Weeknight Shorts: Chopstick Soup

This is soup season and I'm definitely leaning into the theme this winter. But then again, what's not to like? Warm, comforting food that's brimming with amazing aromas, flavors, and even textures. That last part is especially true if you enjoy asian noodle bowls. More often than not, they require at least two different utensils to eat and sometimes more. But who is going to complain about a few more dishes when this is what's in your bowl:

Brimming with thin, tender slices of seared steak, crisp-tender matchstick vegetables, and miso-infused cellophane noodles, these one-dish meals will give you the option to build your meal the way you like it best. Want more soup? Ladle in more of the fragrant miso broth. Feeling carnivorous? Add more steak. Wanting a vegetarian version? Skip the steak entirely and consider adding seared tofu or sweet potatoes in lieu of the meat. Even soft-boiled eggs love this soup. Lots of options here. You can even use other noodles, although I love the cellophane noodles because they are a simple, fast, no-brainer part of this meal, which means you have more time to consider the other ingredients. And ingredients are what noodle bowls are all about!

One of my favorite things to do with noodle bowls is make sure there are at least 3 different items to add to a bowl before ladling on the flavorful broth and at least 3 more items to add as toppings in the amounts that appeal most to you. Of course, you can have more than that, but at some point, it's a game of diminishing returns. Of course, if you happen to have a variety of sauces on hand or simple condiments (e.g. shredded nori, fried shallots, sesame seeds, wasabi, etc.), feel free to have them on hand for enjoying. And remember to pull that sweater around your shoulders and embrace soup season a bit more!

Steak Noodle Bowls

  • 2 c. water
  • 2 T. miso paste (choose your favorite variety - some do contain gluten)
  • 1-2 packages glass noodles (also known as cellophane noodles or bean threads)
  • 1 T. cooking fat of your choice (I used bacon fat)
  • 8 oz. tenderized round steak
  • 1 c. matchstick cut sweet peppers
  • 1 c. matchstick cut turnips
  • 1 T. hoisin sauce (or tamari for gluten free)
  • ½ c. sliced green onions
  • 2 T. fried garlic
  • Hot sauce, for serving

In a medium saucepan, heat the water to a simmer. Dissolve the miso paste in the water and, when it's completely dissolved, add the noodles to the hot liquid, turn off the burner, and place a tight-fitting lid over the saucepan and allow the noodles to soften.

Meanwhile, heat the cooking fat of your choice over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. When the fat is very hot (water dropped onto the pan sizzles), add the steak to the pan. Allow it to sear on one side for 4 minutes before flipping it and cooking it for an additional 3 minutes. Remove the steak to a cutting board and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing it across the grain into very thin strips. Set aside.

In the pan that was used to sear the steak, add the matchstick cut vegetables and stir-fry for about 4 minutes over medium-high heat until crisp-tender. Add the hoisin sauce and stir another minute to thoroughly coat and slightly soften the vegetables. If the sauce doesn't seem to be coating well, add 1-2 tablespoons of the miso liquid from the noodles to help loosen it up.

To serve, assemble noodles, cooked vegetables, and sliced steak in large serving bowls. Ladle the miso broth over the contents of the bowl and then sprinkle the top with sliced green onions, fried garlic, and hot sauce. Enjoy immediately.

  • Yields: 3-4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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