Category Archives: soup

Mushroom Thai Spicy Soup

So I had actually been waiting to make this recipe before I tell everyone something really exciting!  There is a theme behind this, which is why it took some time.

Remember when we told you that we got engaged, and are planning our wedding?  Well, we finally booked our tickets for our honeymoon!  And if you look up at the blog post title:

Thai food…so if you guessed Thailand, you got it right!

Although the trip is still months away, we are very excited and cannot wait for the wonderful adventure, the beaches, the diving and the food!

So in honor of our trip, I decided on a mushroom thai soup, with a lot of spice in it.  Although, the heat can be taken out, and the soup will be just as delicious.  The original recipe called for chicken, but I wanted to make it vegetarian and opted for tofu instead.  But if you prefer beef or no protein at all- go for it!

Mushroom Thai Spicy Soup
Inspired by: Cooking Light (Jan/Feb 2012 issue)
Servings: 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 serrano peppers, chopped (optional)
2 stalks of lemongrass, chopped finely
3 cups vegetable broth
15 oz light coconut milk
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp sriracha sauce (optional)
1 package of tofu, pressed, chopped into small cubes
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp green onion, chopped

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Once the oil is warm, add the onion, mushrooms, red bell peppers, ginger, garlic, serrano peppers and lemongrass.  Allow the vegetables to cook for about 3-5 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft.  Then add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, fish sauce and sriracha.  Mix all of the ingredients together, until the sriracha has mixed into the liquid.  Bring the soup to a boil.  Then simmer for about 10 minutes.

Finally, add the tofu.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  Ladle into bowls, garnish with cilantro and green onions.

Chestnut Soup

We had some flurries tonight, but none of it stuck- I think it was too warm this past weekend.  But it’s still really fun to walk out of work, and see snow falling down.  Growing up in Illinois, we had lots of snow- so I’m one of those people that looks forward to a snowy evening at home.  Unfortunately, it does not come around very often in DC (other than Snowmageddon 2010).

But if you are someplace where it’s snowy and cold, and you need a good soup to warm you up, this is definitely one you should try.  We had made this soup when we had leftovers after we roasted chestnuts.

Have you cooked with parsnips?  They look a lot like carrots, but have a nutty flavor.  Roasting parsnips enhances their sweet flavor, which can be done prior to adding them to soups.  They are a great root vegetable, especially since they can last up to 3 weeks when kept in cool conditions.

Chestnut Soup
Adapted from: Richard Landau Vedge Restaurant (Philadelphia, PA)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 lb parsnips, peeled & roughly chopped
¼ cup sweet Marsala wine
6 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
1 lb roasted chestnuts, peeled
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Over medium heat, heat olive oil in a large soup pot.  Then add the onion, garlic and parsnips.  Sauté the vegetables until the onion is translucent and parsnips begin to brown, about 8-10 minutes.  Then add the Marsala wine and cook for about 4 minutes, the liquid should reduce.

Then stir in stock, chestnuts, cloves, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Bring everything to a simmer.  Cook for another 15 minutes, or until the parsnips are tender.

Once everything is cooked, pour everything into a blender or food processor.  Blend the mixture to the consistency which you’d like.  Sprinkle parsley on top and serve.

Indian Chicken Soup

I’m a soup lover!  If soups varied every so often, I could eat it every day, for every meal.  Growing up, my Mom had always made a lot of soups- and I never get sick of them.

Why the love for soups?  There are so many reasons, such as:

1) they are easy to make
2) fast to make
3) lots of different flavors
4) can be vegetarian, or meat-based
5) there are a million ways to make them, and you don’t have to repeat the recipe!

So there is simplicity, deliciousness and variety.  If those are not the best qualities a dish can have, what is?  For the most part, I like to take ideas for soups, and make them my own.

This week we actually bought a chicken, celery, onions, carrots and leeks to make our own stock.  So the soup featured below used the stock as well as the chicken we had used in the preparation.  Very convenient, and if you’re looking for budget meals- this would definitely be one!

I’ve decided that we’ll have to do a step-by-step on how we make stock.  If you have never done this before, it’ll be a must as soon as possible!  You’ll never go back to the store bought broth or stock.

Indian Chicken Soup
Adapted from: The Whole Kitchen

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 carrots, peeled & chopped
1 celery bunch (about 10 stalks), chopped
1 bunch of swiss chard, leaves & stalks separated; stalks and leaves chopped
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp curry
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 cup wild rice
6 chicken stock (or veggie)
1 cup water
6 small red potatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 cup coconut flakes
2 cups shredded chicken (cooked)
*naan bread

While heating up a soup pot, drizzle olive oil.  Once it’s warm, add the onion, carrots, celery and swiss chard stalks.  Saute for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.  Then add the salt, garam masala, curry, chili powder and cumin.  Stir the spices and the vegetables for about 1 minute, so everything is well incorporated.

