Spicy Ginger Shiitake Soup
I cannot believe I have gone this long without a single mention of the best condiment of all time.
Sriracha, aka rooster sauce. You know of my love for mayo, but my relationship with Sriracha is so much deeper. If you combine the two and spread it on a sandwich, don’t even get me started. For those of you who don’t know about Sriracha, I want to cry for you. So many years of missed opportunity. I could probably write a whole post just on ways I use it: on eggs, sandwiches, soups etc. When I started Googling to learn more about my favorite condiment, I even came across this great article from Bon Appetit, “25 Ways to Use Sriracha,” which has given me even MORE ideas. I also found this blasphemic article claiming that the appropriate way to pronounce it is “shree-ra-cha” which I have NEVER heard anyone say, ever in my life. I have always pronounced it “sah-ra-cha” which is what I’ve heard other’s say. Feel free to comment on this, I’d be curious what other people say. I’m not saying I’m 100% right, but I probably am.
You probably already know all about Sriracha, which is why we get along so well. If you like spicy things, and you aren’t already a Sriracha addict, you need to go the grocery store right now and find it. Check the international food or Asian sections. Might be near the soy sauce. Look for an orangey red sauce in a bottle with a rooster, and a bright green top. What are you waiting for? GO!!!
You should’ve seen the look on the hub’s face when he saw me put these lovely shiitake mushrooms in the grocery cart. You’d think I had just killed a litter of adorable puppies. If looks could kill, this one would’ve. I basically had to PROMISE that I wasn’t going to try and sneak these into one of our meals. No delicious spicy soup for him. Whomp whomp, his loss.
This first version of this soup was created when I was suffering from my second bout of illness this winter. Ugh. I was so congested that a very spicy soup sounded like just the ticket. What I really wanted was pho, a delicious Vietnamese soup that you can make as spicy as you want with the array of condiments they provide you. Since I was too gross to leave the house and my husband was at work like a normal, healthy person, I had to try and make something that might compare, but that wasn’t too labor intensive.
Which led me to Facebook. Where you can tell/ask your friends ridiculous things like “Wah, I’m so sick, spicy soup ideas, please? Waaah.” It really was that horrifically whine-y. My friend Tacy, who I’ve mentioned before in such gastronomic pleasures as sweet and sour pulled pork, came to my rescue: Boil spaghetti in chicken broth, add Sriracha. Boom. So, so simple. Of course, that was the first rendition. But it lead me to this soup, where the flavor is much more complex, but is just as easy to make.
You don’t have to add the Sriracha if you’re not into spicy things. But you really, really should. Just embrace the cleansing burn. It’s delicious.
Ginger Shiitake Soup with Rice Noodles and Sriracha
a 32 oz box of chicken stock/broth
3 cups of water
2 large pieces of ginger peeled (about an inch cube cut in half)
10 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thin
3 green onions, green parts cut into two inch pieces
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
a package of rice noodles (enough for four people)
Sriracha to taste
Chopped cilantro for garnish
Start by heating up your chicken broth/stock and water to a soup pot. Once simmering, add the ginger, green onions, shiitakes, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Let simmer uncovered for at least thirty minutes or until the broth tastes fully flavored. Fifteen minutes in, taste and add salt if desired/needed. I added just a pinch. In the mean time, cook your rice noodles according to the package. Once they are done, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking and set aside. If they’re trying to stick together, add a little bit of vegetable oil. Once the broth is nearly done, you can either add Sriracha directly to the pot, or let people add as much as they like. I added a few teaspoons of Sriracha to the pot then added more to my bowl ’cause I like it HOT. Scoop desired amount of noodles into a large bowl and ladle broth on top (leave the hunks of ginger, obviously). Garnish with chopped cilantro or Thai basil if you can find it. This recipe makes enough for about four regular size appetites.
If you go for the big spicy, then I would definitely recommend eating this soup with your favorite IPA. I actually just discovered a faaaaabulous IPA made right here in Ohio, the Fat Heads “Head Hunter”. Just lovely citrus hop character with a really well balanced bitterness. Going on my current favorites list for sure. Oh, and you should probably make a double batch of this so you can freeze up some of this broth. That way, when/if you get sick, all you have to do is defrost this wonderful soothing goodness and pour over noodles. No Facebook whining necessary.