Asian style broth

Soup bowl with Asian style ingredients

My Asian style broth is an old favourite that I come back to year after year. I just realised that this has become a real January staple in my house. I assume that’s  because it is full of fresh tastes and textures, low in fat, low in carbs and still has a lovely warmth to it – great if your fed up with the rich flavours we tend to fill up on over the winter months. The version I made here is vegan, although some of the adaptations are not. I’m not sure where I first got the recipe from, so my apologies if I’m sharing your recipe and not giving you credit.

Asian style broth

Serves 2 -3

Difficulty rating Easy (the only thing you have to be careful with is the timing towards the end, just to make sure your veg stays fresh and retains a crunch)

Ingredients

  • 600ml vegetable stock (you can buy pouches in liquid form in most supermarkets)
  • 1 small red chilli, finely sliced (I make sure it is one with a good kick)
  • 1cm fresh root ginger (peel and grate it – it is easier if you freeze your ginger and grate whilst frozen)
  • 1 stock of lemongrass (bruise it with a knife to release more flavour)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (I tend to use dark soy sauce because that’s what I have to hand. Use whichever type you prefer – add more if you like. Make sure you use gluten free soy sauce if catering for a gluten free diet.)
  • Spray oil (I used a rapeseed oil)
  • 175g shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 generous handful pak choi, chopped
  • 2 handfuls of fresh bean sprouts
  • 2 spring onions (I shred mine lengthwise so it stands out in the bowl)
  • 1 small can water chestnuts (I seldom add them all if I add a lot of optional extras)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The ingredients above will give you the basic broth that you can adapt (see options below). You may also want to add the following:

  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey (not suitable for vegans)
    If you’re not sure if you like either of these ingredients, you can start off with a small amount and gradually add more to build up the flavour to a level you’re happy with.

Method

  1. Put the vegetable stock into a pan and bring to the boil.
  2. Add the chilli, lemongrass and ginger (plus the honey and rice wine if using) and simmer for 15 minutes. The liquid will reduced by that time.
  3. Whilst your broth is simmering, spray a frying pan with oil and cook the shiitake mushrooms until golden.
  4. Taste your broth at this stage and see if you need to add more of any flavour. If you do, add it now and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  5. Remove the lemongrass.
  6. Add the mushrooms, pak choi, spring onion, beansprouts and water chestnuts.
  7. Stir and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Pour into your bowl and top with a sprinkling of veg eg some beansprouts, spring onion and chilli.

Variations

The broth in the photograph above uses the basic broth mix (no honey or rice wine vinegar). The only addition I have made is the inclusion of a few generous slices of tofu. I added my tofu to my mushroom pan and cooked alongside the mushrooms until gently browned the added to the broth with the veg.

The following additions can easily be made:

  • Add noodles and an egg to create a ramen bowl
  • Replace the pak choi with spring greens, cabbage or kale
  • Use bamboo shoots instead of water chestnuts
  • Thin slices or ribbons of carrot add texturE
  • Anything else that takes your fancy!

I think the most important thing with this recipe is making sure you take the opportunity to play about with the balance of ingredients until you find the combination that works for you.

Enjoy x

Val

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