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Soothing Noodle Soup Recipe


This week we all need to watch our energy and health closely so we don't end up getting an unwanted gift for Christmas (a flu or cold bug!). And if you're like me, you're extra busy these days with all the gift buying, cooking, and other holiday activities that fill the calender. On such days, there's nothing like a bowl of steaming homemade soup to soothe and invigorate, not to mention one that also happens to keep you healthy. And if it's noodle soup you prefer, check out this delicious Thai soup. It tastes like the soup you've had at Thai or Asian restaurants, except maybe even better!: Thai Noodle Soup with Lemongrass (vegan/gluten-free). This is one of my most popular soup recipes, and it also happens to be super healthy. A mingling of fresh herbs together with the coconut milk make it taste amazing while providing abundant antioxidants. As a bonus, this soup is a cinch to make, and because it's vegan and gluten-free, everyone can enjoy it. Here's to healthy (and sane) holiday season! )

Ingredients:
• 8-10 oz. dried Thai rice noodes, linguini-width
• 1-2 stalks minced lemongrass , OR 4 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass
• 4-6 cups vegetable (or faux "chicken") stock (or regular chicken broth if non-veg.)
• 1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, thinly sliced into matchstick pieces
• 1/2 package medium or soft tofu (packed in water) - drain off the water and slice tofu into cubes
• 1 head broccoli, chopped into florets including stems
• 1-2 cups Chinese cabbage, chopped into bite-size pieces (bok choy, baby bok choy or su choy)
• 1-2 carrots, sliced
• 4 Tbsp. soy sauce OR wheat-free soy sauce (or use 3 Tbsp. fish sauce + 1 Tbsp. soy sauce if non-veg.)
• 1/2 can good-quality coconut milk
• 3-4 kaffir lime leaves (available in frozen packets at Asian/Chinese food stores)
• 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped if leaves are large (or substitute fresh coriander/cilantro)
• Optional: fresh-cut chilies OR chili sauce, to taste
Preparation:
1. Dunk noodles in a pot of boiling water and turn off the heat. Allow the noodles to soften while you prepare the soup.
2. Place stock in a soup pot together with lemongrass (include left-over stalk pieces if using fresh), plus galangal (or ginger), whole lime leaves, and carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Allow to simmer while you chop up and add the remaining vegetables. Simmer until vegetables have softened but are still bright in color (about 5 minutes).
3. Reduce heat to minimum and add the coconut milk, stirring to dissolve. Finally, add the tofu, gently stirring so it doesn't fall apart.
4. Add the soy sauce. If you prefer your soup spicy, add some fresh-cut chilies OR 1-2 tsp. chili sauce - or simply serve it on the side. Do a taste test, adding more soy sauce if not salty enough. If you find the soup too salty (this depends on how salty your broth was to start with), add 1 to 2 Tbsp. lime juice. If too sour for your taste, add 1 tsp. sugar.
5. Check rice noodles to make sure they have softened enough to eat (they should be 'al dente'). Drain the noodles and portion out into bowls. Pour several ladles of soup over each bowl of noodles. Sprinkle over fresh basil, and serve with chili sauce on the side, if desired - either store-bought or my own homemade Thai Chili Sauce (Nam Prik Pao) for an extra kick of flavor and spice. ENJOY!
 

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