My Saitama friend, Kim, sometimes has a book giveaway, and recently I inherited her Reader's Digest One-Dish Meals: The Easy Way. I adapted this gorgeous soup the other day from it and will never, ever, ever look back. It's a keeper.
The Japanese have a word, sukkiri, that means something like cleansing/refreshing/satfisying, and all I could think about was that word when I was devouring bowl after bowl of this stuff. I usually hear sukkiri in the context of someone eating something cold, like watermelon, in the hot, humid summer, but this soup, man oh man - it's warming and refreshing and enlivening and comforting all at the same time. The ginger is enough to give it a special kick, and I added some cayenne pepper as well to heat things up a bit more. It's so thoroughly blanketing on a winter's day, no matter what the weather's up to. If it's sunny outside, this will just enhance the brightness, and if it's dreary, just one bowl will be enough to chase any blues away. I'm fortunate enough not to have this problem, but I bet if you've got a sore throat this soup would be just the ticket.
1 package (8 oz. or 200 g) fine egg noodles (I used angel hair pasta, but I'm sure any thin Asian noodle would work well, too)
2 T. olive oil
5 scallions, including tops, sliced diagonally 1-inch thick (I used 2 leeks)
3 T. minced fresh ginger
5 cups chicken stock (I used 5 c. water and 4 chicken bouillon cubes)
1 small head cabbage, finely sliced (I used 1/2 Japanese cabbage and it was plenty)
12 oz. firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. black pepper
I also added 1 chopped chicken breast and several dashes cayenne pepper.
Cook the noodles according to package directions, drain, toss with 1 T. olive oil, and set aside. In a large pot, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium heat for about a minute, then toss in the chopped chicken, scallions, and ginger and stir-fry until the chicken is no longer pink. Add the stock and bring to a boil over high heat, then add the cabbage, reduce heat to medium, and cook for about a minute or two. Stir in the cooked noodles and the tofu, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. (The book says this serves 4 but these proportions made a huge amount of soup, probably close to ten bowls worth.)
Lift your bowl as close as possible to your gob, use chopsticks to shovel in the chunky bits, and slurp the broth straight onto your taste-buds-of-happiness.
Sendin' this on over to Kahakai Kitchen's Souper Sundays...