Monday, 25 June 2012

Asian style vegetable & coconut soup (with chicken or tofu)

I mentioned in my last post that we were in Liverpool last week we went to Wagamama . It is one of our favourite places to eat and every time we go to the big city where they have their bar we are always tempted to go and try new things fro their fantastic menu.

I did not even know that  Wagamama  exist, until my sister who lives in Cork told me about it, also it was mentioned by one of London/Manchester placed Polish blogger. I am really grateful for this as probably I still wouldn't know about this place, as since I have moved to UK I have been living in countryside only - full of traditional pubs, but no ethnic bars or big brands. Yes, it is a big brand. Yes, it is commercial. This is fast food, and they cannot guarantee that nibbles will come before the mains or all dishes will come in the same time on one order. And yes - probably this are likely to be smooth versions of Asian (however they say they're inspired by Japanese cuisine I have seen some other inspirations) dishes more suitable for Europeans.      

In this place you will not find individual tables. There are huge wooden tables and benches to sit on and if this place is busy you are likely to be seated next to a stranger. There are no elegant serviettes, napkins or table cloths, but pieces of paper and waiter writes down you order on it.  Kitchen is open to public to yo ucan see chefs using woks. Oh, I forgot to mention - food is fantastic.

Why I like it even this is called fast food? This is fast food made with fresh and my favourite ingredients. Fresh food is being prepared within minutes using traditional Asian techniques and flavours. Also they have gorgeous freshly pressed juices - made with fruit and veg.I have tried many dishes in Wagamama, but I think my absolute number one are soups. This is also a place where I practice my chopstick skills and I am getting better at it!
Today I'll show you a recipe for soup that was inspired by hearty bowls of soup in Wagamama, however this recipe is not from their cookbook, that my sister gave me. I will use it another time, today it is time for improvisation. Please don't be scared by the list of ingredients, once they are chopped cooking this soup is very straight forward and takes about 10 minutes. Hope you'll enjoy it.

Serves 2

4 tbsp groundnut or sunflower oil
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 small red chilli, seed removed (or leave them for more heat) and finely chopped
1 walnut size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
5 spring onions, roughly chopped (white and green part)
1 red bell pepper, sliced
6 baby corns, halved or quartered lengthwise
6 mushrooms, sliced
handful of fresh coriander, stalks and most of the leaves finely chopped, some leaves saved for garnishing
1 tbsp red Thai curry paste (I used it because I didn't have lemongrass at the time and curry paste contains it, however for vegan/vegetarian!!! check the paste out as most of them contain shrimp paste or fish sauce, but there are some vegan available too. You can use only some lemongrass instead) 
400ml coconut milk
600ml vegetable stock (I had simple, homemade: carrot, celery, swede and leek leaves)
1 chicken breast, sliced finely
150g tofu, diced into about 2 cm dice
4 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp of palm sugar 
2 tbsp roasted sesame oil  
1 lime, quartered
300g Asian style rice noodles (or egg noodles for non vegan version, I like to use  Shahe fen, wide type of noodles)

First marinate the chicken and tofu. Place half teaspoon of each chopped garlic and ginger in a bowl with sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Mix well and divide into two bowls - place the tofu in one and the chicken in the other. Leave it for about 15 minutes.

Prepare the noodles according to the producer's instruction and divide into two warmed bowls.  Set aside.

Heat half of the oil in wok or large pan and fry the remaining garlic and ginger for about 1 minute. Add chopped spring onion (save some green bits for garnishing), baby corns, pepper, mushrooms and fry for about 2 minutes before adding chopped coriander and curry paste (lemongrass depend on what you are using). Fry for about 1 minute and add the coconut milk and hot stock. Bring to the boil and remove from a heat after about 1 minute. Add some salt if you require. 

In the meantime, when preparing the soup heat the remaining oil in the two separate frying pans. Fry the chicken and tofu until golden, this should not take more than 4-5 minutes so if you not good in multitasking then fry this when the soup is ready - it will not cool down if covered.

Divide the soup between two bowls with noodles, add chicken to one and tofu to another and sprinkle with some chopped spring onions, coriander and top with lime quarter. Just before eating squeeze the lime into the bowl.


  1. I like soups Wagamama style. I find the dish interesting but not spicy enough for me. I like Asian recipe with a long list of ingredients, a lots of flavours combining together!!

    1. Thank you for your comment. :) It is easy to spice up, just add some more fresh chillies (without deseeding them). ;) I am glad you find the recipe interesting though.

  2. Karolina, this is just the type of recipe I like. Full of flavour and downright delicious. I am a big fan of Asian flavours. I think I would omit the tofu and just use chicken. Although it's a long list of ingredients, I wouldn't feel overwhelmed. The results look great :-)

    1. I am glad you like it Jacqueline. :) It is absolutely fine to use chicken only, I simply quite often make two versions as my partner eats much more meat than me. :) All the best!


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