Noodle Soup for Needy People

I have to say, to be prescriptive about a noodle soup seems to be against the ethos of what you're actually cooking. When I need a noodle soup, believe me I am in no mood to start weighing and measuring. I heat some broth, of some description or other, and throw in a variety of vegetables that are skulking about in the fridge and the most soothing noodles I can find. You can add other things, some chicken strips or, at the end, some fine rags of raw tuna or salmon, but I generally want the vegetably broth and noodles by themselves. The protein element, while so desirable in so many ways I'm sure, is not what I'm after here. But anyway, I throw down a blueprint here. Don't get caught up in it, but follow it if it feels helpful.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 12 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Cook: 2 min
  • Yield: 2 for supper
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6 ounces udon noodles (dried, from a packet)

3 cups chicken or vegetable or dashi broth

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 star anise

1 teaspoon minced ginger

2 tablespoons soy sauce

3/4 cup bean sprouts

3/4 cup sugar snaps

3/4 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms

2 heads baby bok choy, finely sliced

2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves


  1. Cook the noodles according to packet instructions and while the water is boiling fill a nearby saucepan with stock, brown sugar, star anise, ginger and soy sauce. (When the noodles are done, just drain them and put half in each bowl.)
  2. When the flavored stock comes to a boil, add the vegetables. They should be cooked before 2 minutes are up.
  3. Pour half into each bowl, over the cooked and drained noodles and sprinkle with cilantro.
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