I feel that one of the biggest inspirations for writing recipes are past experiences I want to relive. Food, above all else, is an experience. Not only is the food important but also all the auxiliary memories associated with it like the people you were with, the ambience and the mood you were in. All of these things can lead to visceral memories of pleasure and enjoyment associated with the food that make it stick out in your memory. I think that is one of the biggest reasons holiday meals are so special. Not only do we take the time to make good food, but we’re also surrounded by our loved ones, off from work and in a good mood.
But there are also those memories that stick out in your mind for no particular reason. One of those for me is a lemongrass soup my partner Mia made probably 3 or 4 years ago now. On a cold winter night, something about that soup just hit home. The perfect balance of acidity, fat & sweetness to warm the soul. We tried to recreate that soup many times, and failed spectacularly more than once. About a month ago now, I decided it was time to definitively try and recreate a soup to the same standards as that one mythical night many years ago.
It actually turned out to be quite a challenge to recreate, I would say that this recipe was one which I was the most unsure about, trying it at least 5 times before labeling it as “blog ready”. The soup is a lemongrass soup with wheat noodles. The broth is fresh, citrusy and a tad bit sweet. One key ingredient are the dried shiitake mushrooms. They bring wonderful texture and flavor, and are much cheaper than their fresh counterparts! Additionally, in terms of noodles, I would recommend any wheat noodle that is intended to be served in soup. This recipe will make 2-3 portions of soup to warm you up, enjoy!
- 1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 1 ½ inch ginger, grated (1 tbsp once grated)
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 2 stalks lemongrass
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 head broccoli, in small florets
- 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
- ⅔ cup frozen corn, thawed
- 200g dried wheat noodles
- Chopped Thai basil & cilantro, to top
- Chili oil, to top
- About an hour before beginning to cook, soak the dried shiitake in room temperature water in a shallow bowl.
- Remove your mushrooms from their soaking liquid and squeeze them with your hands to remove any excess liquid. Cut off the stems and set aside with the other vegetables.
- Cut your lemongrass into 1 in pieces and using a broad knife, press down on them to release the juices.
- Heat a large saucepan on medium heat. Once sauté the shallots, ginger and garlic in the coconut oil for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Then, pour over the broth and add in the lemongrass, coconut sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, add in the broccoli, carrots, frozen corn and shiitake mushrooms and simmer for another 7 minutes. Once that is complete, using a slotted spoon fish out as many pieces of the lemongrass as you can. No need to be perfect, if some remain then they can be taken out while eating.
- Once the lemongrass has been removed, taste for salt, the amount needed will vary based on broth used. After, add in the noodles. Cook to package instructions. Once complete, serve while hot and top with Thai basil and chili oil, enjoy!