Spicy Tomato Chicken Noodle Soup

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Spicy Tomato Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

To license this image please contact me at nicole@thespicetrain.com.

This soup has got good spice from a teaspoon of half-sharp Hungarian paprika, good savory flavor from tomato paste, ginger, chicken broth, sautéed onion and garlic and good substance from a shredded chicken breast and ramen noodles. It’s a wonderful way to get rid of leftover chicken and/or Asian noodles and really couldn’t be easier to make; the whole process takes about 15 minutes!

Spicy Tomato Chicken Noodle Soup
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
  • 4 ounces raw ramen or other Asian-style noodles
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ small red onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika*
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cooked chicken breast or other left-over chicken, shredded
  • 1 green onion, sliced
Instructions:
  1. Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Set aside.
  2. In a Dutch oven heat the oil until shimmering.
  3. Add the onion and cook until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, paprika, ginger and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add chicken broth and water and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the chicken and the cooked noodles.
  7. Garnish with green onion and serve.

Food Photography and Styling: Once again I used my espresso machine to produce the steam in this photo and I think it turned out “cute” (for lack of a better word). Since this is an Asian-inspired recipe I used chopsticks and a sake flask and cup as props and I arranged them such that they helped to lead the eye through the frame. I kept most of the frame quite dark to keep the focus on the brightly-colored soup and as almost always, I used my strobe to light the set.
For info on what type of camera and lighting equipment I used head on over to my FAQ page.

 

This entry was posted in Soups.

Hot and Sour Soup

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Hot and Sour Soup Recipe

To license this image please contact me at nicole@thespicetrain.com.

I love the hot and sour soup that is served in Chinese restaurants here in the U.S. In fact, on quite a few occasions the hot and sour soup that came with my main course was the highlight of the whole meal for me. It’s exciting, spicy, and full of great flavors and textures. The only problem is that it’s only offered as an appetizer and hence comes in a tiny cup. In this recipe here hot and sour soup is turned into a main course. It’s an adaptation from epicurious and it includes a hefty helping of minced pork, tofu cubes, shiitake, bamboo shoots and chili pepper that overall make the soup substantial enough to call it dinner.

You can tell by looking at the photo that I have yet to discover how to get the egg to curdle into long and pretty ribbons but that’s okay, the soup tastes great even with the egg broken up into a million tiny pieces.

This soup is quick and easy to prepare and you can make it as sour and as spicy as you like by adding more or less rice vinegar and crushed red pepper flakes.

Hot and Sour Soup
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 5 ounces minced pork chops
  • 10 bamboo shoots out of a can, sliced into strips
  • ½ chili pepper, seeds and ribs removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 6 ounces tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2–3 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicier)
Instructions:
  1. Heat the oil on high heat in a pan until shimmering.
  2. Add the meat and fry until starting to brown.
  3. Add bamboo shoots, chili pepper, green onion and shiitake and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the soy sauce and cook for another minute.
  5. Add the broth and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the tofu, then stir in the honey and the vinegar (start with 2 teaspoons of vinegar, then add more to taste).
  7. Mix the cornstarch with just enough water to dissolve it (a few drops), then add to the soup.
  8. Stir in the beaten egg and the red pepper flakes.

Food Photography and Styling: I didn’t know exactly what this soup was going to look like but I did know that it was going to be some shade of brown so I set up a blue surface and background to provide color contrast. The soup was initially hot enough to produce steam on its own but by the time I had the napkin and the spoon positioned the way I liked them that steam was gone so I got out my espresso machine. As aways, I used my strobe to light the set.
For info on what type of camera and lighting equipment I used head on over to my FAQ page.

 

This entry was posted in Soups.

10-Minute Asian Noodle Soup with Mushrooms

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A super-quick recipe for a delicious Asian noodle soup with mushrooms.

To license this image please contact me at nicole@thespicetrain.com.

