Okay, show of hands, who got sick this holiday season? Well, if you’re waving your hand in the air, stop because I can’t see you and you might be in public, but also know that I share your pain. I almost always get sick around Christmas. Most of the time I’m gifted a cold but this year I was thrown a curveball in the form of a stomach flu. A stomach flu is hard to write about on a food blog. Truth is I didn’t eat much save a few saltines while I sick. And since this post is not sponsored by Premium Plus, I won’t say much more about the flu. I will instead give you the recipe for the soup I make when I have a cold, which I affectionately call Death’s Door Rice Noodle Soup.
This is what I make myself when I lose the strength to stand. It breaks a few foodie rules for the sake of convenience (hello, boxed stock) and I’m not the least bit sorry about it. This is the dressiest version of this soup I’ve made to date. I had to tart it up a bit for the sake of Instagram. But I have adorned it many times with nothing more than a scallion and a stray egg. The only thing I will put my foot down about it is the Sriracha. Clear those nasal passages!
I thought we’d approach this soup from the bottom up. And by that I mean, we’ll first discuss the mainstays. The ingredients that you can’t do without. And, from there, we’ll talk about possible add-ins should you want to include this soup in your regular weeknight repertoire. If that is the case, I might suggest a name change. Relatives might get the wrong idea if you serve them a bowl of Death’s Door Rice Noodle Soup.
Okay, if you strip this soup down to its barest bones you have six ingredients: stock, noodles, soy sauce, sriracha, black or rice vinegar, and sesame oil. This is the version you pull out if you’re as helpless as a declawed kitten and you can’t conn anyone into making you something. This requires little more than pouring and bringing things to a boil. You can even cook the noodles in the soup. Sure, it’ll make the broth kind of murky, but you’ve got one foot in the grave, this shouldn’t matter to you.
So, that’s level 1 Death’s Door Rice Noodle Soup. Now, let’s talk about adding vitamins and real-life nutrients to the list. Step 1: pick a green you can steam. I used broccolini but bok choy has been deployed on this mission in the past and fared very well. The reason you pick something that steams well is so you can steam it with the steam from the soup. Make sure you have a steaming basket, bamboo or otherwise, that sits snuggly on top of your chosen soup pot.
Step 2: beef up your broth…not literally. I’m not asking you to pop down to the butcher’s and for some beef bones, you’d never make it. All I’m asking is you crush a few cloves of garlic, slice a bit of ginger and pound a little lemongrass. If you’re missing any of these ingredients, screw ‘em. Our dependence on Asian food in this house, means these ingredients are pretty much mainstays. Throw whichever of these ingredients in the soup and let them simmer for 15 minutes or so. Steam your greens in the last 7 minutes.
Okay, let’s tackle Level 3 – the highest of all the levels. This is something you attempt when you’re doctor has finally hit upon the right cocktail of antibiotics and you’re on the mend. Or you are short on time on a Wednesday, are especially fond of noodles, and in need of dinner. Basically, this soup gets the highest degree of difficulty because you have to preheat the oven to make it. Oh, and boil an egg.
The Honey Soy Tofu you see floating in this bowl is just that – honey, soy, and tofu. That’s it! No hard to find ingredients and no marinating or extra-special fussing. And this tofu is good hot or cold. You could put it on a sandwich or serve over rice. Essentially, it’s not a bad thing to have on hand. All you have to do is whisk the soy and honey and pour it over the tofu. Then it goes in the oven for 15, you flip it and put back in for another 10. Nothing skill-testing, nothing stressful.
Finally, there’s the egg. I opted for a hard-boiled egg because who, when they’re sick, has the patience to peel a soft-boiled egg? Honestly, I could be on top of the world and still be skint on that level of patience. But if you’re an especially chill sick person, or you’re just that passionate about gooey yolks, be my guest and go for a soft boiled egg.
So, that’s everything you need to know about this soup. Whatever level you choose the Death’s Door Rice Noodle Soup is good for what ails you.
Death’s Door Rice Noodle Soup with Honey Soy Tofu
Honey Soy Tofu
- 1 brick extra firm tofu cut into triangles
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
Death's Door Rice Noodle Soup
- 225 g (8 oz) dried rice noodles
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 2 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
- 1 knob ginger sliced
- 4 1/2 cups sodium-free vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 2 tsp *black vinegar
- 1 bunch broccolini cut in half
- 2-4 eggs
- 1 batch Honey Soy Tofu see above
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- Toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling
Honey Soy Tofu
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Arrange the tofu on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Whisk the soy and honey together in a bowl and pour the mixture over the tofu. Toss the tofu around a little to ensure even coverage.
- Pop the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Flip the tofu and bake for 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use.
Death's Door Rice Noodle Soup
- Place the noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soak while you make the soup.
- Smash the lemongrass with a kitchen mallet or another blunt object. Remove the tough outer leaves and tie it in a knot. Place the garlic, ginger, and lemongrass in a large saucepan. Pour in the stock, soy sauce, sriracha, and vinegar. Stir to combine. Place the saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes.
- In the last 7 minutes of simmering time, fit a steaming basket over the mouth of the saucepan. Add the broccolini to the basket and cover. Steam for the remaining 7 minutes.
- While the broccolini is steaming, place the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 6 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water and let sit for 5 minutes. Peel the eggs and set aside.
- Drain and divide the noodles amongst the bowls. Cover with soup, and add the reserved Honey Soy Tofu, broccolini, and the egg to the bowl. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.