Tag Archives: Soup

Japanese Beef, Tofu and Noodle Soup

If you are looking for an interesting soup that’s healthy, but still full of flavor then you’ll love this Japanese beef, shitake mushroom, tofu and noodle soup.

The broth in this soup gives the soup such a strong meaty flavor that you don’t actually have to use much beef in the actual soup, and can fill it up with healthier ingredients like mushrooms and tofu instead, which as also much more affordable.

Japanese Beef, Tofu and Noodle Soup recipe adapted from Noodles by Murdoch Test Kitchen Staff

Serves 4 -6


  • 10g (1/4 oz) dried sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 100 g (3 ½ oz) dried rice vermicelli
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 leek, halved and sliced
  • 1 L (4 cups) chicken stock
  • 1 tsp dashi granules dissolved in 500 ml (2 cups) boiling water
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) soy sauce
  • 2 Tsp mirin
  • 1 ½ Tsp sugar
  • 90 g (2 cups) shredded chinese cabbage (wong bok)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot (optional)
  • 300 g (10 ½ oz) silken firm tofu, cut into 2 cm (3/4 in) cubes
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) rump steak, thinly sliced
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), sliced on the diagonal


Soak the shiitake mushrooms in 125ml (1/2 cup) boiling water for 10 minutes.

Soak the vermicelli in boiling water for 5-7 minutes, or until soft.  Drain the noodles.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the leek and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until softened.

Add the chicken stock, dashi broth, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and mushrooms and their soaking liquid.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the cabbage and simmer for a further 5 minutes.  Next, add the peas, carrot, tofu and beef and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the beef is cooked but still tender.  Divide the noodles among the serving bowls and ladle in the soup.  Serve garnished with the spring onion slices.


New Year’s Day Black Eyed Peas & Greens

One of my favorite Southern traditions is eating black eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day, which is believed to bring luck and prosperity throughout the year.  The black-eyed peas are for luck, and the greens are for wealth.

Ask any Southerner about the origins of this tradition and you are likely to get a variety of responses. One of the most popular stories is that black eyed peas are thought to bring good luck because they were the only food that survived Sherman’s march through the South during the Civil War, because the Union soldiers thought that it was just food for slaves and livestock and wasn’t important enough to pillage.

There are varying degrees of superstition with this tradition – the most extreme being that one must eat exactly 365 black eyed peas in order to be lucky on every single day of the new year.  Some families put a dime in the greens and it is believed that whoever gets the dime in their bowl of greens will be the most prosperous that year, that is assuming they don’t crack their teeth on the coin and have to pay for dental work.

Many Southern families also eat pork with their black eyed peas and greens since it is believed that eating a fatty meat such as pork will bring on a ‘fat’ year with many blessings.  Corn bread is also a common addition, which some believe represents gold.

Regardless of whether you believe in the superstition, it makes an excellent meal for lunch on New Year’s Day that’s comforting and easy to make.  Families all have their own special way of incorporating the ingredients into a meal which is passed down for generations, so I’m going to share you my mom’s New Year’s Day turnip green soup recipe.  It’s very easy to make and gets your lucky black eyed peas, greens, and pork all in one dish!  I hope it brings you all luck and prosperity in 2011!

New Years Day Turnip Green Soup


  • 2 10-oz. pkgs. frozen turnips with diced roots (or a big bunch of fresh turnip greens if you can find them)
  • 2 cans Black Eyed Peas drained and rinsed(When it’s not New Years Day I use Northern Beans)
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 1 lb. Conecuh regular or smoked sausage, sliced in circles–no need to cook first
  • 1 box Knorr’s Spring Vegetable soup and dip mix
  • 2 large or 4 regular cans chicken broth, enough to cover everything (I use low sodium)
  • 1 Tbsp of oil


Heat the oil in a stock pot and sauté the onion on medium heat until translucent, about 8 minutes.  Add all of the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, for at least a half hour.

FFwD: My Go-To Beef Daube

Daube in French means stew cooked in wine, which is exactly what this classic French dish is – beef stew cooked in red wine.  This was perfect for the freezing weather that we’ve been having recently and made the whole house smell like a Sunday roast dinner.

The key to this dish is getting a good cut of beef.  I went with 3.5lbs of beef chuck roast that were freshly cut by the butcher in slightly larger pieces (2 to 3 inch cubes) than stew meat, per Dorie’s recommendation.

You start by sautéing about 8 strips of regular bacon, then brown all of the chunks of beef in a little oil combined with the bacon grease.

After the bacon and the beef pieces were all browned, I removed them from the pot and set them aside.  Then, I added the chopped Spanish onion and 6 shallots and sauteed them until they were tender and translucent.

I added chopped carrots, parsnips, and the bottom of a halved head of garlic (with most of the husk removed, leaving just enough for it to still hold together) to the mix and stirred them until coated with the oil and onions.

