You’ve just gotten home and you’re starving. You need food, FAST.
This is what you do:
1) Take a deep breath
2) Put on whatever music soothes your soul, e.g. Great Lake Swimmers
3) Get out the following ingredients, and in about 10 minutes you’ll have a healthy, delicious and most importantly, quick and filling meal!
- 6 cups water or 5 cups veggie broth with 1 cup water
- at least 2 tbsp dark miso or at least 3 tbsp light miso (the darker stuff is more robust)
- 1 tbsp or 2 cubes concentrated veggie broth (if not already used in first step)
- about 0.5 package of brown rice vermicelli noodles (or whatever you can find, but the thin ones work best for this dish
- half package tofu (firm or soft, though soft tends to work best in this dish), cut into small cubes
- 1 tsp roasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 0.5 tsp rice wine vinegar (optional – gives the soup a slight tang)
- 0.5 tsp chili oil (highly recommended but optional – gives the soup a distinct heat)
- 1 head “baby” bok choy or about 1.5 cups of “adult” bok choy (you can substitute lettuce — yes, really– or Chinese cabbage if you don’t have bok choy), sliced thinly into strips
- optional garnish: 2 finely chopped green onions and a sprinkling of white and/or black sesame seeds
Bring the water/veggie broth to a boil. While that’s going, prepare the rest of your ingredients. I find a well set-up mise-en-place can make your cooking experience that much better. Plus it has the added bonus of making you feel incredibly slick when tossing your perfectly organized medley of ingredients in with minimal effort and in time to whatever song you have playing. This is especially satisfying when you have company over and everyone’s hanging in the kitchen while you prepare the meal (an option which, in my opinion, is way more fun and intimate than simply having people arrive when everything’s all ready).
Once the water/broth is boiling, add the miso and veggie broth, stirring until they’re dissolved. Add the noodles, stir, and let cook for a minute. Then add the tofu, sesame oil. Soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and chili oil. Stir around for a minute, letting it sit at medium-high heat for another minute or two. You’re basically waiting for the noodles to cook, which, if you’re using fine vermicelli, should be about 2 minutes, so congratulations, you’re done! Add the bok choy, turn off the heat and let it sit for a minute, stirring a little. If you’ve opted for wider/larger noodles, hold off adding the bok choy until the noodles are almost ready, since no one likes soggy bok choy – you want the greens to be added and then the heat turned off and the soup served.
Garnish with optional green onions (sauté them first in a bit of sesame oil if you want to be really decadent) and a sprinkling of sesame seeds, then serve with chop sticks and spoons, since those noodles will definitely be a handful otherwise.