Soup and sandwiches were on the menu for Mother’s Day brunch with my family yesterday, but the soup wasn’t your typical American Sunday fare. We opted to have the Rice Noodle Soup from Simply Yunnan to celebrate the day (see recipe below).
We met at my cousin Karen’s house and celebrated with my mom and my aunt — an admirable group of mothers who have made an impact on my life for years and continue to do so as I adjust to my new life as a (step)mom. Karen did a delicious job with the Rice Noodle Soup. For the greens she used rainbow chard from our latest vegetable co-op shipment, and I brought over some cooked chicken from my freezer to contribute as our meat option.
The soup is light yet flavorful, and rice noodles are a perfect wheat-free option for those on special diets. The recipe below is featured in my cookbook, Simply Yunnan: Simple Ingredients, Simple Technique, available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle version.
I love to make the soup after I’ve cooked a whole chicken in my crock pot and have let the bones simmer overnight for a hearty, healthful broth — one chicken provides several meals worth of cooked chicken and several cups worth of broth. For more information on how to cook a whole chicken and make bone broth, check out my friend Roxie’s recipe on her blog, Crunchy in the Panhandle (the West Virginia panhandle, not the Texas one). Side note that brings the crock pot chicken back to Yunnan — Roxie first showed me how to cook a chicken this way in her kitchen in Kunming. From Kunming to West Virginia to Texas, it’s my favorite way to get the most bang for my buck when cooking a whole chicken.
I hope you enjoy a bowl of Rice Noodle Soup soon!
Rice Noodle Soup
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
12 oz. rice noodles (usually labelled as “rice stick” or “rice vermicelli”)
10 c. water
10 c. beef or chicken stock
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and crushed with the flat side of a cleaver blade
3 whole star anise
2 whole cloves
salt to taste
1 to 1 1/2 c. cooked meat (beef or chicken, depending on which type of stock you use), thinly sliced
1 c. cabbage or spinach, cut in 2-inch pieces
2 spring onions, cut in 1-inch strips
chopped cilantro, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, vinegar for seasoning
In a large stock pot, bring the meat stock to a boil over medium-high heat, along with the ginger, star anise, and cloves. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the ginger, star anise, and cloves from the soup. Add the meat slices and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage or spinach and spring onions and simmer for 3 minutes.
During the final 10 minutes of cooking the soup, prepare the rice noodles. In a large pot, bring 10 c. water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the rice noodles, reduce heat to medium, and boil the noodles for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the noodles to continue soaking in the hot water for another 4 to 5 minutes. Alternatively, prepare the noodles according to the package’s instructions. Drain the water from the noodles.
Divide the noodles evenly into 4 large soup bowls. Ladle equal amounts of soup with meat, onions, and leafy vegetables over the noodles in each bowl. Allow each person to add cilantro, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, and vinegar according to his or her own taste.
This noodle soup is best prepared using a type of thin, round rice noodle usually labeled in English as “rice stick” or “rice vermicelli” and found at Asian markets or on the Asian aisle at your grocery store.
Plan to make this soup when you have leftover cooked meat that you can thinly slice; choose to make the soup with beef or chicken stock according to the type of meat you have leftover.