Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tom Yum Vegetable Soup

Yaaaaayyy!!  I got around to cooking tonight.  Things have been pretty hectic for me lately, but since I don't have classes on Fridays, I was able to cook something tonight.  Lots of veggies!  (Veggies are good for you, though.) This was sort of a "clean-out-the-vegetable-bin" sort of soup, which now means that I have to pick up produce at the store tomorrow.  I don't have time to go to Chinatown, however, so I'll just have to shop locally.

When I was rooting around the fridge this evening, I just had so many vegetables, and I had also forgotten to thaw out the red snapper I bought last week, so veggies it was!  I really had no idea how this was going to turn out, but I just tried to put together flavors that I thought would go well together and look kind of colorful with one another.  (It's sometimes nice when your food looks pretty.)  So I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out really good tasting.  I think it's that tom yum paste--whenever I use it in soups it tends to always taste good.  This soup does require a little more time (roughly about 60 minutes start to finish) because you have to cook the noodles and simmer the kabocha and satsumi-imo for several minutes, but cutting them in small pieces helps to make them cook faster.

Tom Yum Vegetable Soup

1-2 oz. shanghai noodles
1 c. good chicken stock
1/4 c. coconut milk
2 tsp. tom yum paste
1/4 satsumi-imo (Japanese sweet potato)
1 oz. kabocha (Japanese squash), seeded
1/2 leek
1 spring onion
1/2 in. diakon, pealed

Boil water in a pot.  Add the shanghai noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until plump and cooked through.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Using kitchen shears, cut the noodles into roughly 3 in. lengths.

Heat the tom yum paste in the pot until fragrant.  Add the chicken stock and coconut milk, and bring to a simmer. 

Dice the satsumi-imo and kabocha into roughly 1 cm cubes.  (I know this sounds like it takes a long time, but just start cutting them up while the noodles are boiling and you won't be wasting any time.)  Add the cubes to the soup base and simmer 5-6 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft when pierced with a fork.

Chop the leek into 1/2 in. strips and cut the spring onion into 1 in. lengths.  Add both to the soup and simmer 1-2 more minutes, or until the leeks are nice and green and cooked.  Chop the diakon in half (into two semi-circles), then slice into 1/8 in. slices.  Add to the soup and cook only for roughly 30 seconds longer.  Remove from heat.

To serve, put the noodles in the bottom of a serving bowl, and spoon the vegetables and soup over top.

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