There are some evenings when I’m simply exhausted and don’t want to cook. Fortunately we’re usually blessed with leftovers from the weekend at the start of the week but as we reach Tuesday pickings are decidedly slimmer. It’s important to have some store cupboard staples in your repertoire of quick, healthy and filling meals.
Recently I opened the fridge and was greeted by the sight of a package of Miso – soybean paste. I was first introduced to Miso soup a few years back by friends in the States who served up an elegant soup made with a piece of tofu, some green onions and shiitake mushrooms artfully arranged in the bowl over which the tasty broth was poured. Astounding simple; exceedingly tasty and very elegant. It also happens to store exceeding well and so having a package in your cupboard or back of the fridge is an excellent idea.
By the simple act of adding boiling water and stirring, Miso provides a tasty stock. You can add pretty much any vegetables to it that you want as well and I like to throw in some protein too – shredded chicken works very well.
Today I prepared a little in advance and made sure I was stocked with some good fresh veggies as well as an old favourite – Udon noodles (although any noodle is an excellent addition). Supermarkets usually carry some sort of noodles (pasta or orzo would work fine as well) – if you want to find Udon you’ll need a specialty place).
Play with the veggies but don’t use anything that requires much cooking – you literally want to add stock, stir for a minute and then ladle out. Make sure that you add colour to the dish.
Green onions, whites and greens sliced separately – regular onions are fine too
Garlic (I happened to find fresh but regular is fine too) – chopped – quantity according to taste and whether you’ll be kissing anyone later….
Ginger – 1 cm length, chopped
dried or fresh chili pepper – according to taste – leave this out if you can’t stand the heat
broccoli – separated into florets
4 – 5 mushrooms, sliced thickly
1 or 2 carrots cut into ribbons with a peeler
noodles of your choosing (or not) – prepared according to instructions on the package and drained
2 tablespoons of Miso paste
4 cups of water
Boil a kettle. Pour over your Miso.
Put a few drops of oil in a pan and gently saute your onion and garlic for about 3 minutes at which point add the ginger and chopped chili pepper. After a further 30 seconds add brocolli and mushrooms. Saute, stirring for about 2 – 3 minutes.
Add Miso stock and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the carrots and simmer for a further minute.
In the meantime drop some bean sprouts, green of the onion, coriander and your cooked noodles into a deep soup bowl.
Ladle soup over the cold ingredients. Garnish with more green onions, coriander and any other herbs you might like. You can also add a few drops or soy or chili sauce to taste.