Sunday, October 17, 2010

A remedy for travel and/or colds

It's officially soup season and I've made this fish soup twice in the past two weeks.

The first time was on my last day in Ann Arbor, when I visited my sister at the University of Michigan. We had originally planned to make this soup for dinner but got lazy and had it for the late lunch/early dinner I had before I boarded my flight. Maybe it's the Asian in me, but noodle soups always make me feel nice and homey and safe. It was a good pre-flight/last meal until Thanksgiving with my sister meal with a Mission St Pale Ale. Considering that my 1 hour flight turned out to be almost 3, it kept me well satiated throughout the ordeal.

The second time was yesterday, after waking up with a terrible head cold and gross nasal drip. Throughout a delirious nap I couldn't think of anything but this fish soup so when I finally woke up, I dragged myself to Whole Foods on 97th (the best Whole Foods in Manhattan by far) just to get the ingredients for the soup. I made enough for me, Andrew, and the next few days. Andrew and I had this soup with a bottle of Orleans Hill Cote Zero 2009 (not bad, not great, good with fish, organic, "sulfite-free," but most importantly, $8.99 at Whole Foods).

The best part about this soup is that it is fast, cheap, and of course healthy (always the shining benefit of a meal). All kinds of variations can be made to it and I'm still working on perfecting the details and ingredients since this is one of my newer dishes. This is a good soup for pre or post travel, a bad head cold, or just change-of-weather-scuffed-boots blues.

1 carton vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic
1 stalk green onion
A small nubbin (about 2 cents worth) of ginger
Noodles -- the first time we used Chinese wheat noodles, the second time I used rice vermicelli (although I had really wanted the mung bean variety)
1 filet of white fish (tilapia works well)
Leafy greens -- napa cabbage is preferred but it's out of season right now so the first time we used iceberg lettuce and the second time, I used romaine lettuce
Black pepper
White pepper
Soy sauce
Rice vinegar
Sesame oil

1) Pour vegetable broth into a large pot and set on high heat to boil
2) Add 2-3 cups water
3) Add a few pinches of salt and black pepper
4) Slice garlic cloves, add to broth
5) Mince ginger, add to broth
6) Cube the fish, add to broth
7) Chop or julienne green onion, add to broth
8) Pour in 2-3 capfuls of soy sauce, 2-3 capfuls of rice vinegar, and a dash of sesame oil
9) Let the soup heat to a boil; in the meantime prepare noodles
10) The soup is pretty much ready after it hits a rolling boil and you've lowered the heat and let it simmer for at least 5 minutes. The longer the soup is heated, the more the flavors are unlocked but note that the fish will break down more over time. It is up to you when you want to eat.
11) A few minutes before serving, throw in the leafy greens. Napa cabbage would need 5-10 minutes, iceberg lettuce needs about 5, and romaine lettuce needs 1 minute.
12) Serve with noodles
13) Add white pepper to taste
14) Tastes super good (and great for the sinuses) with Sriracha hot sauce!

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