This soup was just a spontaneous attempt of mine to get rid of leftover coconut milk that was sitting in the fridge but it turned out so good that I decided to photograph and post it. The recipe really could not be any simpler or quicker: cook Asian noodles of your choice, meanwhile saute shallot, ginger, chili pepper and mushrooms for a few minutes. Add coconut milk, chicken broth and bok choy and finish with a little bit of lime juice and soy sauce.  Incredibly easy and incredibly flavorful! Give it a try next time you’re wondering what to do with unused coconut milk! :)

Asian Noodle Soup with Mushrooms
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
  • 3 ounces Asian-style noodles (soba, udon, etc.)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 chili pepper, sliced (seeds and ribs removed)
  • 4 ounces Beech mushrooms
  • 4 ounces oyster or maitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 heads baby bok choy, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon lime juice (more, if desired)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon soy sauce
Instructions:
  1. Cook the noodles according to package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile heat the oil in a pan.
  3. Add ginger, shallot and chili pepper to the oil and saute for 1 minute.
  4. Add the mushrooms and saute until slightly soft (about 4 minutes)
  5. Add coconut milk and broth and bring to a boil.
  6. Turn the heat off, stir in the baby bok choy and the lime juice.
  7. Season to taste with soy sauce.
  8. Add the noodles to the soup and serve.

Food Photography and Styling: I wanted to show how full of “stuff” this soup was so I chose a shallow bowl with a wide opening and made sure each ingredient was represented on the surface and properly recognizable. The bowl I used is very shiny and showed a strong reflection on the back right, which I just covered up with some maitake mushrooms.  (This was the lazy way to do it, alternatively I could have used a small flag and placed it between the light and the bowl in the right spot). The plate underneath the bowl is my trusty brown Heath Ceramics bread and butter plate. I twirled the noodles a bit to create some movement in the bowl. The brown and green of the food went nicely with my dark wood tray so that’s what I used as my surface. I lit the set from the side with my strobe and blocked the light in the top and bottom parts of the frame to create a spotlight on the bowl.
For info on what type of camera and lighting equipment I used head on over to my FAQ page.

 

This entry was posted in Soups.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Recipe Jump ButtonChicken Tortilla Soup

To license this image please contact me at nicole@thespicetrain.com.

The weather was so cold and rainy here last week that it got me in the mood for this hearty chicken tortilla soup. It’s got a well-rounded flavor and some good substance. I started off with coriander and cumin, then added some vegetables, used the broth I poached the chicken in as the liquid for the soup and added some good spice with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. (You can adjust the spiciness to your liking by adding more or fewer chipotle peppers).

My husband says this soup goes really well with a Belgian white ale, a beer made with coriander and orange peel, so if you’re a beer person you may want to try that. I took just a sip (I’m more of a wine lady personally) and thought it was rather good indeed. Hope you’re having a great start into the week and, as always, thanks for coming by!

Chicken Tortilla Soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main Course
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
  • 1 large or two small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups chicken broth, more if needed
  • 3 corn tortillas
  • about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced, seeds and ribs removed
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, sliced thinly
  • 1 14-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 14-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • cilantro
Instructions:
  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. While the oven is heating up, start to poach the chicken: Place the chicken breast/s into a saucepan just large enough to fit it/them and add the broth. Make sure the chicken is completely submerged, if it isn't, add more broth. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat, put on the lid and simmer until the chicken's internal temperature registers 165 degrees F.
  3. While the chicken is poaching, cut the tortillas into thin strips and brush them with vegetable oil.
  4. Transfer the strips onto a baking sheet and bake until crisp (about 15 minutes). Turn them after 7 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile start working on the soup by heating the olive oil in a large pot until shimmering.
  6. Add cumin, coriander, onion and jalapeño and saute until the onion is translucent and slightly soft (about 8 minutes).
  7. Add garlic, chipotle chili, tomatoes and tomato paste and cook, while stirring, for a few more minutes.
  8. Add 2 cups of the poaching liquid to the pot, shred the chicken and add it to the pot as well.
  9. Add the beans, let the soup come to a boil, then turn the heat off.
  10. Taste the soup and if you like it spicier, add adobo sauce and/or more chipotle peppers.
  11. Fill the soup into bowls, sprinkle with tortilla strips and cilantro and serve.

