Best Asian Noodle Soup

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This big beautiful bowl of soup is all you need for a great family dinner!

Can a person every have too many soup recipes???  I think not …. The best part of this recipe is that it is just a guideline for making an amazingly tasty soup out of whatever you have on hand.  The focus here is on the vegetables, so make sure you prepare way more than you think will fit in the pot!

The flavour base is what makes this soup such a keeper.

  • 3 scallions, cut in 3 large pieces
  • 1/2 inch knob of minced ginger
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 6 cups chicken stock/vegetable stock/beef stock/6 inch piece of kombu

 

  • chicken breast/prawns/tofu
  • any amount of vegetables, as many as you think you can get in the pot
  • bean sprouts
  • cooked rice noodles or Chinese wheat noodles

Garnishes:

  • cilantro
  • green onion
  • sesame seeds
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • soy sauce
  • peanut sauce
  • chili oil

Start with a big pot, cover the bottom with a neutral oil and once it has heated up add about a 1/2 inch knob of minced ginger and 3-4 scallions (green onions).  Saute until they have generated a bit of colour and become nicely caramelized.  This is where you start, but from here the sky is the limit.

Add the oyster sauce and heat through, then add your broth.  If you are using the kombu, allow it to soften for at least 30 minutes.

When the broth is hot enough, add any protein you want to use – if using meat, slice it thinly.

Add the vegetables according to how long they take to cook – as in cabbage or bok choy will take a little longer than snap peas or thinly sliced sweet peppers.

I like to serve the noodles prepared and separate from the soup so people can add them as they wish, and that way they don’t get soggy.

This should all come together really quickly once the broth has heated – as in maybe 5 minutes!  When ready to serve stir in bean sprouts and serve with the garnishes so everybody can create the soup bowl of their own dreams.

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Serve with a basket of crispy scallion pancakes for the perfect meal.

 

Korean Tacos

These Korean Beef tacos are incredibly delicious … who would have thought??  Just try them – as a bonus you won’t believe how quick and easy this is.

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KOREAN BEEF

  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces ground beef

CARMELIZED KIMCHI

  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 cup chopped kimchi
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

SRIRACHA MAYONNAISE

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

TACO ASSEMBLY

  • 12 mini flour tortillas
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS:

  1. KOREAN BEEF: In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and ginger.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground beef and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; drain excess fat.
  3. Stir in soy sauce mixture until well combined, allowing to simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes; set aside.
  4. KIMCHI: Heat sesame oil in small skillet over medium high heat. Add kimchi and sugar, and cook, stirring constantly, until caramelized and heated through, about 3-5 minutes; set aside.
  5. SRIRACHA MAYONNAISE: In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, Sriracha and lime juice; set aside.
  6. TACOS: Serve ground beef mixture in tortillas, topped with kimchi, red onion, cilantro and sesame seeds, drizzled with Sriracha mayonnaise.
Korean tacos 1

Kimchi is great, but have you ever had it like this?  Amazing what a little caramelization can do.

I used pork tonight but you can easily use beef, chicken or tofu – it’s the seasoning that will win you over.

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Set everything out and assemble your tacos – serve with a tossed salad and dinner is quick, easy and fantastic.

I got this recipe from Damn Delicious – if you haven’t checked out her blog you definitely should, every recipe I’ve tried has been fantastic.

Vietnamese Rice Bowl

Vietnamese Bowl

Lime juice is used in so many dishes in Vietnam and Cambodia, and we loved it.  Tonight I sautéed the green vegetables with garlic and ginger, once tender I just squeezed fresh lime over and used a generous sprinkle of fresh Kampot pepper – they were so good and fresh.

We’ve just returned from a month in Cambodia and Vietnam and can’t seem to leave those fresh bright flavours behind us.  This rice bowl (or use rice noodles if you like) is delicious – use a variety of different textures and flavours to get the right balance, but whatever you use – make it your own.  The only actual recipe portion of this is the Vietnamese sauce, Nuoc Cham, the rest of it is more of a guideline.

You will need:

  • cooked rice
  • grilled steak (or chicken/prawns/tofu)
  • pickled fresh vegetables
  • sauteed vegetables (tonight I used broccoli, baby bok chow & snap peas)

Garnish:

  • toasted peanuts
  • slivered spring onions
  • rough chopped cilantro/basil/mint
  • toasted sesame seeds

Nuoc Cham Sauce:

  • 2 – 2/12 tbsp sugar (I used palm sugar but you can use white, or maple syrup or honey)
  • 3-4 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup very warm water (warm helps the sugar to dissolve)
  • 2 tsp unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 3-4 tbsp fish sauce

Stir sugar and lime juice together, then add warm water and stir until sugar has dissolved.  Add rice vinegar and fish sauce.  I always start with the lesser amount of sugar, lime juice and fish sauce … adjust as needed when you have it all together.

