These hearty recipes include tofu, eggplant and shiitake noodle soup and a warm soba with pork, shrimp and cabbage.
Food & Wine
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Spiced Beef Pho with Sesame-Chile Oil
The rice vermicelli soup pho is a staple all over Vietnam and this spicy beef version is the specialty of Hanoi. At home in Connecticut, Marcia Kiesel often eats it for breakfast, as the Vietnamese do. "It's a perfect meal and an invigorating way to start the day," she says. She's tried innumerable phos but considers the recipe from Binh Duong, her co-author on Simple Art of Vietnamese Cooking, to be the best. Inspired by the pho served at Ana Mandara and the Hideaway, she tweaks Duong's recipe by adding an escarole garnish.
For this spicy, soothing and restorative chicken-and-rice soup, Ratha Chau prepares his own delectable chicken stock and roasts a chicken, which is then cut into large pieces and added to it. For an easier version, use prepared stock and preroasted chicken.
No soup is quicker to prepare than miso; just whisk miso paste into water. By adding shrimp, tofu and greens, it can double as a complete and light meal. Feel free to use leftover chicken or roast pork (or whatever else is at hand) in place of the shrimp.
Shiitake-and-Swiss-Chard Soup with Hand-Cut Noodles
David Chang flavors this fabulous broth with dried shiitakes; fresh shiitakes intensify the flavor. The highlight: simple noodles thrown in at the end. "They're based on the udon I learned to make in Tokyo" Chang says.
The Chinese have considered the shiitake a symbol of longevity for thousands of years; recent research shows that it's a great source of iron and antioxidants. Here, Nichole Birdsall adds the mushrooms to a soulful recipe passed on to her by her grandmother. "It's a comfort thing. If I need to feel a family connection, I make that soup," she says.
Soba Noodles with Dashi, Poached Egg and Scallions
Chef Douglas Keane of Cyrus restaurant in Healdsburg, California, and an F&W Best New Chef 2006 creates a quick but flavorful broth using kombu (a type of seaweed) and dashi powder (an instant Japanese stock made from shaved bonito—tuna flakes). He poaches eggs in the broth and serves them for a protein-rich lunch or even breakfast.
With its seductive flavors of coconut, lime, ginger, and cilantro, this Thai soup is quickly becoming a favorite across the country. Our version includes enough chicken and noodles to make it a main course. If you like, turn up the heat with more cayenne.
The base for this tofu, eggplant and shiitake katiev ("noodle soup" in Cambodian) is a made-from-scratch vegetable stock with a long ingredient list, including two types of cabbage and dried Chinese mushrooms. To simplify the Cambodian noodle soup, we added fewer vegetables to store-bought vegetable broth.
Cooks in Asia serve hot pots communally, setting a big pot of bubbling broth on the table alongside a platter of raw ingredients (like vegetables and thinly sliced chicken) for dipping. It's a fun way for guests to feel like they have a hand in making their own meal. In his version, Ethan Stowell gives each person at the table an individual bowl of sliced mushrooms, tofu and scallions, then adds piping hot chicken broth loaded with chunks of tender cooked chicken.
This soup is packed with shrimp, pork, mushrooms, noodles and cabbage, so it's a terrific one-bowl meal. Grace Parisi delicately seasons the broth with store-bought dashi, a Japanese stock made from dried bonito (tuna) flakes.
Served in the rustic northern-Thai style with the aromatics left in, this spicy, gingery stew makes a fantastic main course or starter. It's also believed to boost energy. For an even healthier version, remove the skin from the Cornish hens before searing.