January – is it the worst month of the year? I think it has actually got much worse in recent years since the trend for detoxing has increased significantly. The only thing I have ever given up is smoking and it will probably be the only thing I ever give up.
Having tried every diet known to man in my teens and early twenties I can guarantee that as soon as I give anything up I will crave it and eat it purely because I cannot have it – or drink it, if it’s booze. I can’t understand why more people don’t realise this, but they don’t; hence the splurge of diet/clean living (yawn) books every January.
I am currently reading “This is not a diet book” by Bee Wilson who says everything that I think and more on this subject. My only dietary adjustment in January is an increased vegetable intake. I crave them after a couple of weeks of eating mainly meat, cheese and chocolate.
Another recurring habit in January is that I tend to cook much more Asian food – having missed all the aromatics and chilli heat that are so lacking in festive food. I was skimming through one of my well used Thai cookery books this week, when I came across a recipe for rice soup. On the same day, I saw Fuchsia Dunlop post a soupy rice dish on Instagram – a combination of the two, and my Asian style rice soup emerged.
The best bit about this soup is the garnish. Garlic sizzled in oil until light gold and crunchy with added chilli flakes. Once cooled, this is poured on to the soup, transforming it into something completely addictive. Ingredients can be swapped according to what you have in your fridge but it is an especially great way to use up leftover cooked rice and ham.
Here are some other Asian inspired soups from around the web:
Easy Vegetarian pho – Love & Lemons
Smoky Mexican Asian noodle soup – Deena Kakaya
Spicy meatball & Asian noodle soup – Hungry Healthy Happy
Asian kale, noodle & coconut broth – Foodie Quine
Quick red Thai curry noodle soup – Amuse Your Bouche
Chicken noodle soup – Jo’s Kitchen
Pak choi noodle soup – Coffee & Vanilla
Chicken Ramen – Coriander Queen
Quick tom yum soup – Fab Food 4 All
Beef noodle soup – Its not easy being greedy
Broccoli mushroom coconut noodle soup – Family Friends Food
Asian Style Rice Soup
- 1 tbsp sunflower/grapeseed oil
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 100 g cooked basmati/jasmine rice
- 450 ml chicken stock
- A small knob of ginger peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp tamari/dark soy sauce
- A pinch of sugar
- 4 chestnut mushrooms finely sliced
- Leftover ham roughly chopped cooked chicken/turkey/pork would also be fine
- A few cubes of chopped up tofu optional
- 1-2 spring onions finely sliced
- Make the flavoured oil by heating the oil in a frying pan and adding the garlic. Fry until the garlic begins to turn golden at the edges, then turn off the heat and mix in the dried chillies. Set aside.
- For the soup, bring the chicken stock to the boil in a small saucepan.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients apart from the spring onions.
- Bring the soup to the boil again and then simmer for 15 minutes.
- Pour the soup into one large bowl or two smaller bowls and scatter over the spring onions and the chilli garlic oil.
This recipe makes enough soup to serve one person as a substantial lunch or two people as a starter. You can adapt the ingredients to suit what you have in your fridge.