Asian Vegetable Soup...

Sometimes when I hear the words "vegetable soup," I think it sounds a little boring. After all, meat gives soup flavor as well as texture, which are pretty important for a good soup. Yet when I saw the title for this one, Asian Vegetable Soup in Life: Beautiful magazine, I was intrigued. 

Having parents that lived in Japan for five years in the early years of their marriage meant that I grew up with some wonderful Asian food...long before there were teriyaki places everywhere. My mother had learned how to prepare dishes like Skiyaki and Tempura that melted in your mouth in a wonderful blend of flavors!

So, this Asian Vegetable Soup got my attention and I went out to purchase the ingredients. I realized I had never purchased bok choy before! I'm always game to try new foods and flavors least once! The recipe also called for crushed red pepper so I figured it would have a little spice to it.

I was happily following the recipe and putting everything together on Thursday evening. We were planning to head to Leavenworth for the weekend so I was looking forward to taking the soup along with meal down! As the vegetables were cooking in the sesame oil, I went to put the bottle of sesame oil away. Picking up the bottle, I realized I had mistakenly purchase HOT Sesame oil...but it was too late. The vegetables were already cooking and I frankly just did not feel like running back to the market to buy regular sesame oil. Knowing my younger son loves hot, spicy food, I decided to proceed and figured at least he would love the soup! Note to the labels more carefully next time! Because the sesame oil was spicy, I elected to skip the crushed red pepper the recipe called for.

Although the finished soup was spicy...I thought the flavors were wonderful and I liked it, but my husband did not :/. So, I got up early Friday morning and made Beef Stew for him! Uffda, the things we do for love!

Here's the recipe:

Asian Vegetable Soup from Life: Beautiful

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 cup julienne-cut carrots

4 ounces fresh maitake mushrooms, stemmed and coarsely chopped*

4 green onions, slices

1 tablespoon fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

1 cup frozen shelled edamame

1 cup frozen sugar snap peas

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 cup sliced water chestnuts, chopped

1/4 cup sliced bamboo shoots, chopped

1 cup coarsely chopped bok choy

In a large saucepan, heat sesame oil over medium heat. Add carrots, mushrooms and green onions. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add ginger and garlic, cook and stir for 1 minute more. Stir in chicken broth, water, edamame, sugar snap peas, soy sauce, and crushed red pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes or until carrots are tender. Add water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and bok choy. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through. Serve soup with rice cakes. 

Rice cakes:

1 1/2 cups cooked long grain brown rice

1/2 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking pan with a wire rack; set pan aside. Form rice into 6 small cakes. In a large skillet, heat canola oil over medium high heat. Cook cakes for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp and golden, turning over once. Transfer cakes to prepared pan; keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

I have to be honest. I did not make the rice cakes since I was taking the soup to the cabin and just wanted something easy to heat up. Next time I make the soup (with regular Sesame oil!), I will make the rice cakes as well...would be good with the soup, I'm sure.

* I could not find the maitake mushrooms so I used crimini baby bellas...tasted just fine!

Would love to hear your thoughts on the soup if you decide to make it! ( By the way, I was younger son did love the soup!)The calorie count noted was 317 calories per serving so it is quite healthy. With spring around the corner and a trip planned to a beach soon, I've been working on eating a little healthier. Always a challenge when you love bread and carbs like I do! 

Happy Monday! I'm working on several design projects which are challenging but so fun! I hope to share some details about them soon. Have a great week! Warmly, Gracia