Spring Noodle Soup with Bok Choi

This may seem like a complicated recipe, but once you do it a couple times you’ll find that it’s really quite simple, and ripe for endless variation. It has become one of our go-to quick and easy meals, nourishing and healing after a long day of work in the summer, and warming against the chill of winter. Use whatever fresh seasonal vegetables you have on hand in the stir-fry. In the spring you might go for asparagus, snow peas, and broccoli raab. In the summer: Asian eggplants, zucchini, peppers. In the fall and winter, broccoli, bok choi, carrots, and thinly sliced sweet potatoes.

Noodle Soup with Seasonal Vegetables
Makes 2 servings

2 bundles soba noodles (Japanese buckwheat noodles)
5 C water
2-3 Tbsp miso paste
3 tbsp grapeseed oil
½ block of firm tofu
4 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
¼ C fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 large onion, cut into chunks
4 C seasonal vegetables, in bite-sized chunks.
1-2 minced hot peppers (optional)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into 4 or 5 slices on the long axis

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add noodles. Cook 3-5 minutes until just al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring 5 cups water to a boil and then remove from heat. Using a coffee mug, scoop up about ½ cup of the hot water. Add 2 tablespoons of miso paste to the mug and stir until it is fully dissolved. Pour mixture back into the remaining pot of water and stir to mix. Taste the broth and add more miso if you’d like it stronger.

2. Cut tofu into cubes, about 1 inch square, and press gently between paper towels to remove excess water. Heat oil in a wok over high heat and add tofu. Let the blocks fry undisturbed for about 3 minutes, or until they are golden brown (not moving tofu too early is the secret to keeping it from sticking), then flip the cubes with a fork and let them brown on the other side. Remove tofu from pan with fork or slotted spoon, leaving oil behind.

3. Return wok to the stove and add the garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring almost constantly, until fragrant and just starting to brown, about one minute. Add onion and vegetables and stir-fry on high heat until softened, 3-8 minutes depending on how hot your stove gets and the vegetables you are using. Add the optional hot pepper and cook one additional minute. Pour soy sauce and fish sauce over and stir quickly for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and drizzle on the sesame oil.

4. Divide the noodles between two large soup bowls, and top each with half the stir-fry. Arrange the tofu cubes and slices of hard-boiled egg on top. Pour miso broth over to cover. Serve immediately, with hot sauce on the side for those who want more spice.