I thought about calling this post “Conor’s Favourite Soup”. It is, in fact, his favourite and most asked-for soup, despite my best efforts to convert him to whatever new soup I bring out of the kitchen. His longtime response, “They can’t all be my favourite!,” might just be one of the wiser things I’ve heard spoken in my life. I suppose I should simply be content with his passion for this soup rather than continually try to tempt him with a new favourite. The point is, as much as this soup is inextricably linked to Conor in my mind, naming it after him does little to inform you lovely people of the aromatic magic happening within.
Let’s take a trip to flavour town, shall we?
I used to make this without the tofu and noodles, and while really light and delicious, it hardly constituted a meal. Recently, however, I came across these gluten free forbidden rice ramen noodles from Lotus Foods. Organic, Non-GMO, and comprised entirely of rice (and low-cal to boot) – you can imagine my elation. From there it was an easy enough decision to throw these in, along with some tofu for protein. Plus – forbidden! The story behind black rice is so cool. The legend goes that it was once eaten exclusively by Emperors in China (hence the name forbidden). Better still, it’s pretty nutritionally dense, providing a healthy dose of iron, vitamin E, and magnesium. The black colour goes purple when you cook it (also very cool) and indicates a high level of antioxidants – even more than blueberries! I just love it when healthy things taste like they should be bad for you.
I double dare you not to eat some of this, especially after the tofu goes in.
If you’re wondering where the asian fusion aspect comes in, well, my favourite Korean dish is a spicy tofu stew called Sundubu Jjigae, and this is inspired by that for sure. The overall feel is decidedly more Chinese though. One day I’ll attempt the real thing, but for now, I call this my ramen for grown-ups.
Asian Fusion Spicy Tofu Stew
~ Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free, nut free ~
- 10 cups no-sodium-added vegetable stock
- 1 bunch spinach, chopped
- 1/2 bunch shanghai bok choy, chopped
- 1/2 bunch yu choy, chopped
- 2 cups assorted asian mushrooms (shiitake, oyster)
- 1 package organic soft tofu
- 2 bricks of Forbidden Rice noodles (or use your favourite rice noodles)
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 5 green onion
- 2 inch piece of ginger, minced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp tamari
- 1 tbsp sriracha, plus more for serving
- Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a large soup pot.
- While the stock is heating up, mince your garlic and ginger (I used my magic bullet to speed things up) and chop the green onions and mushrooms.
- Wash and chop your greens and set aside.
- Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Prepare for the incredible aroma about to fill your kitchen. Now add the garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the mushrooms along with the tamari and sriracha and saute for about 3 minutes, then add in the green onions and and saute for another two minutes, until the mushrooms are soft.
- Crumble in the tofu and stir well. Restrain yourself from eating this mixture before it ever sees the soup pot. Remove from the heat.
- By this time the stock should be ready. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and add in the greens, tofu mixture, and noodles. I like to break the noodle blocks in half so they are manageable with only a spoon, but if you prefer to do the chopstick and spoon combo, feel free to leave it as is.
- Simmer everything for a further 5-6 minutes, until the greens are just barely cooked. They will continue to cook even after the soup is off the heat, so if you leave it too long they will get soggy.
- Season with salt and pepper, add in more sriracha to achieve desired heat, and serve.