When it comes to catching a cold, chicken soup is the popular champion of cure-all meals, but in my house there is another winner: Shiitake mushroom udon soup.
Over the years I’ve concocted an easy homemade recipe that satisfies like none other when someone in my family is feeling under-the-weather. The rich, mushroom broth is not only vegan and low-fat, but the seasonings of garlic, ginger and chili flakes are immunity-boosting and great for soothing your throat and clearing your sinuses. Adding fresh leafy greens and carrots to this bowl of soup also packs extra vitamins and antioxidants into this healthy meal.
Let’s just say that canned chicken noodle soup simply doesn’t stand a chance next to my delicious mushroom udon.
To make this recipe for two servings you will need:
1 quart of broth, preferably mushroom, but vegetable or chicken will work
2.5 oz. (or a third of an 8 oz. package) dry udon noodles
You may substitute rice noodles here for a gluten-free version.
1 tbs. toasted sesame oil or vegetable oil
2 tbs. soy sauce
1 tbs. chopped ginger
1 tbs. chopped garlic or garlic powder
2-3 tsp. crushed red chili flakes
4 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups fresh greens, such as bok choy, spinach or kale
In a large stock pot, heat the sesame oil or vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for a few minutes, then add the carrots, mushrooms and red chili flakes to the pot. If you like a spicy soup, add a few more dashes of the red chili flakes.
Allow the mixture to cook for a few more minutes, then pour the broth and soy sauce into the pot. Increase the heat to medium high until the broth is churning to a boil, then add in the udon noodles. Boil the noodles according to package directions (about seven minutes), then reduce the heat to low.
In two large serving bowls, place a cup each of fresh greens and pour the hot soup over the greens, allowing them to wilt and soften. Garnish this soup with sesame seeds, nori (seaweed) flakes and diced green onion. Enjoy with chopsticks!