This past Sunday night was one of those nights when I for the life of me could not get any sleep. I had so much back pain and could not get comfortable no matter how hard I tried. I tried stretching, reading a magazine, watching TV, browsing social media, and nothing lulled me to sleep. So needless to say, Monday was less fun than usual for me. It was a long, stressful day, and the weather was grey and damp. All day I was craving comfort — yes, in the form of sleep, but also in the form of food! My brain started daydreaming about the perfect comfort dinner, and after I settled on beef noodle soup, I had a difficult time thinking about much else.
When I got home, I started raiding the fridge and pantry for the perfect combination of ingredients. Here’s what I came up with:
- Beef of choice, thinly sliced
- 5 cloves garlic
- Half a yellow onion
- 1 can sliced canned bamboo shoots
- 1 can lite coconut milk
- Beef and/or chicken broth
- Sliced jalapeños
- Sliced radishes
- Chopped parsley
- Crushed peanuts
- Sesame seeds
- 1 lime
- Noodles of choice (I used red rice noodles)
- Hoisin sauce
- Fish sauce
- Soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- Vegetable oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- White vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Agave (or honey)
- Black pepper
- Gochugaru (if you don’t have, you can substitute with crushed red pepper)
- Red Thai curry paste
- Chili sauce
First, I thinly sliced beef and marinated it in garlic, onion, ginger, fish sauce, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), black pepper, agave, sesame oil and vegetable oil. After marinating for an hour, I cooked the beef in a big pot on medium-high, and once it was cooked through, I removed the beef and set aside on a plate.
Next, I added hoisin sauce, balsamic vinegar, chili paste and red Thai curry paste to the pot and let the marinade simmer and thicken (about 15-20 minutes). This served as the yummy base of the soup. I then added to the pot a mixture of chicken broth, beef broth, water and 3/4 can lite coconut milk. I covered the pot and let simmer on medium low (small bubbles) for 30 minutes.
For the noodles, I used Thai red rice noodles — I cooked them and set aside in a bowl of ice water to prevent clumping (until ready to eat).
So I had the noodles, soup and beef, but this day sucked, and so this soup needed more. So I decided to do a quick pickle on sliced jalapeños and sliced radishes. If you’ve never quick-pickled vegetables, I highly recommend giving it a try — all you do is mix water, vinegar, sugar and salt together, bring to a boil, remove from heat, add your veggies, let cool, and store in a jar in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
To assemble, I put canned sliced bamboo shoots and beef in a big bowl. I added the noodles, poured the broth over and then gave it a good, but gentle, stir. I topped the bowls with the pickled vegetables, crushed peanuts, chopped parsley, sesame seeds and a couple of lime wedges.
This soup was spicy, sweet, savory (read: UMAMI to the max), salty and was exactly what I needed after a long, stressful, cold day. If you’re feeling the blues and need a warming pick-me-up, I highly recommend you give this recipe a try. Oh, and for the record, I slept like a baby that night.