I like to make this noodle soup when I feel a cold coming on. Spicy broth, kicky garlic, a hit of Vitamin C… it’s enough to challenge any runny nose bug. (hmmm, sound familiar? I am all about soups curing the bugs of winter) Best of all, it’s quick to whip together and doesn’t include any ingredients known to exacerbate mucus production (oh yeah, so sexy, I went there).
Once upon a time, this recipe was inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Dan Dan Noodles recipe from his book Jamie’s America, but I have made so many changes to it over the years (and eaten proper dan dan noodles, which taste nothing like this) that it’s really become a completely new beast unto itself.
The trick with any good Asian cuisine (or any cuisine at all), is to balance the flavours- salty, sour, sweet, bitter, umami. This dish packs a good punch, but everything remains balanced and it plays with some really fun textural elements, which you don’t find in a lot of soups. I love the how the sweet, crunchy beef plays off the chewy noodles and the spicy, salty, sour broth. Toss a couple veggies in there to make it ‘healthy’ and you’ve got yourself a cheap and delicious alternative to Chinese take out or the Phở shop on the corner.
Most bouillon cubes recommend 4 cups of water to one ‘cube’ but I find that way too salty. Since we are boiling the soup down for a while and adding soy sauce and sriracha to the mix, I like to start with more water and adjust the seasoning as needed. Better to start with too little and amp it up than have to dilute your flavours with extra water if you find it’s too much. If you do find it needs an extra something, adjust the sriracha, soy sauce and lime juice proportions to suit your taste.
For example, I like mine doused in extra sriracha. Rip your lips off hot. It’s to exorcise whatever’s ailing me. Burn the cold out!
|Spicy Soup Noodles|| |
- 500 g ground beef
- 2 Tbsp honey
- ¼ tsp sesame oil
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 8 cups water
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp sriracha, plus extra to taste
- ⅛ cup fresh lime juice
- 300 g shanghai soup noodles or dried spaghettini*
- 3-4 bunches baby bok choy, trimmed
- 1 crown broccoli, trimmed
- 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
- Lime wedges, to garnish
- Add the ground beef to a dry pan (no oil). Brown on medium-high heat and drain well.
- Once the beef has been drained, return it to the heat and keep cooking it, stirring frequently, until the meat is golden and crunchy. This is counter-intuitive but will create a nice flavour and texture for your soup.
- Once the meat is crispy and brown, remove from heat and coat well with honey and sesame oil. Set aside.
- Dissolve your bouillon cube in 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add noodles and cook until not quite al dente.
- Add your bok choy and broccoli to the boiling noodles and cook for 1-2 minutes, until bright green and lightly cooked. Remove pot from heat.
- Add garlic, soy sauce, lime juice and the sriracha and give the soup a quick mix with a pair of tongs.
- Serve immediately topped with a hefty sprinkle of sweet crumbled beef, fresh green onions and a slice of lime (and more sriracha if you’re zesty like me).