18 Aug 2012

Wagama'me, Homemade noodle soup

Detox : (medecine) treatment aiming at eliminating poison substances from a body
i.e. beer, cookies, burgers, 10 days of twix, snickers and crips’ based diet…

(This blog post is meant for educational purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental)

So this year, going back to school goes with DETOXING

Don’t worry, Pauline à la crème anglaise is not going to turn into Pauline a la Skinny Cucumber Sandwich.

Detox is actually just a magical word which implies a deep conviction that if you eat something “Detox”, your calorie counter deducts calories rather than adding them. (Yes, we are that bad)

In my case, it just means Detox + Cakes = 0.

(Let's be clear, diet or not diet, there is no way I’ll quit cakes)

With my girlfriends, we go out for dinner once a week. We often try new restaurants, but most of the time we do end up at our favourite place: Wagamama, South Bank, 3rd table on the left.
Ah!? Tofu? Vegetables? Don't worry, it's delicious and it's ...detox! ;-)

If you don’t know Wagamama yet… take a flight to London and I’ll take you there!

Wagamama is a kind of Asian fusion cantine which serves all variations of noodle soups, rice dishes and fried noodles. It’s good value for money and you can detox and “buy back” some calories from your week-ends (and Tuesdays….and actually, maybe Thursdays). 

Last week, we broke the tradition, we went shopping in Chinatown and I cooked us a homemade Wagamama noodle soup.

The Wagama’me Pho,
Über detox and über delicious noodle soup

Pho is an Asian noodle soup I ate a lot when I went to Vietnam few years ago. Pho can be cooked either vegetarian or with different kinds of meat – i.e. chicken (Pho Ga), beef (Pho Bo).
In Pho Ga, you get chicken meat pieces, bones, insides, everything. Yes, this is kind of scary but the chicken stock which has been simmered all day with a whole chicken in it really tastes like chicken and usually is divine.
The noodles used are usually rice noodles (thin and transparent)
A bowl of Pho eaten in the street is not only delicious but only costs 1US$
You can pretty much put whatever you want in noodle soups. I did improvise this Pho recipe as I was chitchatting with my friends. So please don’t be shy, let your Wagama’you express itself!
If you don’t have any Asian supermarket nearby, just buy similar ingredients from your usual shop, it works just as well!

Ingredients (for 3 bowls of soup):

1,5 L of chicken stock
3 small packs of noodles (I used Udon noodles, but you can use which ever noodles you like)
1 pack of firm tofu, thickly diced
1 spring oinion, finely chopped
1 thumb of fresh ginger, very finely chopped
1/2 small chilli  (red or green), seeded and very finely chopped
3 big handfuls of soya sprouts
2 tsp of sesame seeds, roasted if possible
3 tbsp of fish sauce
1 lime, quartered
Option : a bunch of fresh coriander
Side dish: a pack of edamame beans

Make the Pho:

1/ Split between three big bowls the fresh ginger, the spring onion, the soya sprouts, the sesame seeds, the cilli, the tofu dices (and whichever additional green vegetables you would like to add, raw and diced)

2/ Cook the noodles following the pack instructions in the chicken stock

3/ Fill the bowl to 2/3 with the stock, and then split the noodles between the bowls

4/ Add a tbsp of fish sauce in each bowl

5/ Serve your soups and put in the center of the table:

-       the lime quarters so each guest can season his soup to his taste
-       the edamame beans in a large bowl (that you will have boiled in very salty water for 4 min) so guests can just pick.

“I’m a Man I need Meat” variation: swap the tofu dices by cooked chicken pieces

Optional additional ingredients
Chopped chinese cabbage, chopped mushrooms, chopped asparagus, chopped courgettes, all added washed and raw to the soup. It’s a crunchy soup!
(And the uncooked vegetables give a low GI to the soup…But that’s another story that we’ll tackle another day)

noodle soup

Edamame with a bit of salt, so good!

I dedicate this recipe to you, my lovely Soizic, initiator of our Wagamama tradition. We miss you! I can’t wait for your next visit to London…shall we meet up Where You Know?

For all your favourite Wagamama recipes, get The Wagamama Cookbook. (available in Wagamama restaurants and from Amazon)

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