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Two Pot Soup February 21, 2008

Posted by KG in Food.
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Last Saturday a craving for non-sushi Japanese took hold of me and wouldn’t let go.  Given where I was at the time, my options were slim, so I decided to be creative and make my own.  Now, I’ve never cooked Japanese, not even your basic teriyaki.  One of the many gaps in my knowledge is how to prepare lighter, less Chinese influenced East Asian food.  This was a welcome chance to branch out of my spicy/salty routine and try my hand at something a bit more gentle.  Whole Foods provided a number of ingredients I figured (based on watching Iron Chef) would work, like bonito flakes and soba noodles.  A forewarning: this recipe is based on little research, so the “authenticity” is questionable.  But it’s a quick and easy soup for a chilly night, with the added benefit of being very satisfying and easily scaled.  The numbers reflect a single serving.

On reading this recipe it may seem like you may need four pots.  But if planned well, cleaning as you go, this soup only requires two (hence my title).  Judicious washing on-the-go is your friend.  Embrace it! 

8 medium shrimp, raw, shell on
1 skinless chicken thigh
2 cups bonito flakes
1 tablespoon miso powder
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Green onions, to garnish

Gently boil the chicken thigh, whole, and the shrimp, unshelled, in three cups of water until the shrimp is just past translucent.  This should take no more than four to five minutes and will not fully cook the chicken, just firm up the meat to make it easy for de-boning.  Strain the water into a second pot and keep at a simmer. 

Shell the shrimp,  debone the chicken thigh, and add the shells and bone to the water along with the bonito, miso powder, and fish sauce.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  The broth should start to smell rich and, well, umami-y.  While the broth simmers, cook a batch of Japanese style noodles, enough for one serving.  I used Eden Foods mugwort soba noodles, which were perfect.  Strain the noodles and place in a large soup bowl.

Strain the broth into a pot, keeping at a simmer.  Discard the bonito, shells, bone, etc.  Roughly chop the chicken and return to the broth.  Cook at a simmer for 5-7 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through.  Throw the shrimp in the broth, simmer for a moment, and pour the broth, meat, and shrimp over the noodles.  Garnish with diced green onions and enjoy.  

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