Tuesday, January 26, 2010

4 step healthy Asian inspired soups for one - to go

I have been constructing lovely soups for one, just made one for tomorrow, and I thought I'd share. This is a great idea for when there are no leftovers to take for a lunch, but it works perfectly well to make on the spot and eat on a chilly night when you're home alone.

I was inspired by this recipe, and came up with this version that is simple to make and take to work with me. Basically, it is miso paste, assorted vegetables, a source of protein and noodles.

I love red miso paste, and I buy organic paste, but any kind will do. Any kind of vegetables cut small, raw, frozen or cooked work just fine. For speed and nutrition, you really can't beat frozen vegetables. For protein, I have made this with shrimp as I did here, cooked leftover chicken or other meat, little cubes of tofu, and frozen meatballs. I love dried buckwheat soba noodles for taste and nutrition, but any kind of noodles will work. If you are using long, dried noodles, break them in half to fit your bowl and also so that they will cook more quickly when you prepare your

As for storing this soup before I eat, these are my rules:

all frozen items = no fridge needed

some frozen items + non-frozen items = no fridge needed

all vegetables with or without tofu = no fridge needed

cooked items that are not frozen = fridge needed

You will need a large-ish bowl with a fitted lid. The bowl I use is 4 cups. Note that you will be adding boiling water to this bowl, so you should not be using plastic unless you are certain it is BPA free. There is some debate about whether heating plastic releases chemicals into food that may have various, serious health consequences.

Here we go:

1. Place your vegetables and proteins in your bowl until it is half full. Top with a bit of chili flakes and about 1.5 tablespoons of miso paste, which you are welcome to adjust to your taste. I have used frozen shrimp, frozen broccoli, frozen spinach and fresh green onions here:

2. Place the noodles on top as shown below. I have a theory that doing this makes sure the boiling water hits them first and makes them cook faster.

3. Cover your bowl and go on about your merry way. Store as required by the contents of your soup.

4. When you are ready eat, boil a kettle of water, pour it in your soup just below the rim of the bowl, cover your bowl, wait 5 minutes and enjoy. Theoretically you could also fill your bowl with cold water and microwave it until hot and let stand.

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