Fondly known as ‘Chinese Soup’, this has been a staple in my family for years. For some reason, putting noodles in soup and cutting the carrots into flower shapes is enough to get kids to eat miso, seaweed, shitake mushrooms and all kinds of vegetables. It’s hearty enough to make a full meal, and full of all the nutrients you need to see you through the winter.
about 10 shitake mushrooms
10 cm piece kombu (seaweed)
1 pack firm tofu
200g rice vermicelli noodles
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
selection of vegetables: I use carrots, broccoli, snow peas and bok choi
2 tablespoons light oil, such as rice bran oil
6 spring onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 litre vegetable stock
2 tablespoons cornflour
1/4 cup miso
Soak the shitake mushrooms and kombu in 500ml hot water for about an hour. Drain, saving the water to add to the soup. Slice the shitake into thin pieces and discard the tough stalk. Thinly slice the kombu.
Soak the noodles in boiling water until you are ready for them.
Cut the tofu into cubes and toss in the tamari, sweet chilli sauce and sesame oil.
Cut the vegetables into small, attractive pieces. If you want to try the carrot flower technique: peel the carrots, make about 5 long, thin, wedge-shaped cuts down the sides of the carrots, then slice them cross-wise. Separate the broccoli florets and cut the stalks into matchsticks.
Heat a wok or large saucepan, add the oil and fry the onion and garlic, stirring all the time, for a few seconds. Add the mushrooms, kombu, carrots and broccoli stalks and any other firm vegetables you are using, and fry for another minute or two. Add the water that you soaked the mushrooms and kombu in, together with the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, then add the softer vegetables such as broccoli florets, snow peas and bok choi. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Mix the cornflour with a little cold water to make a paste. Add the paste to the soup, making sure it dissolves well and stir until it thickens. Dissolve the miso in a little hot water and add to the soup, making sure it mixes well into the soup, but does not boil. Add the tofu cubes to the soup and warm through.
Drain the noodles and serve in large bowls with the soup poured over them. Great eaten with chopsticks and Chinese soup spoons.