There is something about the combination of sweet soy sauce and Chinese five-spice blend in this soup that is deeply warming and comforting--perfect for a blustery autumn evening. While the name I picked for it is generic, the soup is really a combination of favorites: Vietnamese Pho and Thai Jabchai Yaowalak (a soup of hard boiled eggs, five-spice and sweet soy sauce). You can really use any combination of vegetables that you favor and/or have on hand (green cabbage, baby corn, mushrooms, and mung bean sprouts would be good). Substitute chicken, beef or pork for the tofu if desired, and feel free to use rice noodles or jasmine rice in place of the soba.
We got these beautiful purple Watermelon Radishes in our CSA bag this week--
- 3 quarts broth or water
- 4 hard boiled eggs (or one per person)
- 1/2 pound firm tofu
- 2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder*
- 1 large shallot head, sliced thinly
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 Tbs sweet soy sauce (substitute black bean sauce, oyster sauce, or 1 Tbs soy sauce + 1 Tbs brown sugar)
- 1 Tbs soy sauce
- 1 bunch tatsoi, chopped (substitute spinach, cabbage or other vegetables)
- 1 large yam/sweet potato, sliced
- 2-3 small turnips, cut into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
- 2-3 scallions, cut on the bias
- 1 lime, quartered
- 1 package buckwheat soba noodles, cooked according to package directions
*substitute 1/4 tsp each ground cinnamon, anise, cloves, ginger and coriander or one 2-inch stick of cinnamon, 1 star anise, 4-5 whole cloves, one 1-inch piece of gingerroot.
Toss sweet potato slices with oil and roast them for 10-15 minutes at 450 degrees, until tender. Set aside. Heat several tablespoons of oil in large soup pot. Saute shallots and garlic just until they start to brown. Add spice powder, eggs and tofu, stir-frying to coat (add additional oil if needed). Add soy sauces and stir until eggs are browned by the sauce. Add broth and turnips. Cover and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Add tatsoi and cook 5 more minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add sweet potatoes and remove from heat.
To serve, scoop some noodles into a large bowl, spoon soup over noodles, including one egg per dish. Garnish with cilantro, scallions and lime wedges.