
- Hot sesame oil, to drizzle
- In a large pot, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium high. Add garlic, onion and ginger. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add kombu and mushrooms. Continue to saute for another few minutes, then add 1/3 cup soy sauce and mirin. Cook another few minutes, or until onions are translucent and tender.
- Add sesame oil and water. Cover, and bring to a simmer. Let cook for at least 25 minutes, so that broth can begin to develop flavor.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add tofu, and begin to brown. Once tofu starts to stick, flip, and add 1 Tbsp. of soy sauce. Cook until edges are brown and crispy. Remove from heat.
- Once broth has cooked for at least 25 minutes, add bok choy. Simmer for 6-8 minutes, or until bok choy is tender. Remove from heat and stir in tofu and 1/4 cup miso. If a heavier miso flavor is desired, stir in more.
- Divide noodles among bowls. Use a ladle to pour soup over noodles until covered. Finish with a handful of bean sprouts and 1 egg per bowl. Drizzle hot sesame oil on top. Serve.
If you can't find hot sesame oil to finish off the soup, simply drizzle a little extra toasted sesame oil around the bowl, and serve with Sriracha on the side, if desired.