I promise that after this huge monologue that there actually is a recipe for Green Veggie Ramen Noodle Soup. I know that the title may be a tad misleading, as it might seem like I made soup with ramen noodles that are green and vegetable flavoured, but really I just made a veggies soup with mostly green veggies in it and with ramen as the noodle of choice. Read on to find out how I thought up this soup, and of course what my strange confession is all about. How about let’s start with that first.
I love to go food shopping. This is my strange confession. I know it sounds like a strange thing to enjoy, as most people lump it in with unpleasant errands like a pharmacy run or picking up your dry cleaning. But not me. Since I started food shopping for myself (who are we kidding I never did it while living at home, so it was an early twenties revelation) it is something that brings me an odd happiness.
I say odd, because I actually hate malls and shopping; there are too many people, they all walk too slow and waiting in line for a fitting room or cash is my nightmare. While a busy grocery store still brings out my inner aisle rage (just image road rage, but with a cart in a grocery store), nonetheless, I love to peruse the aisles slowly. I spend the longest time in the produce section. I swear I must look like a crazy person. I touch everything (which actually once got me yelled at in a tiny fruit store in Spain), I smell things, I inspect them, I dig through the piles to make sure I am getting pristine fruit and veggies. If I’m visiting my go-to-store, a Freshco in the Galleria Mall, I skip most aisles as I try to buy packaged foods as little as possible. I go from the produce section, to the “healthy food” section (if you could really call it that) and then skip to the International aisle and then sometimes the freezer section. I would much rather be shopping in a big fancy Loblaws, I have too much fun there, but I spend about twice as much on groceries when I do, so Galleria Mall it is for me.
This past weekend I went to the Promenade Mall in Thornhill, my boyfriend had the great idea to go walk through T&T supermarket to see if we could find some snacks. I have never been in a T&T before, I don’t think there are any in Quebec where I grew up, so it was quite a fun experience for me. It’s basically the Costco of Asian food. They had amazing samples, a whole section of ramen noodles that would put Mr.Noodle to shame, Asian desserts, an entire side of an aisle dedicated to rice and the most amazing looking prepared food counter. I absolutely love Asian food, so I was in heaven. If I crave anything, it is Asian food (or fried chicken, or donuts, okay so I have a lot of cravings but like 80% of the time it’s for Asian food). It’s possibly because I am addicted to salt, and most Asian food is notoriously salty. Give me Pho, Thai food or Chinese food any day, and I am a happy camper. It was such a great afternoon walking through the supermarket, it makes no sense, but I just felt happy there. Of course, that didn’t stop me from getting overwhelmed by all the selection at the prepared food counter, so I panicked and got nothing and ended up getting McDonald’s in the food court (don’t judge me).
I did get a couple of cool things from this visit though. First, my boyfriend bought me a stuffed watermelon wedge that had a little face, and arms and legs. I know it sounds like something that nightmares are made of, but it was super freaking cute and I’m about five years old, apparently, so I loved it. It really happened because we ended up in one of those ‘everything’ stores before we hit the supermarket and there was a giant stuffed donut. On a recent trip to Montreal, my boyfriend bought me a small stuffed donut with a pink bow and pink lipstick (again, I know, nightmares, but it’s cute, for real), because he knows how much I love donuts. So when we saw a giant donut in the store, he proposed buying it for me so I would have a stuffed donut collection. However, when we spotted the stuffed watermelon, we knew all bets were off for the donut, and that this watermelon needed to come home with me. He knows I have been pining for a stuffed broccoli from Ikea since he met me (K, we get it, I am five years old), but disappointingly neither of us have been able to find one in the Ikea in our area. So this stuffed watermelon was the next best thing in my books.
The second thing I went home with was a pack of handmade, thick, ramen noodles. I like ramen a lot, I wouldn’t say love, because I need to be in a particular mood for it as I find it super rich. But, when I do go for ramen, I am all about the noodle. I’m one of those people that eats all the noodles and things in the soup, and leaves the broth. Luckily, my boyfriend loves the broth and is an eating machine, so nothing goes to waste (match made in heaven, right?). I have a day off this week and decided to make a soup with the ramen noodles. I found a recipe a while ago for an Eggdrop Zoodle Soup that was awesome, and I have been using the broth recipe from it for other adventures. I decided I’m going to use the broth from that recipe with a couple of changes, with some veggies and the ramen noodles. I’ve included the recipe below if you want to try it out. It’s pretty easier and surprisingly quick to make for a soup. The prep takes some time because there is washing and cutting of the veggies, but the actual cook time is probably 20 minutes. I decided to go the long route today and use all fresh veggies, but what’s great about this recipe is that you can use frozen veggies or any vegetable of your choosing if you like. Also, if you don’t have ramen noodles, rice noodles should work great too.
3/4 tbsp olive oil (or sesame oil)
1-2 tbsp minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small shallot, sliced
3 tbsp dried seaweed
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
4 tsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (or Braggs)
4 cups (1 litre) vegetable stock
1 cup water
1/4-1/2 napa cabbage, chopped
1/2 large bok choy (or baby bok choy), chopped
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets (or frozen florets if you want)
6 fresh shitake mushrooms (or more if you like)
Asian style noodle of choice (ramen or rice noodle, I chose ramen)
-The broth is very quick to prepare, so I like to chop up all of my veggies that are going into the soup ahead of time. I chopped the napa cabbage and bok choy into large chunks. Washed and sliced the shitake mushrooms and made my noodles according to the package instructions. Set aside all these ingredients.
-Using a large stock pot, or whatever vessel you like to make soup in, heat the olive oil on medium heat and then add the ginger, garlic and shallot. Cook for a few minutes until translucent. Add in the vegetable broth, water, vinegar, soy sauce and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil.
-Once boiling, add your vegetables. Let boil or reduce heat and simmer for longer, about 5 minutes and check on your vegetables. The kind I chose don’t take very long to cook, so keep an eye out so they don’t get overdone.* If after 5 minutes they are looking good, add the seaweed and green onion and let cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
-Place your pre-cooked noodles in a bowl and serve soup over. If you need to add additional soy sauce or spice, don’t be shy. Make sure to store your noodles separately, as they will get mushy if you keep them in the soup. Assemble before eating, and use left over noodles for a stir fry, if you have any.
*Note: I wanted to make sure that my broccoli was cooked (I don’t like it to al dente) so I put the florets in a covered bowl with some water and popped it into the microwave for 2.5 minutes so they softened up a bit. This is by no means required, and your broccoli will have a bit more of a bite if you skip this step.
The Particular Eater.