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Thursday, January 7, 2010

The month of soups!

In typical healthy-eating fashion, I have now dubbed January as The Month Of Soups. Granted, it is now the 7th, with nary a soup to be seen on this blog, but I promise you- there will be many! Today's Asian soup has a rather strange ingredient. They are these noodles that I came across via the Hungry Girl of Weight Watchers. I read about them when I was skimming her cookbook a few weeks ago, and then finally saw them at the store. She claims that they are fantastic, and for $2, I thought I'd give them a try:

They are labeled as a "noodle substitute" and are made from tofu. (Despite the fact that I swear "shirataki" is close to the word for "mushroom" in Japanese... maybe I'm just confusing it with shitake...) At 40 calories for a whole package, can you go wrong?

On the back, it tells you to cook the noodles twice; as in cook them before using them in soup or like pasta. Either in a pan or microwave it for a minute to lessen the "authentic flavor". This bit frightened me. What flavor that is good in it's "authentic" form needs to be diminished? It even gave these directions TWICE on the package, just so you would be sure not to keel over from the real fake noodle flavor. I opened it and rinsed them. A lot. Smelled it; it seemed a bit weird, like tofu. Microwaved it. Got out more liquid. Decided to be safe and microwaved them again, then added them to my soup.

This soup recipe will follow soon, I promise. It is actually very good, with real or fake noodles! And healthy as all get out. I think if I had a wheat allergy, I might be more forgiving of these nooodles. They really were ok, but definitely NOT something I would call "spaghetti"; more like ramen. And kind of squeaky to eat, like they didn't want to be bitten; kind of like enoki mushrooms.

Asian-Style Health Master Soup:

1 clove garlic, minced
1" fresh ginger root, grated
4 dried mushrooms, chopped
2 cups scallions, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
1-2 bouillion cubes (veggie)
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 cup cabbage or bok choy, chopped
1/4 tsp. hot chili sauce
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

4 0z. firm tofu, cut into cubes

Optional: chopped cilantro (this makes the soup so much better!), 1-2 oz. udon noodles, or fake ones as seen above.

In a large pot, heat about 6 cups of water with the bouillion cubes. Put in the garlic and ginger. Add carrots, celery, and broccoli. Let cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Then add tofu, other vegetables, noodles, and spices. Cook for about 10 more minutes, until the vegetables and noodles are done to your liking.

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