Monday, July 26, 2010

Tangy Shanghai Noodles


Just because it's hot outside, don't forget how awesome soup can be. It may seem counter-intuitive  to those of us living in the Northeast to cozy up to a bowl of hotness in the middle of summer, but that seems a little close-minded. I can think of so many cultures out there that endure hot weather, and yet indulge in hot (even very spicy) meals year-round. 

Think of the southern Asian countries. In China, noodle soup is eaten at all times of the year, and an order of fish will come in a pool of broth, regardless of the season. Indians will be eating curry and stews in the hottest months, and in fact, the further south in India you go, the spicier the food becomes. Don't forget the chili infused Thai and Malaysian curries. On a trip to South Africa, I actually thought that the most stand-out items on most menus were the soups. I had many amazing fresh soups in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Kruger Park - all eaten outdoors on 80 degree winter days.

The point is, two hots don't make it hotter, so don't forget our friend soup.  A week ago, I tried to re-create a spicy and sour noodle soup I had in Shanghai. My husband wasn't into them on Sunday, but when he found the leftovers a few days later he thought they were the best thing ever and praised the day he married me. This past weekend, I made a batch of roasted tomato soup (with a few more random veg in the mix), and two sets of guests actually got very excited to eat it. Because in the whirlwind of summer barbecues, salads and dry sandwiches, they had forgotten how awesome soup is. 

Shanghai-inspired vegetarian noodle soup:

Tangy Shanghai Noodles
1 Garlic clove, chopped
1/4C Onion, chopped
1 tsp Toasted sesame oil
3C Vegetable Stock
1/2 tsp Hot Datil pepper sauce (or tabasco / favorite hot pepper sauce)
1/4C lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
Cooked Chinese egg noodles (looks like nests of yellow angel-hair pasta)
1 small Zucchini, julienned (shredded)

1. Heat sesame oil over low-medium heat in a small stock pot. Add garlic and onion, cooking a few minutes until tender.

2. Add stock, hot sauce, lime juice and salt. Simmer over medium heat, about 5 minutes and taste. Add more seasoning (sesame oil, pepper sauce, lime juice, salt) to taste if needed. You can always add more at the table.

3. Add zucchini and pre-cooked noodles. Heat through, about 3-4 minutes. Serve with seasonings and lime wedges.


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