Let’s talk about broth.
But I think I’m on the right track.
Brother-based soups are typically, though not universally, more healthful because they’re not laden with cream or butter, however, they have tendency to be high in salt content.
And there’s the rub. In the past when I’ve tried making a traditional chicken noodle soup it’s come out too bland because there’s not enough salt in it or too salty because I’ve over salted.
As a personal preference, I enjoy a chunky or thick soup. There’s a delicious unctuousness that thicker soups have that screams, “I’m a meal.” On a side note, the word “unctuous,” and all its variations, has far too many “U”s for my liking.
But broth-based soups are growing on me. Perhaps it’s because I’m a big fan of Pho, a staple dish on any Thai or Asian restaurant menu nowadays. Or possibly I like the fact that I can have a complete meal in fewer than 20 minutes. Or the fact that this soup is a low calorie dinner option. Or maybe it’s because this soup is mighty tasty.
I’m going to go with mighty tasty.
Look at that broth. It’s simple, yet so flavorful. I use a bouillon cube because, to use an Internet meme, ain’t nobody got time for that homemade broth/stock. And if you do, you’re just a better person. I’ll admit it.
For this soup I like to add a splash of Sriracha at the end, but you can omit it. I like the spice and it rounds out the broth nicely. Also, instead of ginger—or in addition to—you could add some garlic paste if you fancy.
Because I use bouillon, even the low-sodium version, I don’t tend to add extra salt. I find you don’t need it when you add the fish sauce and ginger paste. I’d recommend tasting your broth as you make the soup, especially after adding the first dash or two of fish sauce. It can be a pretty powerful taste, so I’d say use a light hand with it.
As far as the other bits of the soup go, add what you like. I used the tiny frozen shrimp because they were on sale and they take about 30 seconds to heat through in the hot broth. You can easily substitute diced firm tofu, or strips of grilled chicken or steak.
As for the vegetables, I usually like to use sugar snap peas and mushrooms. I didn’t have any mushrooms on hand this time, so I swapped in celery and carrots. Just slice all the vegetables on the thinner side. You want them to retain that lovely fresh crunch, but still heat through. Use what you want.
For the noodles, the bean threads were cheaper than the ramen noodles. Price usually dictates stuff like that for me, personally. I like the translucent, glossy look and taste of the bean threads. And they’re only 170 calories per serving.
Ginger Shrimp Noodle Soup, serves 1
2 cups water
1 cube low-sodium chicken bouillon (use the small cubes; the jar I have reads 2 g)
3-4 dashes fish sauce
1/2 tsp. ginger paste, or ginger minced/grated really finely
1 bundle dried bean threads or ramen noodles
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
handful or two sugar snap peas, cut in half or in thirds
handful frozen mini shrimp
dash of Sriracha (optional)
ground black pepper to taste
1. In saucepan, add water and bouillon cube. Heat over medium until bouillon is dissolved. Whisk in the ginger paste and the fish sauce. Add the dried bean threads or noodles and cook according to package directions. I usually simmer the bean threads for about 10 minutes on their own before moving on to step 2.
2. Add the chopped vegetables and simmer two minutes. Add the shrimp. Simmer another 2 minutes. Add Sriracha and pepper to taste. Serve hot.