Thursday, December 11, 2008
Vietnamese Noodle Soup - A Post Holiday-Binge Meal
After a Thanksgiving feast that included copious amounts of turkey, pies, sticky buns, dressing, breads, etc. etc. and the ensuing several nights of leftovers, we finally needed a break. We needed something fresh, alive, and vegetarian.
When we finally hit the leftovers wall, we switched it up and made a single bowl meal of Vietnamese noodle soup. This is my version of what can be an amazing meal at the right noodle shop. For ours, I first cooked up some rice noodles and then put them in an ice bath to stop the cooking and to keep them from sticking together too much.
Into the bowl with the noodles went some fried tofu that had marinated briefly in soy, brown sugar, cornstarch, and a bit of chili paste. One could use chicken, pork, or anything else as well. You could even shred up some of that leftover turkey, but we had had enough. We also added julienned carrots, thinly sliced celery, mung bean spouts, chopped green onion, thinly shredded cabbage, sliced red pepper, a couple of lime wedges, and a handful of chopped cilantro.
Once your bowl is filled with tofu and veggies, cover it all in hot broth. Since this is a simple soup, homemade broth works best. On the other hand, if you don't have any, don't fret too much, you'll be doctoring the soup up quite a bit at the dinner table.
This is the fun part. Now you get to flavor your soup with any combination of condiments that you like. I first squeeze out the lime wedges to give a good acidic kick. I also like to add a splash of soy sauce, some hoisin, sweet chili sauce, and a good dose of Sriracha chili sauce. One cannot have too much chili in their noodle soup. Keep doctoring until the broth reaches that perfect, spicy, sweet, hot spot that fills your belly with goodness (and clears the sinuses).