Post by contributor Naomi of Almost Bananas
As the weather cools down, comfort foods take a more prominent place. Many of us have memories of roasting casseroles or piping hot bowls of soup.
My Japanese father would often make quick soups for lunch during the cooler months. I can see him sitting at the table with a steaming bowl of soup against the background of a clear winter sky, the noon sun shining through the large south facing windows.
Holding the deep ceramic bowl with both hands, feeling the warmth seep through; the smell of soy sauce, mouth already anticipating the salty broth; the sound of slurping rice vermicelli.
The base for my version of his soup came about through desperation a few years ago. I needed lunch ready ten minutes ago and I had an almost bare cupboard. I did have, however, a few cans of sardines.
When I try to serve sardines to my kids, they balk at the bones, finding them too prickly. In the soup, the sardines are broken up and little pieces of bone are lost among vegetables.
I like to think adding whole sardines to soup gives it the benefit of bone broth, without hours of simmering. Ok, the bone to water ratio isn’t as high, but you are eating the whole bone.
The soup is versatile and you can add what you happen to have in your kitchen. I’ve included other add ins that I’ve used at various times but are not pictured.
This soup can be ready in the time it takes to boil the water. Unless you have twin toddlers helping you cook, then it takes 15 minutes.
Quick & Nourishing Japanese Soup
- 2 quarts water
- 3 Small carrots
- 1 Large onion
- 2 cans whole sardines packed in brine, not vegetable oil. (250g)
- 1 wedge Chinese or crinkly cabbage approx. 200g.
- 1 Medium zucchini 300-400g.
- ½ cup soy sauce or slightly less tamari to taste
- 2 green onion for garnish
- In a medium-sized pot, start water to boil.
- Slice carrots on the diagonal and add to water.
- Cut the onion in half, thinly slice half circles and add to pot.
- Open the cans of sardines and break up with a fork, add to water.
- Cut the cabbage into chunks, add to pot as well as any other add in.
- Using a julienne peeler or other instrument, julienne the zucchini into noodles. The longer the noodles sit in the hot broth, the softer they will be.
- Turn off the heat, add soy sauce or tamari.
- When serving, make sure to scoop up from the bottom of the pot, otherwise all the sardine and bone goodness sinks and will be left at the bottom.
- Serve and garnish with green onion. Slurp noodles for maximum enjoyment.
- Rice or vermicelli
- Sliced leftover meat
- Egg (gently crack a whole egg into the soup a minute or two before serving)
- Corn (organic)
- Other greens
- Bean sprouts
- Leftover grains (rice, quinoa, etc.)