Vietnamese Noodle Soup

I wasn’t going to post this because it was just something I threw together after getting home quite late and needing something in a hurry. I had the noodles, which I got at a Korean grocery store, in the freezer waiting for just such an evening. I know a lot of people will balk at the addition of MSG, but you can just leave it out. I don’t have a problem with it and I’ll sometimes use a bit of it when I want a fishy or Asian-y taste. Because I wasn’t planning to do a post, I didn’t measure or even pay attention to the amounts I was using of any ingredients, but after taking one gulp of this, before we even sat down to eat, Mark said, “I hope you are doing a post about this because it’s awesome,” so I quickly snapped a picture of it.

Vietnamese Noodle Soup

1 lb banh canh (Vietnamese udon noodles)
6 oz tofu, diced
3 oz vegan “seafood”, chopped or diced (optional; Mark picked it out of his and honestly, I don’t even really like the texture of vegan “seafood” myself)
6 cups veggie stock or vegan “chicken” broth
1 6″ piece kombu
3 Tbsp light soy sauce
3 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp garlic chili sauce
2 tsp MSG
tiny dribble of sesame oil
fresh cilantro, basil, and mint – a handful of each, snipped and/or torn to pieces
1 sliced dried or fresh lemon (optional)
2 scallions, chopped on a diagonal, for garnish (I forgot this in the picture)
lemon or lime wedges for serving

Place all ingredients except the noodles and scallions in a soup pot and bring to a boil. You can skip this step, but my package of noodles recommended it: heat the noodles in a microwave for a minute or two so they easily separate. Place the noodles in the pot and gently stir. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook until the noodles are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove the kombu, and if you used it, the lemon slice. Serve in bowls, garnish with scallions, and serve with lemon or lime wedges.

Notes: I kind of regret not paying more attention to proportions because this was perfectly balanced. In fact, I didn’t use any of the sriracha I set out (and I LOVE sriracha) because even though it was just barely spicy, it just tasted so perfectly seasoned. I was even sparing with my lemon wedge because it was so perfect, and I’m as big a fan of lemon juice as I am sriracha. I threw a dried lemon wedge into the pot because I had one and wanted to see how it would flavor the soup. See, I had a bunch of lemons – even more than usual – and I’ve been obsessed with the dehydrator, so I sliced a few of them and dried them. They’re so pretty! They look so nice in a jar! I figured they’d be yummy tossed into soups, and although I don’t know what this soup would have tasted like without it, I DO know it tasted awesome with it! You could just use a slice of a fresh lemon instead, or just omit it, especially if you serve it with lemon wedges.

I had about 2 cups of broth left over, but no noodles, so the next morning I prepared a small serving of some very quick cooking Chinese noodles until they were barely al dente, and put them a bowl with the broth, which I then packed for my lunch. It was just as good!

Long-time readers probably know I’m obsessed with jars. I store almost all my dry goods in vintage mason jars, and I do a lot of fermenting of various things, most of which is also done in jars. I know a lot of others are also jar-happy, so I thought I’d share my favorite new thing with you: reCAP lids. I love storing my homemade hemp milk in a vintage mason jar, but it makes a mess every time I pour it on my cereal, so every morning I have to wipe dribbles off the jar. Not so with the reCAP lid! Last night I poured from the reCAP lid into a tablespoon for measuring into a recipe and didn’t spill a drop! I also make my own salad dressing by shaking oil, vinegar, and other ingredients together in a jar, and again, it’s always a big mess when we pour the dressing onto our salads. I can’t wait to switch to a reCAP for dressing as well!

While I’m talking about jars, can I tell you about a fact I learned earlier this year which I feel really stupid for not thinking of before but which has changed my life? Rubbing alcohol removes permanent marker from glass, with no effort. Now that I know this, I just write all over my jars! This is onion and garlic powder that I made from farmers market onions and garlic using my dehydrator. They are both AWESOME. (These are just jars I’m reusing from commercial stuff I’ve bought.)

The best use for this tip is writing dates I made things. I am TERRIBLE about putting something in a jar to ferment and convincing myself I will magically remember when it’s ready. Of course, two days later I’ve completely forgotten. I don’t know why I am so bad about this; I can understand the not remembering part, it’s the being so SURE I’ll remember, EVERY time. Anyway, now I just write the date right on the jar! This is sauerkraut (actually only a small portion of a bigger batch) made from farmers market cabbage, on what I later learned from my German-American father to be German-American Day, which I thought was appropriate.

I snapped a picture of the dried lemons I mentioned above whilst photographing all my jar action tonight; the picture doesn’t do them justice – they’re so pretty. I’ve come to realize that most of the things I see beauty in are food and animals…

Final jar picture: soaking quinoa in order to sprout it for rejuvelac. I bet many of you know why. Yes, I could no longer resist buying Miyoko Schinner’s Artisan Vegan Cheese. I had it on my wish list and knew it was something my dear aunt would buy me for Christmas because she ALWAYS gets me at least one cookbook, but every time I was on Amazon, Amazon was all, “Treat yourself! I DEMAND THAT YOU TREAT YOURSELF TO ARTISAN VEGAN CHEESE!” and it’s only $12, and I have two of Miyoko’s other cookbooks and like them, and Kittee and so many other bloggers have been talking it up, and it just sounded RIGHT up my alley. It arrived yesterday, so let the cultivating begin!

Bonus raccoon picture:


  1. radioactivegan Said,

    October 11, 2012 @ 10:11 pm

    That raccoon picture is fantastic! I’d love to hear about how you made onion and garlic powder .. it couldn’t be as easy as just dehydrating and pulverizing .. could it?

  2. Josiane Said,

    October 11, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

    The dried lemon must have added that little je-ne-sais-quoi that turns a good soup into a great soup! Seriously, you’re making me want to dehydrate *all the things*! 😉 Oh, and the homemade onion and garlic powders definitely marked points with my gentleman friend… Soon, he’s going to want a dehydrator as much as I do!

    Aren’t the reCAP lids genius? I’d seen their Kickstarter fundraising campaign (about a year ago, I think?), and I’m still kicking myself for not backing it – I’d have those lids by now! And yes, my first thought was that they would be perfect for storing and pouring homemade milk.

  3. renae Said,

    October 11, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

    Radioactive YES! It IS that easy! The only trick is making sure they are really, really dry. The garlic took a surprisingly long time, even when I sliced it pretty thinly. Just make sure it’s completely brittle before you grind it. A coffee bean grinder works fine.

    Josiane, I fully endorse the dehydrator. The garlic and onion powders are a million times better than the stuff you buy at the grocery store. And I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to buy the reCAPs, too. I love simple, brilliant ideas like that.

  4. kittee Said,

    October 12, 2012 @ 10:51 am

    This post is brilliant:
    1. those caps might be life changers
    2. sharpie on glass jars?? so glad i know this know. i love jars myself. if you ever get up here, i’ll take you to the jar guy, you will freak.
    3. homemade garlic and onion powder? tell me more!


  5. susan Said,

    October 13, 2012 @ 10:50 am

    I bought the book also after hearing great things. Start the posting of the photos to get me motivated.
    Is that little guy eating pork skins? He is so cute.

  6. Jes Said,

    October 13, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

    I love your ‘thrown together’ dishes–they’re always so epically delicious looking. And, whaaat?! Rubbing alcohol takes off permanent markers from jars? My world has just been rocked. And then, super happy bebe raccoon? Love this post a little too much.

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