I absolutely love soups and one of my favourite comforting meals to make for myself if I’m eating alone is an Asian-inspired soup. The soup I make very much varies depending upon my mood at the time; if I feel like I need a lot of aromatics, I go for a fresh Vietnamese-inspired soup; if I fancy something spicy and sweet, I make a Korean-inspired soup with japchae (sweet potato noodles); if I need something creamy, I make a steaming Thai broth with coconut milk and for when I need something clean, yet spicy and completely delicious, I make a Japanese-inspired miso soup.
I love adding buckwheat noodles or zucchini noodles to my soups for extra bulk and the addition of sea vegetables ups the nutritional factor. This is the perfect soup to make if you get sick or even if you just feel you need a pick-me-up. It’s so comforting and satisfying, whilst being extremely nutritious – with antioxidants from the aromatics, lean proteins and lots of fresh vegetables. You can absolutely vary the vegetables in the soup as well; if you have some mushrooms or green beans, throw them in and make the soup your own. That’s the beauty about delicious broths like this, you really can throw in lots of different combinations of vegetables, depending upon what you have in the fridge and if you have the seasonings in the pantry, you don’t necessarily have to go shopping for the ingredients.
I love to serve mine with a smattering of toasted sesame seeds, chopped coriander and a drizzle of hot chilli oil, but serve as you like it with a glass of cool, crisp Pinot Grigio, or a coconut water – if you’re really being abstemious!
Japanese-inspired miso soup with zucchini noodles and sea vegetables
500ml dashi (or sugar-free, organic vegetable stock)
1200ml sugar-free, organic vegetable stock
3 tbsp. white Japanese miso paste
1 tbsp. tamari soy sauce
3 tbsp. Japanese mirin
juice of 1 lime
1 zucchini (courgette), spiralised
1 small carrot, spiralised
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
3 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely grated or chopped
1 red chilli, finely sliced (deseed if you wish)
3 spring onions, finely chopped
½ leek, washed and finely sliced
100g cabbage, finely shredded
a handful of wakame or other Japanese sea vegetables
250g frozen king prawns (or tofu, drained and diced for a veggie/ vegan option)
To serve: (optional)
a handful of fresh coriander
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
a drizzle of toasted sesame seed oil
a drizzle of Sriracha chilli sauce or Korean gochujang paste
Korean Kimchi (fermented cabbage)
Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the dashi and vegetable stock and allow it to come to a simmer. Add the chopped spring onions, leeks, chilli, ginger, carrot, garlic, cabbage and allow the vegetables to cook gently in the stock for five minutes or so.
Add the zucchini noodles, wakame or sea vegetables, miso paste, tamari soy sauce, mirin, lime juice, stir together and continue to cook for another minute or so. Taste to test for seasoning.
Add the frozen prawns (or tofu) and allow them to cook gently.
Once piping hot, serve out into bowls, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, chopped coriander and a drizzle of chilli sauce if you like.