|make your stomach happy||.||
When I’ve had a long day in front of the computer, or a cold’s put a scratchy-threatening tickle in the back of my throat, or the weather’s just been dank and dreary for days on end leaving me in a bit of a blue funk, it’s the perfect time for one of my favorite comfort foods: a big bowl of Chinese soup, chock full of chewy noodles. These one-dish meals are the ideal cure for a rough day: there’s just something so soothing about leaning over the steaming soup, slurping the long noodles, working your way slowly and steadily to the bottom of the bowl.
Some noodle soups require time and patience, requiring hours of cooking some tough meat down into tender fall-apart goodness. But with ready-made stock on hand, you can take the easy way out too, and have a hearty bowl of noodle soup to dig into in just about the time it would take you to get take-out.
Ask me how I made some particular dish and inevitably, my response will start off with, “Oh, it’s really easy…” The boy always snickers at this; my definition of easy, he likes to remind me, is on a whole different scale than folks like, say, him. For him, any recipe more involved than “open can and heat” is pretty much not going to happen. Seriously, though, for even the most kitchen-phobic of quasi-adults, this Chinese Noodle Soup with Egg and Veggies is quick and easy to put together, nearly impossible to ruin, and always satisfying.
The keys to success are simple. Start with a good chicken stock (you might have to experiment with different brands until you find one you like, though if you’re up for it, homemade is always best). Add more salt and pepper if the soup’s not flavorful enough (conversely, you can always water things down if you find you’ve been overzealous with the seasoning). And take the soup off the heat after you’ve stirred in the egg, so it doesn’t go into a clumpy mess (although even the clumpy mess tastes fine; it just doesn’t look quite as appetizing).
Once you’ve given the basic recipe a go, treat the ingredients list as a very rough guide only. You can substitute the chicken with pork if you like, toss in some shrimp, or even skip the meat altogether. Meanwhile, use whatever leafy green veggie you like in place of the cabbage, add julienned carrots, toss in some bean sprouts at the last minute for some extra veggie goodness, whatever. The possibilities are endless, and can be easily adapted to whatever happens to be lying around in the depths of your fridge.
If you’re really impatient to get your meal in front of you, you can also cut the soup prep time to about 5 minutes flat simply by skipping the marinating step (just sprinkle some salt on the meat once it’s stir-frying in the pot) and using fresh mushrooms instead of dried.
Fast, easy, and good for you to… so what’re you waiting for? Check out the recipe.