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My husband and I are fascinated with Asian cuisine. We love specialty items, and I especially love finding something I've never used or prepared and deciding that's for dinner tonight. While I would have liked to go whole-hog, hardcore homemade on this, I was hungry and lazy and I didn't feel like it. Besides, everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn't we use instant Chinese bouillion mix? I'll be a stock snob later; this was good. And very diet-friendly.

Alas, my non-American and/or rural friends, some of these items may not be found in your area, but most of them, if you have a big grocery store and any kind of Asian population in your area, can be found in the specialty section.

Asian/Fusion Soup

1 envelope Shanggie Won Ton Soup Mix
3 cups water
a handful of broken dried shiitake mushrooms, or your choice
1 egg, beaten into 2 tbsp water until it's watery
1 cup baby spinach leaves
dash fine soy sauce (don't make me say what kind not to use, ew)
1-2 tsp chili garlic paste, chili garlic sauce (Asian ketchup is what it looks like) or some similar stuff (I used about 1 1/2 tsp Gochou Jang "So Hot" fermented pepper paste), optional

pickled ginger for garnish
kimchi for garnish (can be found in the refrigerated portion of the produce department)

Noodles never come near this stuff. They could, but I think they'd be a waste of space. This is a surprisingly filling soup as it is.

Combine water, soup mix and shiitakes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until mushrooms are tender and juicy (mmmm), about 6-7 minutes. Increase heat to medium. Add egg water and stir until egg has coagulated into tiny ribbons, then add spinach. Add soy and chili paste to taste. Garnish with ginger and kimchi to taste. Best eaten with a very wide spoon or a Japanese soup spoon.

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March 2014

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