Whenever I’m on the road to recovery after being sick, I get these massive feng shui attacks where I just have to deep clean everything and rid myself of all that is unnecessary. I don’t know why, or if it even happens to anyone else, but I like the end results because even my nano-apartment can appear spacious after I’m finished. Last weekend I went on my first cleaning rampage of 2011, throwing away all evidence that I’d ever had a sinus infection, and reorganizing cupboards & closets while Hana & StuKitty looked at me with questioning eyes, in the hopes that they might be allowed to “help” (which in Cat means “get in the way & play”).
While I was busy working on one of my kitchen cupboards, I came across some non-perishables I’d forgotten I still had. Way at the top were some seasoned panko crumbs, some baking powder, and a couple of packages of udon noodles. I squealed with delight when I saw the noodles, causing StuKitty to run off just as he was calculating the proper angle at which to launch himself onto the second cupboard shelf. I couldn’t be bothered with his snark, though. I had UDON!!! Not that I wasn’t happy to find the other items; they just didn’t hold the immediate promise of a yummy new dish. Panko I’ve played with many a time, so I stored that away for future recipes, and the baking powder was good for later use, too. But the noodles… ohhh, those were going in my belly immediately!
And so, the following soup came together quite beautifully. I had random udon noodles, ridiculously cold temperatures to deal with (even though it’s the middle of January), and a pesky sinus infection that will insist on making me sound like my very own orchestra wind section. All three were perfect excuses to make a big batch of soup! Santa’s gifts of Grocery Outlet gift cards had allowed me to buy some frozen edamame, mushrooms, and even a giant red bell pepper, as well as a decent sized block of tofu; all things that would go quite well with my noodles. Some homemade veggie stock brought down from the freezer, plenty of garlic & spices, and I was all set for a fabulous soup that would not only warm me up and fill me up, but would help relieve some of those awful sinus symptoms I’d been dealing with for days.
Just a couple of quick notes on this one: by all means, use fresh ginger if you have it! They didn’t have any at G.O. so I had to stick with ground ginger. It works fine in a pinch, but freshly grated ginger can only make this soup better (and far more effective if you’re using it for medicinal purposes). You can certainly play around with the veggies in this one, but I like the way the colors & textures of the edamame, peppers and mushrooms play off of each other. It makes this a very lovely soup to look at, and as I’ve mentioned before, part of “eating well” in my world is enjoying aesthetically pleasing food. Lastly, if you’re not a big fan of tofu, no worries! Try some cubed chicken or a few shrimp instead. And if you’re looking to stick with a vegetarian soup sans tofu, the edamame still provides plenty of protein.
The best part about this soup? Not only is it cheap and oh-so-delicious, it is also super quick & easy to make. So if you’re pressed for time after a long day at work, this would be a fabulous solution for a tasty, nutritious dinner.
Udon Noodles with Edamame, Peppers & Mushrooms in Ginger-Garlic Broth (makes 4-6 servings; total cost per serving: $1.40)
4 c water
Large handful of udon noodles
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 t ground ginger
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 T cooking oil
1-2 T low-sodium soy sauce
1 c frozen shelled edamame
3/4 c sliced mushrooms
3/4 c red bell pepper strips
1 c cubed extra firm tofu
1/4 c chopped scallions
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic & ginger, and cook for about 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and the garlic just begins to brown. Next, add the vegetable stock and water, and bring to a boil. Toss in the noodles and cook until the begin to soften but still have some of their crunch, about 5 minutes. Add the edamame and cook for about a minute, then add the mushrooms, peppers and tofu. Allow the soup to simmer for another 2-3 minutes, then add the soy sauce and stir until combined.
Serve generous portions of soup in bowls or soup mugs, top with fresh scallions, grab those chopsticks, and enjoy!