At this point I was supposed to add some brandy to loosen the browned bits that had stuck to the bottom of the pot, but I ended up using red wine because it was just too cold to go buy brandy at the liquor store.  It worked just fine.

Then I added the meat back in, covered it with the rest of the bottle of red wine and just enough water to cover the contents of the pot.  I brought it to a boil, and tossed in a sachet of rosemary, parsley, and thyme before covering the pot tightly with tin foil and its lid.  Then I put the whole pot in a 350F oven for 2.5 hours, stirring once.

While the stew was simmering in the oven I whipped up some mashed potatoes, which was the perfect partner for the stew.   The combination was incredibly comforting and filling.  This stew definitely just earned a spot on my ‘go-to’ list!

For more details on the recipe check out Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table and the other FFwD bloggers posts.

Aarti Paarti’s Veggie Chili

It’s been getting chilly at night here in Atlanta so I have been craving some chili. I’m always on the look-out for a tasty chili recipe so when I saw Aarti’s veggie chili recipe on her blog I knew I had to try it! She took a basic chili recipe and elevated it with some Indian spices I had never thought to use in a chili recipe such as turmeric and ground ginger.

It’s very simple to make and is so colorful because of all the different veggies that go into the pot – parsnips, carrots, red peppers, green peppers, jalapenos….and anything else that you want to add such as butternut squash, turnips, etc. Stewing all that veggie goodness with a few cans of red or white kidney beans turns it into a vitamin and protein packed powerhouse! I swear you won’t even miss the meat, but if you do then you could always add some ground beef or turkey.

The nice thing about chili is that you don’t have to follow recipes exactly, so long as you get the process of sautéing your onions, garlic, ginger, and hard root vegetables first before adding any meat or faux meat product, then add your spices, then your tomatoes and juices (such as beer!), then the beans. Everything in the middle can be totally improvised to your own taste preferences, which are noted in the recipe below.

We served this up with some of Trader Joe’s cornbread and it was perfect! I’m definitely going to make this again.

I followed Aarti’s recipe pretty closely and it turned out delicious.

Veggie Chili adapted from Aarti Paarti

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper/capsicum, membranes removed and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cleaned and diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package soy chorizo, casing removed (I like the kind from Trader Joes!)
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 28 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 1 can beer (In the spirit of Atlanta I used Sweetwater 420)
  • A little bit of beef/chicken/veggie broth to supplement the beer
  • 1 15oz can red kidney beans
  • Lime, cheese and scallions to garnish

1) Sautee onions, carrots, parsnips, bell peppers, jalapeno and garlic in olive oil about 10 minutes until softened. (You can add more root vegetables here if you like)

2) Add chorizo (or ground beef/turkey if you MUST have meat) and sautee a couple of minutes until it smells really good in your kitchen.

3) Add chili, cumin and allspice powders (can also add ground ginger, paprika, ground coriander, turmeric, Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg, etc.). Sautee about 30 seconds to get the flavour out of ‘em.

4) Add juice from tomato can, then crush each whole tomato with your hands over the pot, leaving them as chunky as you like.

5) Add beer, and much beef/chicken/veggie broth as you need to almost cover the veggies. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 30 minutes.

6) Drain kidney beans, rinse. Add to chili, and cook another 5-10 minutes until beans are warmed through.

7) Serve, squeezing a wedge of lime over the top, garnishing with scallions and cheese if you wish.

FFwD: Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

I was so excited to make the Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup this week for FFwD because I went to Vietnam a few years ago and fell in love with their food.  This soup was similar to what they call phở, which is sold everywhere and is traditionally eaten for breakfast!  Since my visit, I’ve been making lots of SE Asian inspired curries and soups and either have or know just where to find all the necessary ingredients.  Since I’m more comfortable with this genre of cooking I made a few changes to the recipe to suit my personal preferences that I’ve just learned throughout cooking SE Asian cuisine.

First, I didn’t use a cheese cloth to make a sachet of the spices in the beginning.  I tied the bunch of cilantro stems together using dental floss so that they would be easy to pick out, and let the star anise float around freely.  I used ground coriander and instead of Thai green chili peppers I used a heaping tablespoon of Thai green curry paste.  I start off all my curries by letting the curry paste heat up in some vegetable oil for about 30 seconds before adding in the coconut milk and chicken broth.   This definitely gave the soup some heat.

I still used the fish sauce but also added the tsp of brown sugar to lighten up the flavor since fish sauce is so strong.  I am not sure why SE Asians like tasting fish in a chicken soup but they put fish sauce in everything so I went with it.

I poached the chicken in the broth and then added the rice noodles that I had already boiled along with the lime juice.

All in all, this dish was a big hit – and we served it up traditional Vietnamese phở style with the sweet basil, sprouts, cilantro, and chili peppers on the side.

Here’s a mini Vietnam photo essay to go along the soup:

French architecture in Saigon

Floating down the Mekong Delta

Market in Hoi An

Whole fish for lunch!

Dried Squid on the Go