Banh Mi Soup - Day #1 of My Seven Day Soup Challenge

When I had company coming
for a week awhile ago, I did a lot of cooking and freezing ahead of time, especially the meats, so I didn't have to spend hours in the kitchen. In the end, not everything was used. One package waiting patiently was some Banh Mi Pork I cooked up. This is something I could pull out quickly and use in rice bowls or sandwiches, but with socializing at a minimum it was hard to find a reason to thaw it. Glen and I are empty nesters now so we would be eating this for days.

Finally I just bit the bullet and pulled it out of the freezer as it needed to be used.  Time to put on my creative cooking hat.  For our first meal I heated the flavourful pork - recipe HERE - and wrapped it in warm tortillas with only avocado slices and baby spinach to fill it out. The well seasoned meat carried the day with no further additions.  I'll definitely be making this again.  Now what to do with the rest?

I decided to start a seven day soup challenge. Like my 30 day writing challenge, I won't be doing this on sequential days - just 7 days total. What I am hoping to do is to push myself out of the normal soup recipes rut.  Banh Mi Soup seemed like a good way to begin the challenge.

First I looked for a broth base recipe to build on. The Vegan Banh Mi Soup I found on a site called The Fit Fork caught my eye. I didn't want to use the pickled vegetables they did - just the soup base - then add vegetables, rice noodles and my pre-cooked, seasoned, shredded pork. You can check out their version using Mindful Chik'n meat substitute HERE. 

Vegan version from The Fit Fork - their image.

Of course this required a trip to the grocery store, but we were out of several things already.  For my veggies I decided on baby bok choy, shredded carrot and snap peas (this I had in my fridge and needed to use up).  The secret here is the pre-made pork that is highly seasoned. There is no substitute for making this ahead of time.  

Made tonight. Adjusted the recipe to reflect the changes I made as I cooked.  I thought it had a great flavor and loved that it had a tiny bit of zip - not too much, but enough that it gave it a boost.  I used super fine rice noodles this time because that's what I had. However, I prefer the 1/8 - 1/4" size for this soup. And it truly messy to eat - so be sure and have some napkins ready!

As always, never be afraid to play with a recipe you find to make it your own. If you prefer to have those pickled vegetables as well - add them. It's your soup and if you're going to take the time to cook from scratch, then make it something you'll love.

Note - I have used this meat in many other ways. I made Asian Burritos, used it in stir fries with the juice the sauce, made rice bowls HERE, and created a non-traditional sandwich. It is super versatile and freezes in smaller packages well. I always make a double recipe.

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Banh Mi Soup

Ingredients - 

4 oz.                   Dry rice noodle (use your favourite - skinny to wide)
1                         Large Sweet onion, slice in half length-wise, the cross cut in 1/4" Half circles
1 tsp                   Oil 
6 C                     Vegetable broth
2 T                     Freshly squeezed lime juice
2 T                     Soy sauce
1 T                     Fish sauce
2 tsp                   Sriracha sauce
1 sm. pkg.          Baby Bok Choy, end removed and cross cut in 1/2" pieces
1 C                    Shredded, julienned, or spiralized Carrots
1 C                    Snap Peas, cross cut in 1/2" pieces
2-1/2 to 3 C       Pre-cooked, shredded Banh Mi Pork recipe HERE!
2 C                     Packed baby spinach leaves
¼ C                    Chopped Cilantro leaves
¼ C                    Chopped mint leaves

Toppings - you could add toppings to this soup of your choice. Additional cilantro and/or mint, bean sprouts, sliced jalapenos or even a sprinkle of crushed red pepper. 

Instructions - 

Boil pot of water and add dry rice noodles, cooking according to manufacturer’s directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain. Let set while you make the soup. In large soup pot, saute sweet onion in oil over low heat until caramelized.

Add vegetable broth, lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sriracha to the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add the bok choy, carrots and snap peas. Cook just until barely done. Remove from burner and add shredded Banh Mi Pork, spinach, cilantro and mint to soup mixture. Stir well to combine and reheat gently if needed. Gently mix in the cooked rice noodles that have been set aside.

Serve in large soup bowls.