You can us this simple recipe and then add whatever you have lying around to add more to it.
Whilst I cook most things using all fresh ingredients I also keep a selection of prepared items if I'm in a rush. These include jars of crushed garlic, chopped chilli, grated ginger pre-cooked noodles. Occasionally coriander, but I always prefer fresh when I remember to pick it up.
Step 1: Ingredients - the Base
500ml stock (I use chicken, but vegetable or Dashi would work just as well)
pinch of sugar, preferably soft brown or palm to balance any spice and add a rounded flavour
a whole star anise
1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger from a jar
1 teaspoon of Soy Sauce
Some fresh coriander (or pre-prepared in a jar)
Step 2: Method
- Put stock, sugar, star anise, ginger and soy sauce into a pan and bring to a gentle boil. I also add the stalks of the fresh coriander if using.
- OPTIONAL: strain into a seperate pan after a few minutes simmering if you want a clear broth with no bits of ginger and star anise in. The longer you simmer, the more flavour will come out of the ingredients, but I'm always in a rush. I just pick out the star anise and leave the ginger in, but it's up to you.
- Add your optional ingredients & vegetables, depending on how long they'll take to cook. For example mushrooms and beansprouts take little time, where as finely sheredded carrot may want a little longer.
- Add a little fresh coriander at the end to make it look nice and add a fresh flavour, it doesn't need cooking.
Step 3: Optional Ingredient Ideas!
- Some cooked meats, such as chicken, pork, prawns or Tofu
- Mushrooms finely sliced
- Green vegetables, such as Chinese Leaf, Pak Choi or cabbages
- Some fresh Chilli (or even dried) and some garlic added at step one can really pep this up.
- I like rice noodles, but you may enjoy thicker Udon and anything in between. If they're dry add them after step one and cook in the broth, or cook seperately according to the packet. If cooked, or prepared seperately, add them after the optional ingredients as they just need to warm through.
- You can even add some beaten egg and stir through to make it like an egg drop soup.
I also added fresh chilli and crushed garlic at step one.
No noodles this time as I'm playing football (soccer) in an hour and wanted something really light.