some sort of far east asian soup?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by siduri, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. siduri

    siduri

    Messages:
    3,599
    Likes Received:
    46
    Exp:
    At home cook
    I admit to total and absolute ignorance about asian cuisine.  I used to watch Joyce Chen back in the day, and I have her cookbook and make some stir fry dishes from there, I used to love her restaurant, where i discovered unusual dishes like mu shi pork, which i even made a couple of times (took forever). That's about it.  I'm not crazy about Chinese restaurants here, I don't like sushi (even without the fish) though there are a couple of Japanese restaurants in Rome that seem ok (i have no idea if they're authentically Japanese and more than Olive garden is italian but they seem ok to me). 

    I've eaten in this chain that's called Wagamama in London, and really loved the soup I got.  I got their cookbook, and have made some sort of soup putting together various of their recipes, but again, this may be real crap to someone who actually knows the cuisine.  So any scorn i may feel for someone thinking pizza hut is real pizza can be dumped on me for my lack of knowledge of asian cuisines.

    Anyway, I make this soup (soupy noodle dish) that takes forever and would like to be able to make something vaguely similar but without spending an hour in the kitchen dirtying the entire counter and about ten pots and bowls. It's so immensely satisfying i;d like to make something similar more often. 

    Here's what i do.  Can anyone tell me how i can cut this down to a normal worknight dinner, and also maybe improve it. 

    I sometimes use canned broth (which finally arrived here this year - yay) and added piece of ginger, celery, carrot, onion, sweet potato, and simmered while i do the rest. 

    In wok, i stir fry julienned carrot, celery and white part of spring onions, with salt and sugar to caramelize them quickly.

    I remove and put in bowl. 

    I stir-fry some bean sprouts with crushed garlic, sugar and salt.Put aside in another bowl.

    I stir-fry bok choi cut up in small pieces

    I stir-fry mushrooms (this time i used pleurus)

    i grill a piece of pork (or chicken) (Sometimes i sautee shrimps) that's been sitting in dry vermouth and soy sauce, then cut into strips. 

    I soak some wakame seaweed

    slice greens of spring onion

    cook some soba noodles

    Then i put the ingredients in separate sections of the soup bowl that they;ll be eaten in, each person's dish made up separately, but I put the scallions and seaweed all over it.  Then i add miso to the broth and pour into the bowls. 

    We like it alot, but i wonder if there is something i can do to make it easier - especially because for bok choi or bean sprouts, i need to make a trip to the chinese store which is not a quick walk, and would like to substitute regular, easily available italian vegetables to make a similarly good dish.

    What would you use to make it use fewer ingredients and ones more easily available but still tasty. 

    Could i just add miso to water and would it still be tasty? (I don't always have the broth, not every store carries it).

    Could i use some other dried ingredients (like the seaweed) (they have a lot in this Pacific Trading store where i get the fresh stuff- they seem to supply all the chinese restaurants in rome).  I found, for example, lily flower, that i remember from my experience with moo shi pork.  There were tons of other mysterious dried things there. 

    Any other tips? 

    thanks
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,498
    Likes Received:
    479
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    There's a liquid bonito soup base used for quick stock and as a seasoning.  That would help with the broth

    Yoi could use cabbage or evn kale instead of the bok choy.

    I like th wagamama ccookbook too.

     I'l get back with you later about the bonito base..
     
  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,498
    Likes Received:
    479
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food


    Quoting from Rasamalaysia.com

    Quote:
    There are other brands too. I think Kikkoman has one
     
  4. siduri

    siduri

    Messages:
    3,599
    Likes Received:
    46
    Exp:
    At home cook
    That sounds interesting Phatch, I'll look for it, though what they call it in Italian.. your guess is as good as mine.  The people in the store are all chinese and most of them speak no italian at all (even less English of course).

    I suppose swiss chard would be more similar to bok choi.  I like the sprouts especially for their texture.  Was wondering if lettuce could substitute that feel. 

    It would be interesting to see how Chinese and Japanese and other Asians cook when they move to places that don't have any of their usual ingredients. 

    I guess the kinds of things Italian-americans came up with in the America of the 1880s would be analogous, but Italian ingredients are far more similar to other European stuff.  . 
     
  5. butzy

    butzy

    Messages:
    1,675
    Likes Received:
    373
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    I think you could use rape instead of bok choi, or any coarse type or spinach?

    You don't really need to stir-fry the bean sprouts. They need such a short time anyway, they will cook in the hot broth you throw over it. This would skip one step (one less pot to clean).

    If they are difficult to get, you could consider growing your own (the bean sprouts, I mean). If there is an Indian or other Asian shop close by, see if they have whole mung beans (small green pea looking). You can make them sprout in a day or 3, and the sprouts keep a while in the fridge. If you are interested, I can send you some pictures of what mung bean look like

    I'm a big fan of SE asian food (Indonesian mainly, but Malay and Thai as well). I've always been able to find substitutes for most ingredients in the countries I've been in, although it's been a lot of hit and miss at times
     
  6. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,498
    Likes Received:
    479
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    You could really use almost any vegetable you happen to have available.You just want a range of colors and textures in the final dish.

    The bok choy is a cabbage relative which is why I listed cabbage earlier as an option.. But you could could use many different greens that offer a similar mustiness and texture like the Chard you mentioned. Mustard greens would work I think. Even brocolli which might give more texture to the soup. I could even see very thin asparagus. 

    The bean sprouts are pretty bland. They offer a color change and texture as was noted. Celery could offer the texture but not the color. Cauliflower stems would work pretty well with a very brief cooking to keep them crisp and not too aromatic. Yellow or green string/wax beans could stand in pretty well. You might cut a yellow or white onion julienne and omit the green onion, using something else green instead.

    If you have a strong enough stove, you could combine some of your stir fry activity. For example, start the carrots, then at 1/3-1/2 of the cooking time, add the sprouts so they finish cooking at the same time. If you don't have enough stove heat though, they'll steam and not cook right. Worth experimenting with I think though you lose some of the serving flair as the vegies are already mixed.

    eggs often make an appearance in soup, not just as egg drop. Consider a similar dish with the asian chicken stock but no miso or seaweed. Cook some noodles, poach eggs in the stock, stir fry some cabbage briefly with some chopped green onion. Assemble in the bowls slipping poached egg on top, perhaps with some slivers of ham.

    .
     
  7. siduri

    siduri

    Messages:
    3,599
    Likes Received:
    46
    Exp:
    At home cook
    interesting ideas Phatch.  thanks