Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sort of Asian Soup!

This is for Nezu, who asked me for something without eggplant, tomatoes, or pepper of any kind.  Okay, this has red pepper flakes, but you could certainly delete them and substitute more ginger!  I'm sure, Nezu, that you have other ideas for spicing things up, since you've lived with this forever!  Might horseradish work?  If you use this, I think I'd omit the thyme, but you'd have to taste it to know!)  As for me, I really love this soup! And I buy a large head of my vegetable choice, and I use the rest for Kung Pao, as in "Kung Pao Cabbage," e.g.  MMMMM! 

1 Tbl. canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diagonally sliced
1 bunch green onions, sliced into 3/4" - 1" pieces
4 cans vegetable broth (I use Swanson's)
1 Tbl. freshly grated (or finely minced) ginger--about 1 1/4" - 1 1/2" of a 1" diameter root (Marste introduced me to a microplane grater!  Boy, does this make life easier!  Ha!)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves (or 1 1/2 tsp. fresh!)  (I know this sounds odd--just trust me!)
3 Tbl. soy sauce
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (mild; 1/4-medium; 1/2 hot!)
1 small head bok choy, Chinese cabbage, or green cabbage, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 lb. frozen vegetarian meatballs
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 bunch cilantro, chopped

OPTIONAL:  1 8-oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained (adds crunch)
1 15-oz. can baby corn, drained (adds color and fun!)

Heat oil in a soup pot.  Add the onion, and cook over medium heat until it's soft.  Add garlic and celery, and continue cooking until the celery is soft.  Add the green onions and broth.  Add the ginger thyme, soy sauce, and pepper flakes (or other spicy seasoning, Nezu!  :)).  Simmer until it's fragrant.

Add the cabbage-family vegetable, and cook until it's crisp-tender.  Add the meatballs, and cook until they're thawed and heated through--if the broth is bubbling, it's heated!  Turn off the heat, and add the oil and cilantro, stir them in, and serve.

This is a thick soup because of the vegetables and meatballs.  If you like a thinner soup, add a can, or two, of broth!


  1. Thank you thank you thank you!

    I think I'll try substituting white pepper (which I can eat, because it's not a nightshade) for the red pepper flakes. I'm confused about the thyme: in your comments you say omit it, in the recipe you say use it and trust me. Which should I do?

    Also, yumm baby corn and water chestnuts! Yes yes yes!

  2. I said to possibly omit it if you use horseradish to spice it up; you'd have to taste it to know! Sorry for the confusion; I'll pay more attention to how I say something the next time! Ha!

    Have you looked at some of Marste's recipes? She doesn't use a lot of nightshades all the time. In fact, her recently posted Vegetable Stir Fry would work within your parameters, too, I think!

  3. Oops! It's "Chicken Stir Fry!" Ha!

  4. We made the soup! Jenna came over yesterday afternoon and helped me choose appropriately sized bok choi and other useful items, and we made the soup. Extra ginger, white pepper and fresh thyme were our seasonings. No horseradish (I was out, and Trader Joe's doesn't sell it, and we forgot to check for some at Whole Food (where we went for veggie broth made without tomatoes, the bok choi and cilantro and a couple other things)).

    So we made the soup and tasted the broth and both agreed something was not quite right. Jenna thought maybe it needed more hot, so we did a sample cup with some wasabi, but that didn't work. I thought maybe it needed more sour, and added rice vinegar to another sample cup, which I thought was perfect and Jenna thought was nasty.

    Ultimately we just threw in the cilantro and sesame oil and some more salt and white pepper, and another tablespoon of grated ginger, and hoped for the best. The result was pungent and delightful. The Trader Joe's veggie "meat"balls broke up pretty seriously, so it was more of a ground meat texture than balls. I did add vinegar to my bowl, but I have an unholy love for things sour.

    Alas I think I was allergic to the meatless balls. They were the only questionable ingredient (they listed "spices" on their ingredients) and I had some allergy issues later that night. But it was awesome soup and I'll definitely try again with a different meatball alternative. Maybe cubed tofu.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I sent Jenna home with two tupperwares full of soup, and we had a wonderful time cooking and eating together.

    <3 Nezu

  5. I'm stunned that Jenna helped to cook! She always claims no knowledge! Ha! She'll have to help with dinners here, now! LOL!

    I'm glad you liked the soup! I know the meatless meatballs fall apart, and unless I REALLY feel the need for protein, I generally leave them out altogether!

    Besides, a spoonful of some kind of nut butter, or a piece of cheese, solves the whole "protein thing," and I don't have to mess up a perfectly good recipe with soy stuff, which my system doesn't particularly care for!

  6. Oh no, I've outed Jenna! The reason she helped cook is because I'm even more incompetent in the kitchen than she is, and neither one of us likes to cook, so it was a sort of bonding experience thing. We agreed that it was TOTALLY different from actually cooking, since we were doing it together.

  7. Uh, what Nezu really meant was that I read the recipe out loud! Yes, that was all! >.>

    And reheated soup (which, with the fallen apart meatballs, was more like stew--YUM!) is really really good. There are no more tupperwares left. ;-D



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