Then, add the rice, chicken stock and water.  Cover the soup and bring to a boil.  Once it’s boiling, uncover and cook on low for about 20 minutes.  Add in the potatoes.  Simmer for another 15 minutes and continue to stir the soup.

Finally, add the coconut flakes, chicken and chopped chard leaves.  Stir the ingredients and cook them for 5 more minutes.

* This meal would be good with some naan bread.

Asian Noodle Bowl

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!  I’m sure you’re all stuffed with turkey and pumpkin pie- and need something different to eat.

This is something very filling but does not overstuff.  The great part about this noodle bowl is that everyone can pick and choose the vegetables that they would like.  For example, we had carrots, bok choy, cucumbers and green onions.  If you’d like to add mushrooms or take out one of the other veggies- feel free.  In addition, if you don’t want tofu- you can add a meat or make it meat free.  If you make this dish- I’d love to know your favorite ingredients!

Asian Noodle Bowl
Adapted from: Dana Treat
Servings: 4-5 dinner portions

2 inch piece of ginger, grated
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks of lemongrass, minced (outer layers removed)
6 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp stir fry oil
2 tbsp water
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
12 oz tofu, blotted dry, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 oz soba noodles (or other Asian noodles)
3 green onions, chopped
1 cucumber, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cups broth (veggie or chicken)
2 carrots, thinly sliced
3 baby bok choys, roughly chopped
10 cherry tomatoes, halved

To prepare the marinade for the tofu mix the following ingredients in a bowl: ginger, garlic, lemongrass, soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, lime juice, stir fry oil, water and red pepper flakes.  Feel free to add more, or less, of each ingredient.  Mix together all of the ingredients.

Spread tofu pieces in a shallow baking dish.  Pour 3/4 of the marinade over the tofu.  Leave the tofu in the marinade for at least 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 375°F, and bake the tofu for about 30-40 minutes.  Flip the tofu pieces after about 15 minutes of baking.

Prepare soba noodles (or other Asian noodles) per the directions on the box.  Once the noodles are cooked, rinse then with cold water.  Drain well, and divide between your bowls.

Top the noodles with green onions, cucumbers and tomatoes.

In a large pot, heat up broth.  While it’s heating up, add the carrot sticks.  Once the broth is boiling, toss in the bok choy.  Turn off the heat, and let the liquid cool for about 3 minutes.

Add the baked tofu into each of your bowls, then add carrots, bok choy and cherry tomatoes.  Last, pour the broth and left over marinade over the noodles and vegetables.

Hot Pot in NYC

This last weekend Sam and I traveled to New York City.  From Washington D.C. it’s just a couple of hours on the Amtrak.  We spent the weekend visiting friends and exploring the city.  It addition it was Veteran’s Day- so we enjoyed the longer weekend.

The weather was great- a perfect fall weekend.  With so many leaves on the streets, the air smelled of fall.  We enjoyed walking around the city, and even explored a bit of Brooklyn- which I loved!

One of our food adventures was trying out a hot pot place in Chinatown.  As far as I know, DC doesn’t have a hot pot place, so I was excited to try this out for the first time.  Since I wasn’t familiar with this until this past weekend, I though other would also like to know more about it:

What is it?  The easiest explanation is that it’s similar to fondue. Rather than using cheese and/or chocolate- there is broth inside the hot pot.  The pot is cooked on a portable gas or electric stove, at your table.

Ours looked like this!  Sam insisted that we try the spicy version, which is why ours is so red.  Yes, there were many chili peppers.

Other options include a plain broth, or a combination of plain and spicy.  If you have the combination broth, there is a divider in the middle of the bowl- each half holding the different liquids.

How do you cook in a hot pot?  When you go to a hot pot restaurant, you have a list of ingredients that you choose to cook in your pot.  Once your table decides which foods you’d like, the raw ingredients are brought out.  Add the veggies, noodles or meats into the pot, and wait until each of them cooks.  They can be added all at once, or divided and added one by one.  Each ingredient is kept in the hot pot until it is done cooking (the time may differ for each).

The cooking time depends on what ingredients you choose.  For example, one of our choices were green onions.  They cooked quickly, about 2 minutes.

What are some of the ingredients?  vegetables (bok choy, green beans, mushrooms); tofu; noodles (soba, rice, udon); meats (beef, pork, chicken); fish (scallops, fish balls, shrimp) and much more.

Our choices were: beef, scallops, green onions, bok choy, dumplings and Chinese mushrooms.  The last three were our favorites!

You use the strainer and spoon to scoop out the hot food from the pot.

And then enjoy the cooked ingredients!

If you’re in New York, this is the restaurant we checked out:

Grand Sichuan International
125 Canal Street
New York, NY

It was a fun experience, and now I’m wondering how we could replicate it at home.  The restaurant was fairly bare-bones (cash only).  Definitely something different than the usually Chinese take-out.