I’m not sure where my head was when I made this meal. Luckily it turned out tasty, but I did so many silly things along the way, like forget several ingredients I bought specifically for the dish. Seriously, I didn’t remember to put ginger in until I went up for seconds. Who makes anything Asian-inspired without ginger?
But let me explain the little bit of thinking that did go into this dinner. I wanted to improvise another soup, this time with light Asian flavors. I started with Trader Joe’s all-natural vegetable broth, which I brought to a boil with some frozen shrimp shells I had the presence of mind to save last week. I just finished reading Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat, and she talks about keeping bones and shells and other normally disposed items to use later in stock.
After a bit, I removed the shells and added chicken, carrots and green onions. Then came the hard part: figuring out how to make it taste like something. I added a good amount of soy sauce and some Singapore seasoning I brought from my parents’ house. I think it’s a blend of curry, pepper and lemon that is meant to go on fish or chicken. Then I remembered to add a few garlic cloves (you know, that ingredient that goes in pretty much everything. My mind was clearly somewhere else.)
It was starting to taste all right, but it took on new complexity when I gave it a glug of white wine. I figured I’d apply the same idea I learned a week earlier when I saw sherry listed in a stir-fry recipe. I’m not sure the soup would have been worth anything without it.
I added bok choy and peas. (Not snap peas, even though I had them in the fridge. No, that would have been the smart thing to do.) Then I put the shrimp in, followed soon by thin glass noodles.
We served it with bean sprouts, cilantro and spicy sriracha sauce.
Asian-Inspired Shrimp and Chicken Noodle Soup
All amounts are approximations of what I threw in. As long as you keep tasting this, adding a little more of everything as necessary, you can’t mess it up. If I can make as many mistakes as I did and have it still taste good, then you’ll be fine. Makes about 4 to 6 servings depending on how much meat, vegetables and noodles you add. We had a lot more noodles than shrimp and chicken.
- 2 quarts stock (chicken, vegetable or fish)
- Thin glass noodles
- 1 cup snap peas
- 2 baby bok choy, with leaves pulled apart and bottoms trimmed
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 4 carrots, julienned
- 2-3 green onions
- 3 garlic cloves, cut in half
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- Soy sauce — amount depends on how salty your broth and soy is. Pour some in, then taste and add as necessary
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or sherry
- Sriracha chili sauce
- Fresh cilantro leaves
Bring stock to a boil, add chicken, carrots, green onion, garlic, ginger and curry powder. When chicken is cooked through, turn down to a simmer and add soy and wine till it tastes right. It might need some pepper, lemongrass or lemon or lime zest for flavor. Add shrimp, when they start to turn pink, add noodles and snap peas. If shrimp are already cooked, add later to keep them from shrinking into nothing.
Serve with bean sprouts, cilantro leaves and sriracha.