I know I’ve said it before, but Asian soups are one of our favorite go-to weeknight meals. They’re quick to prepare and they’re never twice the same. I make sure to always have noodles in the pantry (soba, udon or egg noodles), and I use whatever vegetable’s in the fridge: broccoli, spinach, sweet potato, carrots and corn are the most frequent additions. For the broth, sometimes I use chicken stock, other times a miso broth. For the protein, I use cooked chicken, grilled salmon, sautéed shrimp, fried tofu or a soft-boiled egg, depending on what’s in the fridge (or the freezer). For seasonings, I add soy sauce, sambal oelek, sriracha, toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, green onions and/or fresh coriander.
You’ll understand that ramen-master Ivan Orkin * didn’t have to work really hard to convince me that instant ramen can be more than a broke student snack. In fact, I was happy he shed light on one of the easiest and most flavorful last minute meals there is. As much as I love a steaming bowl of tonkotsu ramen (my favorite), it’s much too time-consuming to make at home, and there simply are no take out options that are as quick and satisfying as making my own Asian soup for dinner.
I like all of Orkin’s tips, and if you cook Asian dishes once in a while, chances are you already have most of the ingredients he mentions in the fridge (miso, ginger, garlic, etc.) so you can whip up a healthy meal in minutes without even having to go to the grocery store. I am definitely bookmarking the miso-ginger-garlic pork for our next soup – it sounds completely addictive, and I’m thinking it would also be delicious served over steamed rice, donburi-style.
What do you think of Asian soups for dinner? What are your favorite toppings?
* In case you don’t know Ivan Orkin, he’s a chef who owns two ramen shops that are incredibly popular in Tokyo. A Western chef making Japanese cuisine gaining acceptance in Japan is an incredibly rare feat, so it speaks volume about how great his ramen must be. Fortunately, soon you won’t have to travel as far as Tokyo to enjoy his soups as he’s opening a ramen shop in New York City in the spring. That has just given me the perfect excuse to go back to the Big Apple!