Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Quick Hot Meal for a Rainy Night

For the past few days we've had some rainy and cold weather here. Whenever it's like this outside I crave soup. But last night, I didn't have a ton of time, so I needed to make a soup that didn't require a long simmer. I ended up making an Asian hot pot. In reality, it really wasn't a true hot pot since I didn't cook the ingredients in the broth at the table. But hey, I was close enough since this whole cooking process happened pretty fast.
When I started making this recipe, I anticipated getting a rather brothy soup. But once I had everything in the pot, I was happy to find that this was heartier than I guessed it would be. Mark affirmed that this was great "cold, rainy night food". You don't need many ingredients here, and the leftovers are great too (I had them for lunch today). The recipe below is what I came up with after poking around various recipe sites and picking out my favorite Asian flavors. The only thing I felt that was missing here was heat. Next time I make this dish, I plan to stir some sriracha directly into the broth. This time, we just topped our bowls with it and stirred it in then.

Tofu and Vegetable Hot Pot
-4 cups vegetable broth
-1 1/2 cups water
-4 garlic cloves, smashed
-1 inch of peeled ginger, sliced
-canola or vegetable oil
-1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
-3 heads baby bok choy, stems and leaves separated, chopped
-3 oz. rice noodles (about half a package)
-1 package firm tofu, drained and cubed
-2 carrots, grated
-3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
-3 tbsp soy sauce
-1 tbsp sesame oil
-2 scallions, sliced

-Put the broth, water, garlic, and ginger in a large pot. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow the garlic and ginger to infuse the liquid. Remove the garlic and ginger slices. *NOTE* It's a good idea to remember how many garlic cloves and ginger slices you put in, so you can ensure that you got them all out.
-While the broth is simmering, prepare the vegetables. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the oil, mushrooms, and bok choy stems. Saute for about 5 minutes, until tender.
-Add the mushrooms, bok choy stems, and rice noodles to the broth, and simmer for 2 minutes.
-Add the bok choy greens and tofu to the broth, simmer for 2 minutes.
-Add the carrots, vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Stir to combine everything well, and serve topped with scallions.

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