I was searching for a recipe for a simple Asian broth one winter, when I felt like something warm and comforting, but something different at the same time. Something steamy, something slightly sweet even, maybe even a bit sour – not the obvious choices of chicken noodle soup or beef & vegetable soup. At the time, I was also missing the restaurants of London. There was nothing quite like walking the streets in your winter coat and boots and scarf and beanie, clinging to yourself, freezing cold and then entering a warm gastro pub with a fireplace and a cosy booth just waiting for you in the corner. I was longing for a very specific restaurant in London in that moment actually, and it wasn’t a bangers & mash with mushy peas kind of place. It was actually an Asian fusion restaurant called Wagamama. I’m ecstatic to say that this place is still open and has tons of branches for anyone who is in the area and reading this right now. If you’ve never been there or to London at all, and you like that kind of thing, just check out the pics on their menu right here: http://www.wagamama.com/our-menu and you’ll understand what I’m carrying on about.
Wagamama introduced me to the likes of udon noodles and ramen and miso soup and orange, ginger & carrot juice etc. I’m salivating just looking at their menu right now. I wish I could pop onto a quick flight and into a black cab to Covent Garden or Leicester Square right now. Yummm. And it’s quite funny how no matter where you end up in the world, you always gravitate towards whatever your comfort foods have become. Like Japanese – we go to Sorrento and Rome and eat very little pizza and pasta, and search instead for innovative sushi restaurants. Or Ribs. You go to London and you frequent the Chicago Rib Shack and some other place I can’t remember the name of, because you’re missing Spur Ribs. Sometimes we just need something that feels like home, BUT also introduces us to something new. Like Temakinho in Rome that fuses Japanese & Brazilian cuisine, and gave us more texture & taste combinations than we have ever experienced in sushi before: tuna, flying fish roe, chives, mango, porcini mushrooms, parsley, cashew nuts and spicy sweet & sour sauce all in one California roll. Like Chicago Rib Shack in London exposed me to baby back ribs, unexplainable tenderness & juiciness and barbecue-y marinade flavour beyond anything I’ve ever tasted at home.
Shoh! Ok, let’s get back onto the subject at hand. The recipe I found was called Beef Noodle Soup off http://www.taste.com.au. I took out the carrots and green beans, ketchup manis (really hard to find here) and fillet steak (really expensive for a mid-week meal), and instead, added oyster mushrooms, spring onions, white onions, soy sauce, rump steak and meat spice. I adjusted the recipe slightly too to get more flavour out of the meat, ginger and onions. The resulting taste took me as close to Wagamamma as I could possibly get.
So, I hope that this recipe makes you feel all warm and fuzzy like memories of mom’s winter soup, but at the same time takes you on a journey somewhere exotic, new and exciting.
• Serves: 4
• Prep & Cooking time: 45 min – 1 hour
• Steak & chop spice
• 6 cups of hot beef stock (3 beef stock cubes to 6 cups hot water)
• 5cm piece of ginger (peeled and cut into 5 large pieces)
• 8 large spring onions (chop the floppy green ends and the root tips off, and slice the remaining stalks diagonally into 1.5 cm long pieces)
• ½ large brown or white onion (roughly chopped into large and small chunks)
• 1 small yellow or red pepper (deseeded and sliced into thick long pieces)
• 2 packs of oyster mushrooms
• 1½ tbsp soy sauce
• 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
• 2 main meal size portions of Tagliatelle OR egg noodles
• Olive oil
• 300g Rump Steak cut into 5cm long, 1cm thick pieces (or rib eye or fillet), and coated with some steak & chop spice
• 1 or 2 tsp brown sugar (if required)
1. Start boiling your pasta or noodles in water with some salt & olive oil according to packaging instructions. I’ve used both egg noodles and Tagliatelle and both work equally as well. When the noodles are done, douse with cold water in a colander and set aside. While the noodles are cooking, prep your other ingredients as directed above.
2. Fry up half the white or brown onion with the steak strips on high heat browning them lightly on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside on a flat plate so that the meat does not continue cooking. It should still be very pink in the centre.
3. Pour your stock, ginger, half the spring onions and the rest of the white onions into a large pot.
4. On high heat, bring all the ingredients to a boil. Cover the pot, turn the heat down to 3 and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Add the soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce, mix well and cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid on.
6. Remove the 5 pieces of ginger and discard.
7. Add your red or yellow pepper and mushrooms, and bring to the boil uncovered. Turn heat down to 3 again, and cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid on.
8. Do a final taste test before serving. This is where you can add some more of whatever is not strong or present enough for you in the flavour.
9. Remove the red and yellow peppers (unless you prefer to keep them in. I only use them for flavour, not texture)
10. Divide the pasta or noodles between 4 bowls, place equal amounts of steak on top of the noodles and ladle over hot soup mix.
11. Sprinkle the last of the spring onions over the top.
12. Serve & enjoy!
Pssst: This is a “taste along the way” kind of recipe. If you prefer it saltier, add some more soy sauce instead of salt. If you like it sweeter, and the sweet chilli sauce isn’t doing it for you, add some brown sugar. Don’t like spring onions too much? Only use them as a garnish and not in the actual broth. Get it? Got it? Goood.