Hot and sour, healthy and nourishing—this is such a great soup to serve for dinner on the days that you're felling any of the following: Blue, bloated, healthy, skinny, apprehensive about bikini season, generally optimistic. It soothes and encourages all moods, and tastes like something you would pay top dollar for in a swanky restaurant.
*6 cups good quality chicken broth (homemade is best, but a good tinned type is okay, too)
1 stalk lemon grass, outer layer peeled off and discarded, the rest trimmed and sliced very thin
1 small red bird’s eye pepper (Thai pepper), sliced thin (keeping the seeds will add more heat, discarding them will give it less kick)
3 green onions (scallions, spring onions), trimmed then sliced thin
1 teaspoon salt (only if using no-sodium broth, if the broth already tastes salted, skip this)
2 teaspoons sugar
*¼ cup good quality soy sauce
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
Juice of ½ lime
2 heads Bok Choi (Pak Choi), sliced into thin strips
Handful of frozen, shelled edemame
2 parcels Udon noodles (or Soba—could also use angel hair)
* This ingredient is critical to the dish— Use the best quality you can get your hands on
1) Make the soup by placing the first 9 ingredients into a large pan or wok. Bring to a simmer and allow to gently cook, uncovered for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. May be made up to this point and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, then reheated.
2) Bring the soup to a strong simmer, add in the raw meatballs and the noodles, bring back to a simmer and cook for about 6 minutes, then add in the frozen edemame, bring back to a simmer and cook 2 minutes more, until the noodles are tender (the meatballs take only a few minutes to cook). Throw the bak choi (pak choi) into the soup, stir and cover with a lid. Turn off the heat and allow the greens to wilt in the soup for 5 minutes.
Ladle into large bowls, garnish with chopped mint or cilantro (coriander), if desired. Serves 4-6