To assemble, place your rice or rice noodles in the bottom of a bowl, then layer on your other ingredients.  Drizzle Nuoc Cham over and sprinkle with garnishes.  This dish is just as versatile as you want it to be.

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This time the Vietnamese bowl featured rice noodles and chicken.

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Quick pickled vegetables and Nuoc Cham sauce ready to dress up your bowl.

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Put everything out on the table and let everyone create their own bowl.

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Good to the last drop!

 

Flour Tortillas with bacon fat

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Sunday dinner.  Warm, fresh tortillas. Life is good.

Yes, that’s right.  BACON FAT.  So good, you will wonder why you haven’t done it before.  In Mexico pork is featured in so many ways, all good.  (Ever had carnitas??). Well, these tortillas are so darn good Stella told me that I needed to get them on the blog right away, as this is the 2nd time (in her 6 L O N G years) that she has been instrumental in the whole rolling/cooking process and if a 6 year old can do this – so can you!  Effort vs reward is huge.  Stella gets the rolling going and Sloan (at 9) is in charge of the stove and cooking them.  They both know just when to turn the tortillas with the right amount of bubbling and browning going on.

SO EASY!

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat (cold)\
  • 1 cup warm water

Stir flour and salt together, then work in the cold bacon fat with your fingers.  Slowly add the water and work until a cohesive dough forms.  Not sticking together?  Add a bit more water.  Too sticky?  Add a bit more flour …. You get it.  Knead until you have a soft but firm dough – cover and allow to rest for 30-60 minutes.  (or as long as you need it to)

Divide this into 12-14 pieces and roll into balls.  Let sit for a few minutes to allow the dough to rest – this makes it much easier to roll.  (keep covered)

Roll until super thin – and cook on a dry hot skillet.  Every stovetop is different and you may sacrifice the first couple to the frypan, but thats okay, once you realize your perfect temperature you are good to go.

Cook for approximately 1 minute on the first side and you will see bubbles form.  Only flip when you peek underneath and see brown spots appearing.  Flip it over and continue cooking until you get more of those lovely brown spots.  On my stovetop (flat ceramic) I can’t cook it higher than 5 (or medium) otherwise things burn before cooking through but experiment with your own surface.

Keep warm in a covered container as the steaming also helps with the cooking process.

This recipe serves 6.  If you aren’t feeding 6, then just keep the dough in the fridge and pinch off enough to make yourself a couple tortillas a day!

Flour tortillas 3

Stella is 6 and she’s already done this a couple of times, at her insistence this recipe is going on the blog so we all remember it.  Big sister Sloan is making the guacamole in the background before stepping over to the stove to keep the cooking going.

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Just look at those bubbles forming – we all get excited!  (yes, I know, kitchen geeks)

Flour tortillas 2

This is exactly what you are looking for.  Heaven in a wrap.

Tonight we served carne asada with these tortillas, and it was amazing.

Honestly …. you really don’t like pork?  (sorry Meg & Amy). Use store bought lard or shortening.

Japanese Nabe (Hot Pot)

How to describe this?  It’s really not a recipe – just ingredients and an idea of how to put it all together.  Our friend Tom made this the other day and I was immediately hooked.  How can something that just looks so simple end up feeling immensely satisfying and ever so delicious??

Nabe 1

Looks like a pile in a pot ….. right?  But, oh so good!  I could eat this on a weekly basis!

 

The base of this broth is as simple as the kombu you create it with.  Add about a 6 inch piece to 8 cups of water, let it sit for about 15-30 minutes, and then bring to a boil and allow to simmer until the kombu softens.  Some recipes will say to remove it at this point, but I didn’t, and we ate it – a bit chewy but still good!

Prepare all your vegetables while the kombu softens.  and broth simmers.

Keep the vegetables in groups according to how long it takes them to cook.  i.e., cabbage takes longer than snap peas!

I used:

  • savoy cabbage
  • carrots
  • sweet peppers
  • snap peas
  • bok choy
  • red onion
  • asparagus
  • bean sprouts

For a protein I used chicken breast and tofu.  The sky is the limit here, you can easily use whatever you like – just be aware of how long it will take to cook it, and put it in at the right time.  The last thing you want is soggy veg.

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Prepped and ready to go.

Nabe 2

If you have a pint sized helper like Stella, she will add the vegetables in the right order and keep everything moving.  That is teriyaki chicken beside her, and it was fantastic too.

For serving you need:

  • Ponzu (citrus soy sauce)
  • chili oil
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • thinly sliced green onions
  • cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Goma Shabu Sesame Sauce (I don’t have that one …yet)

Prepare Udon noodles while the sauce simmers.

