A lovely bowl of soup is good any time of year, but it's especially good when it is cold. As we go through the last few cold days of winter, you may be looking for a change. I can't control the weather, but I can offer you a change for lunch or dinner. Today we'll be looking at a few Asian inspired soups to do just that. Combing veggies, broth, proteins, and a few flavorful extras, you'll have a new dish in no time.
INSTAPOT CHICKEN PHO
You don't need an instapot for this recipe. It can be made in a regular soup pot. It will be a longer process cooking without the pressure, but just as good.
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
3 whole cloves
Chubby 2-inch section ginger, peeled, thickly sliced, and bruised
1 large yellow onion, halved and thickly sliced
7 cups water
1 whole chicken (no bigger!)
1 small Fuji apple, peeled, cored, and cut into thumbnail-size chunks
¾ cup coarsely chopped cilantro sprigs
1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (or 1½ TEASPOONS fine sea salt or Morton’s kosher salt)
About 1½ tablespoons fish sauce
1- 2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional)
For the bowls:
4 medium zucchini, spiralized and blotted dry with paper towels
About half the cooked chicken from the broth
½ small yellow or red onion, thinly sliced against the grain and soaked in water for 10 minutes
2 thinly sliced green onions, green parts only
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, leafy tops only
Thai basil leaves (optional)
Paleo sriracha (optional)
Lime wedges (optional)
Toss the coriander seeds and cloves in a 6-quart pressure cooker. Press the sauté button on your Instant Pot (or place a stovetop pressure cooker over medium heat) and toast the spices for several minutes, shaking or stirring, until fragrant. Throw in the ginger and onion and stir everything until aromatic, 45 to 60 seconds.
Pour in 4 cups (1 l) of the water to stop the cooking process. Carefully place the chicken in the cooker, breast side up.
Add the apple, cilantro, salt, and remaining 3 cups (0.71 l) water.
Press the Cancel/Keep Warm button, lock the lid in place, and make sure the valve on top is in the sealed position. Press the Manual button and set the Instant Pot to cook under high pressure (~12 psi) for 14 minutes.
If you’re using a stovetop pressure cooker, bring to low pressure, 8 psi, over high heat on a gas or induction stove, or medium heat on an electric stove. Lower the heat to maintain pressure, signaled by a gentle, steady flow of steam coming out of the cooker’s valve. Cook for 15 minutes, or a few minutes longer if your cooker’s low setting is less than 8 psi. If your cooker only has a high-pressure,15 psi, setting, cook for 12 minutes. Your aim to gently poach the chicken and not overcook it!
When done, turn off the Instant Pot and let the pressure decrease naturally for 20 minutes. Set a timer and if the pressure hasn’t completely released when it dings, turn the valve at the top to quickly vent the remaining pressure. (If you’re using a stovetop pressure cooker, slide it to a cool burner and let the pressure decrease naturally, about 20 minutes.) Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to avoid the hot steam.
Wait another 5 minutes before using tongs to transfer the chicken to a large bowl; if parts fall off in transit, don’t stress. Add cold water to cover the chicken and soak for 10 minutes to cool and prevent drying. Pour off the water, partially cover, and set the chicken aside to cool.
Skim some fat from the broth, before straining it through a Chinois or muslin-lined mesh strainer positioned over a large pot. Discard the solids. You should end up with about 7 cups broth.
If using right away, season the broth with the fish sauce, extra salt, and maybe a smidge of the maple syrup. Or, partially cover the unseasoned broth and let cool, then refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months; reheat and season before using.
Use a knife or your hands to separate the breast meat and legs from the chicken. Set aside half of the chicken for another use. Reserve the remaining chicken for pho bowl assembly. The chicken can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months; bring to room temperature to use.
Prep and assemble the bowls. Cut or shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Discard the skin or save it for cracklings. Bring the broth to a simmer over medium heat as you are assembling the bowls.
Divide the zucchini noodles among four soup bowls. (If you like softer zoodles, use a mesh strainer to dunk them in boiling water until the desired softness before placing the drained zoodles into the soup bowls.) Top the zoodles with shredded chicken.
Check the broth flavor once more, raise the heat, and bring it to a boil. Ladle about 2 cups (480 ml) broth into each bowl.
Then garnish with onion, green onion, cilantro, basil, pepper, and sriracha if desired. You can squeeze on fresh lime juice, too. Serve immediately!
PORK NAPPA CABBAGE SOUP
Any ground meat could be used in this soup. I made a stir fry today with ground turkey and it worked well.
1 teaspoon ghee or fat of choice
1 small onion, diced
1 pound ground pork (ground chicken thighs, beef, and turkey also work)
6 large fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced (dried and reconstituted ’shrooms work, too)
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups bone broth or stock
1 head Napa cabbage (2 pounds), cut crosswise into 1-inch segments (bok choy or Savoy cabbage are good alternatives)
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
3 scallions, thinly sliced
Heat the ghee in a large pot over medium heat. When the fat is shimmering, toss in the diced onion with a sprinkle of salt. Sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 3 minutes).
