I simply love Asian flavors. I think if I had to pick a favorite regional flavor, it would be Thai. We’re very lucky to have an outstanding Thai restaurant in our small town called Chon Ngern. It’s in an old Shoney’s restaurant, so the vibe/décor are a little weird, but the food is fantastic! The dishes are artfully put together and the flavors never disappoint.
I’m also a big fan of Vietnamese, but there simply aren’t that many restaurants around here. When I travel up to Minnesota to visit my sister, we get take out from a little place near her apartment. And sushi – what can I say. I simply love good sushi. I’d probably eat it every day if I wasn’t concerned about mercury poisoning, because it is so light and satisfying, and good for you (as long as you stay away from fried rolls and sauces heavy in mayo). There are also some regional Chinese dishes I enjoy as well. Don’t get me started on my love of dumplings! I still dream about the fabulous food we had in Chinatown in San Francisco a few years ago. My husband and I ordered a ridiculous amount of food because we wanted to sample a little of everything. And a couple years ago when we spent Thanksgiving in NYC, we ventured into Chinatown for a Thanksgiving dinner of noodles and dumplings, and it did not disappoint!
The thing about cooking Asian inspired meals is they typically use lots of fresh veggies that are colorful and flavorful, and I’m a huge fan of anything with ginger in it. And, the best part? Most of these dishes cook up fairly quickly (obviously home made dumplings and noodles take a bit longer) and as I already mentioned, are pretty healthy.
As the weather turns warmer here, now that spring is in the air, it would seem odd to come home and make a soup on a sunny day, but this soup is light and the fresh vegetables provide a nice little crunch. I think of it more as a veggie noddle bowl than a soup. For protein, I pan seared some tuna steaks that I had pulled out of the freezer the day before. Frozen tuna is never as tender as the fresh stuff, but it still cooks up nicely with a little salt, pepper, and ginger, along with a soy sauce finish.
Add as many or as few veggies as you like. I made enough for two large servings, however it’s easy to up the ingredients or reduce them to make a pot for the family, or a single serving for yourself.
This makes a nice side dish to serve with fish, or serve it alone as a main dish. It is filling enough as a main, and you could throw a little bit of diced tofu into the pot as well if you like.
Ginger Soy Veggie Noodle Soup
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup sliced muchrooms
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 cup shelled edamame
1/2 red pepper, sliced into 1″ pieces
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 32-oz container vegetable broth
2-3 baby bok choy, sliced in half lengthwise
Approximately 1/3 of a 6.75 oz. package of Maifun rice sticks thin noodles (I used Dynasty)
splash of rice vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large to medium size pot, and saute the onion for 2 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic, stir to mix, and add all of the vegetables. Stir fry for about 2-3 minutes then the soy sauce and allow to cook another 1-2 minutes before adding the vegetable broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and add the noodles. You may need to break up the chunk a bit and move it around in the broth to separate them. Nest the baby bok choy on top and allow to simmer over medium low for about 3 minutes or until the bok choy is tender and the noodles are cooked. Stir in a splash of rice vinegar just before serving. Serve with soy sauce or ponzu for extra flavor.
Easy Pan Seared Tuna Steaks
2 pieces of tuna
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
Salt, pepper to taste
Pat the tuna steaks dry with a paper towel. Top each piece with grated ginger, salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy stainless steel pan over high heat. Once the oil is hot, place each steak seasoned-side down into the pan and do not disturb – this will allow for a nice crust to form. Allow to sear for 3 minutes, then flip and cook to desired doneness. Finish with a splash of soy sauce and serve immediately.