Thursday, January 20, 2011

Warm up a winter weeknight
with Asian Beef and Noodle Soup

An Asian noodle dish – it’s my idea of food heaven.
   It’s hard to resist the comforting appeal of rice, ramen, soba or udon noodles. Cooked in a broth, they’re an amazing way to warm up on a winter’s day.
   Asian Beef and Noodle Soup (click for the recipe) from Cook’s Country magazine is just such a warming recipe.
   This soup is great for weeknights. It’s a snap to make, and it’s family-friendly – everyone will be slurping it up.
   Chinese five-spice powder is the secret ingredient that lends great flavor in a short time period.
   Chinese five-spice powder, a blend of ground star anise, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon and Sichuan pepper, can be found in the spice or Asian foods section of many supermarkets. Fish sauce, another key ingredient in the soup, is also in the Asian foods section.
   The recipe calls for one small flank steak, cut into ¼-inch pieces. I have often used pre-sliced stir-fry beef to speed the preparation even more.
   The recipe also calls for cilantro. As with any time my husband and I encounter cilantro in a recipe, we skipped it completely in the soup.
   The recipe I linked to above, which is on a blog, is nearly exactly the same as the one I use from Cook’s Country magazine. (If you have a Cook’s Country website log-in, click here for the recipe.)
   There are just a couple of small differences, and they have to do with the toppings the blogger has suggested. The recipe from Cook’s Country did not call for, and so I have never used, sliced green onions, lime juice, soy sauce or Siracha chili sauce as toppings.
   Chicken broth, grated fresh ginger, minced garlic, fish sauce and Chinese five-spice powder are brought to a boil in a large pot or Dutch oven, and are then simmered for 10 minutes.
   Ramen noodles, sliced beef and cabbage are added and soup simmered for a short time longer.
   Then it’s time to ladle out some bowls of comfort!

More warming soups

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