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This soup is great for when you want something cleansing and full of nutrition. It’s partly based on a detox dish that a good friend makes (affectionately known as “Water in a Bowl”) that is based on wakame stock, tofu, vegetables and noodles. This version spices it up a bit with some extra ginger and chilli and uses the asian flavour profile of hot/sweet/sour/salty.

Soba Noodle Soup
200g tofu
1 carrot
1/2 head broccoli
1 shallot, white and green parts
2 leaves kale
1/2 bunch pak choy
1 cup dried shiitakes
1 tsp ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
3 red chillies
Tamari
Umeboshi plum vinegar
Raw sugar
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup cooked buckwheat soba noodles

Thai Basil, Coriander, Mint, and Lime Wedges to serve. Optional red pepper and sesame oil.

I’ve spoken before about making my own stock and freezing it, and thats what I used for this soup. There’s no need to pre-defrost it, just run a little hot water over the container and press lightly to release the block of stock. Add a small amount of water to the pot and turn the heat on, letting the stock defrost over heat in the pot.

stock

Soak shiitakes in boiling water, cover and set aside. As the stock is defrosting, grate a small piece of ginger and a clove of garlic with a microplane and add to the stock along with one chopped chilli. Let simmer for about 5 minutes  and strain to remove pieces. Return stock to the pot and add a splash of tamari, umeboshi vinegar, and a pinch of sugar. Taste the stock and add more tamari/vinegar/sugar as needed to balance the flavour. It shouldn’t have a dominant hot, sweet, salty, or sour flavour – you’re aiming for a balance between those elements.

Cube tofu, finely chop the rest of the chillies and shallots and chop the rest of the vegetables in bite sized pieces. Remove shiitakes from the soaking water, chop and add to the stock. Add the soaking water (it will be a darkish brown colour), reserving the last little bit as it contains some debris from the soaking.

vegetables
shiitake

Prepare a steamer (bamboo steamers are great for this) and put the tofu and vegetables on to steam. Keep the shallots aside to serve fresh over the soup. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water and put the noodles on to cook. These noodles tend to go from uncooked to cooked very quickly so check on them while they are cooking. They will take about 3-4 minutes to cook but keep your eye on them.

noodles
bowls

To serve, place a pile of noodles in the bottom of a bowl, top with steamed tofu and vegetables, ladle over the stock, sprinkle on chopped shallots, and serve with asian red pepper and a bowl of fresh herbs and lime wedges. Add sesame oil to taste.

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