The main objective here is not calling it a noodle bowl.  They finish off the show.  If you have individual mini bowls then each person can have their little assortment of the above condiments and sauces.  Traditionally you would ladle the veg & protein into your bowl, accepting the small bit of broth that comes with it.  You can either dress your bowl with the above, or dredge each bite in the accompaniments – your choice.  The pure joy in this comes from adding your finishing touches so everybody has it just they way they like.  When everybody is finished, then you add the noodles to the hot broth.  Once again, traditionally this would be on the table with a heating vessel to keep everything hot but I found it was warm enough to stir in the cooked noodles once we had finished eating the first “course”.  Those noodles are such a delightful way to finish slurping up your meal.

Shopping List:

  • assortment of veg
  • protein of choice
  • udon noodles (I like frozen best, if you can’t get fresh – over dried)
  • condiment toppings …… ponzu, sesame sauce, chili oil, sesame seeds, cilantro & green onion
  • kombu
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This is the dried kombu I found – you only need about 1/2 of one piece to go with 8 cups of water.

 

 

 

Tom’s Teriyaki Chicken

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This teriyaki chicken hits all the notes, crispy bits of carmelized chicken, sweet and salty,  tender and juicy – give it a try, you will love it.

Thanks go to our friend Tom for this simple teriyaki marinade that is as perfect as it is easy.  Works well with any protein, just to make it even simpler for you.

Marinade:

  • 1 cup soy sauce (reduced sodium)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 golf ball size knob of ginger, grated or finely minced.

Combine and stir until sugar has dissolved.

2 pounds of bonelesss, skinless chicken thighs – cut into bite size pieces

Garnish:

  • green onions, thinly sliced
  • sesame seeds, toasted until golden brown

Marinate the chicken in the teriyaki sauce for at least an hour and up to overnight.  Remove from marinade and place in hot saute pan.  Do not overcrowd the pan or the chicken will just steam rather than get nice crusty bits of caramelization.  Allow to cook, without disturbing, until you see the colour start to change on top of the chicken and the chicken releases easily from the pan to turn over.

Serve with rice and your favourite greens.

Teriyaki chicken 1

See the marinade bubbling up beneath the chicken?  That’s going to get all glossy and give the chicken nice little bits of delicious caramelization – don’t disturb it while this is happening.

teriyaki chicken 2

You can see some of the browned bits – that is pure gold.

Teriyaki 3

If you’d like a little extra to drizzle over, make a little sauce without the ginger and allow it to thicken.  Adds a fantastic bit of sweet and salty flavour.

Drizzle:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup soya sauce
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch

Combine the water, soya sauce and sugar, stir until sugar has dissolved.  Add in the corn starch and cook over medium heat until sauce has come to a boil and allow it to reduce slightly.  (Corn starch as a thickener has to boil or you will still taste the corn starch!)

Teriyaki 2

Tonight’s dish was a teriyaki bowl – utilizing a combination of chicken thigh and chicken breast with a little shredded carrot for crunch and cilantro for brightness.

Realistically you could use this recipe for any protein you like, or make it with a large assortment of vegetables for a vegetarian dish.  The teriyaki sauce is the star!

Swedish Meatballs

Oh man, these meatballs are just the ticket for a cool evening – they are so tender and moist – like maybe the best meatballs ever??

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These meatballs are moist, tender and so delicious – you won’t miss Ikea at all.

Meatballs

  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 2 tbsp butter unsalted
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • vegetable oil for frying meatballs

Gravy

  • 6 tbsp butter unsalted
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth low sodium, or beef broth
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper or to taste
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • Melt the butter in a skillet, then add the onions and a bit of salt. Cook the onions until soft, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the ground pork, ground beef, onions, egg yolks, salt, pepper, nutmeg and allspice to the bowl with the panko. Mix the meat mixture well using your clean hands. Shape the meat into 1 inch meatballs.
  • In a skillet heat some vegetable oil. Add the meatballs and fry until golden all around, about 7 minutes, but not cooked all the way through. Repeat with all meatballs.
  • To make the gravy melt the butter in a clean skillet. Add the flour to the pan and whisk well. Add the broth with the Worcestershire sauce and continue whisking. Season with salt and pepper and other spices if preferred. As the flour cooks the gravy should thicken. Whisk in the sour cream. Bring the gravy to a boil then add the meatballs to it and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure meatballs don’t stick to bottom of pan.
  • Garnish with parsley. Serve warm over mashed potatoes, buttered noodles or rice.
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Brown on all sides, but don’t cook all the way through, let the gravy simmer do that job.

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Gently stir in the sour cream and then return the meatballs to the sauce.

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Simmer the meatballs gently until cooked through, then garnish with parsley.

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