Friday, 24 May 2013

Pan-Asian Vegetarian Hot Pot

Zuppa di Tofu Marrone, Funghi, Spinaci e Tagliatelle "Udon" ai 5 Spezie Cinese
Brown Tofu, Mushroom & Spinach 5-Spice Udon Noodle Soup

The rest of the world may well be enjoying Springtime, but over here in Germany... we are not! 
Today was cold, wet and grey yet again- no wonder that when it came to deciding on something Asian to cook, I opted for a steaming hot bowl of soup rather than a Spring roll! How else will I ever get over this cold???

I had decided to use up the marinated, savory tofu that I had frozen a couple of months back when I first made it- which was also an experiment and a first for me. Yes- freezing tofu works wonderfully! Which is good for me (and anyone else who is single) to know for the future,,, because one of those blocks of tofu goes a long way when you are eating it on your lonesome!

This was of course very easy to make- just like everything else on my blog is! I started off with about 1" of ginger which I chopped very finely, 1 shallot, 5-6 sliced mushrooms, a little crushed garlic and a Spring onion. I sautéed these in about 1 teaspoon of sesame oil until the onion became translucent and the mushrooms began to brown and then deglazed the saucepan with a some boiling water- enough to cover everything nicely. I then added the tofu, cut into bite-sized strips, 2 teaspoons of 5-spice powder, a hint of cayenne and a tablespoon each of both fish sauce and dark soy. I let this simmer gently for 4-5 minutes and got busy slicing a red, pointy bell pepper finely and by chopping a couple of handfuls of spinach coarsely.

Once it had been boiling away for 10 minutes or so, I added the Udon noodles, peppers and spinach and let the soup continue simmering away for a further 5 minutes. The tofu of course had a nice firm consistency and was flavorful with soy, ginger and tamarind, but obviously you can use regular light tofu if you prefer.

This was a lovely, light soup, with a rich flavor from the 5-spice powder, the soy and fish sauce, as well as from the fresh mushrooms and spinach of course... there was a lot going on here! But a final sprinkle of chili rounded things of nicely and made it all complete- and so delicious! So this may be made using Japanese noodles and Chinese spices... who cares? I am Sicilian and this was a treat- and you might just like it too!

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