At this time of year, when it’s bitterly cold and our bodies are desperate for nutrients (as well as needing to be warmed and comforted), and something as delicious and highly nutritious as broth is just the ticket.
Broth is a wonderful and versatile thing, whether you’ve boiled up your leftover roast dinner carcass or roasted off some bones from your butcher as a base for the stock – all you need in addition are vegetables and flavourings of your choice. Simply cover with cold water, bring to the boil, season, and simmer for a couple of hours before straining. For a full breakdown of how to do this, follow this chicken stock recipe.
The great thing about a broth is that you can stick whatever you want in it; meat, fish, vegetables, rice, pasta or noodles – there are a huge number of possibilities. You can go in any direction, from Mediterranean with tomato and smokey pancetta, classic British with beef bones and hearty vegetables, to a gutsy Japanese Ramen.
This simple Asian broth recipe is a great place to start. You can try making your own dashi, a Japanese stock made with seaweed, bonito flakes and roasted bones, or you can pimp up a shop-bought stock by adding ginger, chilli, miso, curry, or whatever you fancy.
This recipe is actually a mix of all my favourite things and as a result it’s a bit of broth-mongrel, not really belonging to any particular place. However, it dose taste delicious and is the perfect antidote to those January blues. If you haven’t already, I urge you to take inspiration and work on creating your own perfect broth recipe – please pop a comment in the box below and let me know how you get on!
Asian broth with seared beef fillet, vegetables and buckwheat noodles
- 1 x 300g piece of beef fillet
- 750ml dashi or stock (try making your own or available in Waitrose or Asian supermarkets)
- 120g buckwheat noodles
- 1 free range egg
- Sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons rosated sesame seeds, black and white
- 2 carrots
- 1 red chilli
- 2 spring onions
- 150g Asian greens, like pak choi or choi sum
- A small handful of enoki mushrooms
Take the piece of beef fillet out of the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature. Meanwhile, put the dashi or stock on to a medium low heat, allowing it to gently simmer whilst you prepare the rest of the soup.
Cook the buckwheat noodles according to packet instructions, rinse well in cold water, and dress in a little sesame oil.
Boil the egg for seven minutes in a small pan of boiling water, then place in a bowl of cold water.
Place a small non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Rub the fillet steak with a little sesame oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Once the pan is screaming hot, sear the steak all over for 3-5 minutes depending on how thick your meat is – it should still be nice and rare in the middle. Place the sesame seeds on a plate and roll the seared steak in them so that they stick to the surface. Leave the fillet to rest while you get prepare the vegetables.
Peel and shave the carrots with a speed peeler so you have lovely ribbons, finely slice the chilli and spring onions. Boil the kettle and pour over the greens to soften them slightly.
Now build your soup. Arrange the noodles and vegetables in two wide, deep soup bowls, pour over the simmered dashi or stock. Slice the steak against the grain, divide between the bowls and then top with half an egg on each. Serve with chilli sauce and enjoy.