Most summers here in Toronto are intensely hot, humid and sticky. We go weeks without rain. When it does, it's one torrential down pour to clean the city and quench the thirst of all of our greenery and then right back to the heat wave. I remember living downtown for many years with no air conditioning and having to sleep on my balcony in order to survive the heat waves, because indoors, even with windows open and fans on their highest setting, it was just too stagnant to fall asleep. Often you would hear complaints, just like you'd hear in the dead of winter about the cold and snow, people would moan about how hot it was. Splash pads would be over run with kids and adults alike, taking whatever opportunity they could get to cool themselves down. Patios would be bustling through all hours of the day and night, with happy people celebrating sunshine and summer time. This summer, although not the worst summer I have ever experienced, has not been quite as hot and sticky as I tend to like my summers feeling. We have had many chilly days that feel more like April then July, what seems like lots of rain and no evidence of it stopping as I look ahead at the forecast for the week to come. Our meals have reflected the cool days and nights, we have craved more of the warm and comforting foods of early spring and fall, soup has been a popular choice as of late.
One soup I crave all year round is Vietnamese Pho. This Asian Style Soup with Mixed Mushrooms and Vegetables is inspired by all of the delicious Pho I would devour when I lived downtown. We had a great Vietnamese restaurant just a stones throw from our house in the Junction. I survived off of their vegetarian Pho and fresh Cold Rolls for much of the time I lived there. I miss it so much! Now, this soup isn't Pho at all, but the savory, salty broth, the vermicelli noodles paired with the spicy sriracha hot sauce does give you the same kind of basic flavor and comfort that the traditional version boasts. Simple and delicious.
The greatest thing about this recipe, is how easy it is. You saute a few of your ingredients, pour in the broth, seasoning and vegetables and you are off to the races. Quick and easy, perfect for an impromptu meal that doesn't take a lot of time. From start to finish you can bang out a family sized serving of this in just 30 minutes flat.
Asian Style Soup with Mixed Mushrooms & Vegetables
6 cups of organic (low sodium) vegetable broth
1/4 cup of (reduced sodium) tamari soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1 sprig of fresh green onion
6 - 8 shitake mushrooms
1 pack of enoki mushrooms
3 cups of chopped bok choi
1 can/tin of baby corn
1/2 package of vermicelli noodles
1 package of organic soft or medium tofu
1 sheet of roasted nori
2 tbsp of olive oil
sriracha hot sauce
Begin by prepping all of the produce. Thoroughly wash the mushrooms and trim off the ends. The enoki mushrooms will usually come packaged still attached by their "root", cut the tiny mushrooms loose from that root. Wash the bok choi, and pat dry with a towel to remove any excess water. Chop both types of onion and garlic and set aside. Rinse and cube the tofu, set aside.
Next, you will need to add the olive oil to a large sauce pan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and cook until transparent. Add the shitake mushrooms, these will only take a couple of minutes per side to cook through, be sure to flip so that both sides saute nicely. Add the bok choi and corn, continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Add the cubed tofu and allow to cook with all of the veggies for another minute. Next, add the vegetable broth, the tamari soy sauce and the enoki mushrooms. Bring it all to a boil, add the noodles and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow to cook until the noodles are soft. Once cooked, serve into bowls, dress with strips of nori, chopped green onion and sriracha hot sauce (if you like some kick!).