When I was a (really little) kid, there was this restaurant my Dad used to take me to downtown (on McCaul Street in the Village by the Grange, for those who know the area). It was called Ginsburg and Wong, and it was my first introduction to ‘fusion’ food. Well, not so much fusion in the sense that we know it today, but fusion in that it served two totally different styles of food – both of which were my favourite – old-fashioned Jewish Deli, and Chinese food.
Seriously, you could order a lean corned beef sandwich AND sweet and sour chicken balls at the same time. To six-year-old me, this was brilliant. In some way, it probably led to my current love of taking everyday favourite foods and giving them an international twist.
Ginsburg and Wong hasn’t been around for a very long time, and even if it were there now, grown up, vegan me wouldn’t have much interest in it, but tonight’s dinner reminded me how much fun it is to mix cuisines and create something wonderful. Like my Asian-inspired “chicken” noodle soup.
My littlest one has been sick all week, and hasn’t has much of an appetite, but bow-tie pasta and clear soup are two things she will almost never turn down. And with the weather being what it is (hello Fall in Canada), soup is pretty much on everyone’s mind lately. When I was sick as a kid, Lipton’s chicken noodle soup was my go-to comfort food. That bright yellow broth and slurpy noodles…it was like a hug in a bowl.
An acquaintance recently introduced me to the vegetarian chicken soup base at Bulk Barn (which is 100% accidentally vegan!) and it’s been my number one soup and flavour base ever since. So off I went to make her some vegan ‘chicken’ soup. But I also had some mushrooms, green onions, smoked tofu and ginger lingering in the fridge that needed to be used up. So I grabbed a little soy sauce, hoisin and sriracha and BOOM! Asian ‘chicken soup was born.
It’s like the hugs of my childhood, with a spicy, rich twist.
Quick and Easy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup
1 package of pasta/noodles, cooked according to package directions
6 cups water
⅓ cup vegetarian chicken soup base (or two cubes of vegan chicken bouillon)
2 tbsp olive oil
½ large onion, diced
1 thumb ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp vegetarian hoisin sauce
Sriracha to taste
½ block of smoked tofu, sliced into strips
Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside.
In a large soup pot, heat oil on medium-high heat until shimmering. Add white onion and saute for 5-7 minutes until soft and slightly translucent. Add mushrooms and continue to saute until mushrooms are lightly browned and soft. Add green onion, garlic, ginger and simmer and additional 3 minutes.
Add water, veg soup base, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sriracha. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 7-10 minutes. Add pasta and smoked tofu to pot. Adjust heat level (sriracha) and seasoning (soy or hoisin sauce) to taste. Serve immediately.