Happy April 1st! Slowly but surely we’re marching onwards to Spring!
1) If you haven’t already heard about my new venture, please visit me at VRAI Magazine which is set to launch on 4.14.14. It’s something near and dear to my heart and I hope you join me and some amazing bloggers on the big day! Don’t worry, 1227 Foster won’t go anywhere — this will always be a place between us.
2) So apologies if I’m cramming a lot of different topics today, but when it rains, it pours — it is April Something that’s been troubling me lately is this rumor that stories are dying and going the way of the dinosaur. This really hits close to home because for me, blogging is about story telling. It’s one person sharing of themselves and connecting with people or even with just one person who can relate to the story. Yes, there are books and movies and other ways of story telling, but I’m getting the scary sense that in this age of social media, everything has been relegated to an image, or hashtags, a few words — 140 characters or less or even 6 second looping videos. What do you get in 6 seconds? What’s next 3 second videos? Will there come a time when no one will want to read a blog story? I’m hoping that there will always be a place for a wonderful story. What do you think?
3) As I move to my third and final topic for today’s posting, I quickly realized with the new month that I better share this recipe with all of you while it’s still cold, despite it officially being Spring! I know that once the warmer weather hits, soup will no longer be on anyone’s mind. So here I am cramming it in at the last minute.
When it comes to soup, I’m all about textures. I’m not a fan of just plain broth, or a simple cream-based soup. When there are a lot of different textures in soup, or in any meal to be exact, then I’m experiencing “food joy”!
The inspiration for this soup came from my sister-in-law. During the long winter, she created this thick, textural soup that was topped with tempura or batter-fired onions. The entire soup was amazing and it’s a recipe that takes hours on end to make. Even the process of “assembling” the soup, yes, I said assembling, was an art form of layering in noodles, the meat, the veggies, the thick, pasty soup base, and other toppings and ingredients to create a feast for the palette. When it was my turn to create a soup, I remembered the various layers and textures she used to make her amazing soup. While this soup is nothing like hers, hopefully it will inspire you to create a soup with a lot of “layered flavors”.
There’s the use of the wide, Asian noodles in this dish, the shredded chicken, the crisp bamboo shoots, soft mushrooms, the sour and salty taste from the lime and fish sauce flavoring, not to mention the crunch of the tempura-fried onion toppings. This soup is a hearty mouthful!
- 10 cups water
- 1-2 Chicken Bullion Cubes (or chicken stock if on hand)
- 1 Medium Onion cut into slices/strips - divide evenly
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- 3 ounces Dried Mushrooms
- 16 ounces Oriental Style Wide Rice Noodles
- 8 ounces canned Bamboo Shoots - drained
- Handful of Cilantro, coarsely chopped
- Juice from 1 Lime
- Fish Sauce
- Salt and Pepper - to taste
- 1/2 cup Tempura Batter Mix
- 1/4 cup Water
- Cooking Oil
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add in the bullion cube
- Add in the chicken breasts and half of the onions and boil chicken until cooked.
- Remove chicken from water, strain any excess fat that floats to the top and shred chicken with a fork, then return to the soup over a low simmer.
- Add in dried mushrooms, rice noodles and bamboo shoots.
- Continue cooking until rice noodles have softened.
- Add in coarsely chopped cilantro towards end and stir well
- Lightly salt and pepper
- In a small bowl add equal parts of fish sauce and juice from one lime -- stir and add to soup
- In a small pan, add cooking oil (enough to fry onions) and slowly heat.
- Meanwhile, prepare tempura mix by mixing with water and then adding in remaining onion slices and coating well.
- In small batches, cook onion slices in hot oil until golden brown and crisp.
- Remove from oil and drain on paper towels
- Ladle soup into bowls, top with fried onions, garnish with extra cilantro if desired and additional fish sauce if needed.