Add the ground pork and break it up with a spatula. Stir in the sliced mushrooms and another sprinkle of salt. Cook the pork and mushrooms until the meat is no longer pink and the shiitakes are tender (about 5 to 7 minutes).
Stir in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Pour in the broth and crank up the heat to high. Bring everything to a boil.
Then, stir in the cabbage, carrots and potato, and bring the soup back to a boil. Don’t worry about cramming too many veggies into the pot—the cabbage will cook down!
Lower the heat to medium or medium low to maintain a simmer, and partially cover the soup with a lid, leaving a crack so it doesn’t boil over. Simmer the soup, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are easily pierced with a fork (about 15 minutes). Peek under the lid to make sure that the soup isn’t boiling over or barely percolating, and adjust the heat up or down as needed.
If you want to make this soup in a pressure cooker, sauté the ingredients in the pressure cooker as directed above. When you’re ready to simmer the soup, close and lock the lid; then, cook it under high pressure for 3-5 minutes. Release the pressure manually when the soup is finished cooking.
Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh scallions.
NOTES - If you’ve got leftovers, you can store ’em in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze for several months. Try this soup for breakfast on a chilly morning, and you’ll never crave a soggy bowl of cereal again!
SIMPLE EGG DROP SOUP
Egg drop is a go-to soup for me when I go to a Chinese restaurant. No need to for take out with this recipe.
1½ cups Instant Pot bone broth
1 large egg
Red Boat fish sauce optional, but I always use it to boost umami
Celtic sea salt
1 scallion thinly sliced (optional)
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves optional
hot chili peppers thinly sliced (optional)
In a small saucepan, bring your bone broth to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Flavor it with fish sauce and/or salt to taste. Remember: it’s only as savory as you make it.
Crack the egg in a small bowl and season with a few additional drops of fish sauce and a pinch of salt. Whisk well with a fork.
Remove the bone broth from the heat and stir the soup with a heat-proof spatula as you slowly pour in the whisked egg. The egg should cook on contact with the hot liquid even though you’ve removed the saucepan from the heat. The eggs should be soft and wispy rather than overcooked and chunky (ick!).
Transfer the soup to a bowl. (I won’t tell anyone if you use the same bowl that you whisked your egg in.) The soup tastes delicious as-is, but you can fancy it up with your favorite add-ins. My favorite garnishes include sliced spicy peppers (like red jalapeños!), minced scallions, and cilantro leaves.
PALEO EGG ROLL SOUP
I love the combination of the veggies and meat inside an egg roll. Try this interesting soup today.
1 lb ground pork (see above for substitutions)
2 tbsp coconut oil (sub sesame oil for non-AIP/if tolerated)
1 white onion, diced
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 small green cabbage, sliced into strips
6 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp coconut aminos
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1/2 -1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp green onion, chopped
Optional- Siracha to taste (omit for AIP)
Using a large pot, brown the ground pork on medium heat and lightly salt. Set aside when cooked and discard the fat.
Melt the coconut oil in the pot on medium heat and add the diced onion. Saute for 5 minutes or until lightly translucent.
Add the carrot and gently saute for a few minutes until the carrots soften slightly.
Pour in the broth, cabbage, cooked pork, coconut aminos, garlic powder, and grated ginger and mix well to combine.
Bring the soup to a low simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the cabbage is wilted.
Season further to taste and top the soup with sliced green onion to serve.
ASIAN ZUCCHINI NOODLE BOWL
This original recipe is not a soup, but I would add chicken stock as an alternative to thin out the sauce for a nice soup. Any protein could be added or topped with an egg like the pic below.
3 medium zucchini squash
3 medium yellow summer squash
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup coconut aminos
2-4 tablespoons maple syrup depending on personal sugar content desired or homemade date syrup for whole30
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Frank's Hot sauce to taste
1/4 cup cold water mixed with arrowroot flour
1 tablespoon arrowroot flour
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1/4 cup green onions chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves minced
poached egg optional
Begin by preparing your noodles with a spiralizer (read post to see which one I recommend).
Heat a large fry pan over medium/high heat on the stove. Fry the noodles with 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil for about 3-4 minutes until softened. Then remove from the heat and set aside. Drain excess liquid.
Prepare the sauce by incorporating the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, coconut aminos, and hot sauce together in small sauce pan over medium heat on the stove.
In a small cup mix the cold water and arrowroot flour together into a liquidy paste.
Bring the sauce to a simmer then stir continuously while pouring in the arrowroot and cold water mixture.
Continue to cook and stir the sauce (keeping it at a simmer) for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Then take off the heat and pour over noodles.
Top off with sesame seeds, chopped cilantro, chopped green onions, and a poached egg, if desired.
As winter comes to an end, make sure to keep soup in your regular meal routine. These soups bring good ingredients together for a nice satisfying meal. Enjoy a new soup today.
Here's to your health! Happy Cooking!