Food Photography and Styling: It doesn’t get any more minimalistic than this photo, does it? I experimented with a few additional items in the frame but ended up liking it best the way you see it here, just the bowl sitting on a small plate and the small spoon off to the side. I played around with the camera angle for a (long) while until I had it such that the soup looked really inviting, almost as if it was about to jump up at the viewer.

When I looked at the soup while it was cooking I thought its most interesting component was the beans. I liked their purple color and their cute shape so I tried to bring out those two characteristics. I lit the set slightly from the back to create some nice highlights on the shiny beans (I brushed soup liquid onto them during the shoot to keep them shiny) and I kept the set really, really dark to make those highlights stand out.

I chose the severely tarnished spoon to match the subdued color and appearance of the bowl. Anything too shiny would have looked out of place and drawn too much attention away from the soup. I arranged the items in the soup such that they formed an almost circular pattern to keep the viewer’s eye moving around in the bowl. To break up the surface just a little bit I sprinkled some ground pepper on the wood.
For info on what type of camera and lighting equipment I used head on over to my FAQ page.

 

This entry was posted in Soups.

Beer Cheddar Soup

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If your arteries are too wide I suggest you eat this beer cheddar soup every day for a month. In all other cases please look at it as a treat that should only be indulged in occasionally. Beer, butter, bacon, cheese and cream – it’s all in here, and unsurprisingly it’s fantastic.

Beer Cheddar Soup

To license this image please contact me at nicole@thespicetrain.com.

The recipe is not my creation, it’s a soup by chef Jonathan Erdeljac that I found in Food & Wine magazine a while ago. I’ve cooked it several times and made one slight modification the last time: I added one teaspoon of Hungarian paprika along with the celery, onion, jalapeño, garlic and thyme. The soup is already outstanding without it but if you like a little extra spice and sharpness, add the paprika.

Beer Cheddar Soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 6
Ingredients:
  • ½ pound bacon, diced
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika*
  • 1 12-ounce bottle lager or pilsner
  • 2¼ cup chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ pound sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 4 ounces smoked cheddar, shredded
Instructions:
  1. Head on over to Food & Wine magazine for the instructions.
Notes:
*Hungarian paprika is optional. If you use it, add it along with the thyme. (I used Penzey's Hungarian style half-sharp paprika).

 

This entry was posted in Soups.

Shrimp Coconut Soup

Recipe Jump ButtonShrimp Coconut Soup

To license this image please contact me at nicole@thespicetrain.com.

Here’s a super-quick and easy yet flavorful (and potentially very spicy) shrimp coconut soup recipe. The heat here comes from a bit of chili powder and from fresh jalapeño peppers. The fewer pepper seeds and ribs you remove the spicier the soup. Other than that there is some coconut milk to mellow things out just a bit, some lime juice for extra freshness, and a bit of garlic and shallot. If you like you can garnish the soup with some cilantro, green onion and/or sprouts and some sliced chili peppers to add a bit of color. Enjoy!

Shrimp Coconut Soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
  • ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium-sized shallot, minced
  • 2 medium-sized jalapeño peppers, minced, half of the ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 12 shrimp, raw
  • a few drops of lime juice
  • about 2 ounces cooked Asian-style noodles (optional)
For garnish:
  • cilantro
  • sliced chili pepper
  • sprouts of your choice (I used mung bean sprouts here)
  • sliced scallions
Instructions:
  1. Heat the oil in a pot until shimmering.
  2. Add shallot and jalapeño and saute until soft (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add garlic, chili powder, broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the shrimp, turn down the heat and simmer until the shrimp are cooked through.
  5. Add the noodles, if you are using them.
  6. Fill into bowls and sprinkle with a few drops of lime juice.
  7. Top with garnish and serve.

This entry was posted in Soups.

Chicken and Wild Rice Mushroom Soup

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Chicken Wild Rice Mushroom Soup

To license this image please contact me at nicole@thespicetrain.com.

You know those summer days that start out crazy hot and then there’s a huge late-afternoon thunderstorm that crashes temperatures so severely that you have to put on socks and a fleece  jacket and want to make a fire and think of Thanksgiving? Those days is what this soup is for. It’s comforting, it’s creamy, it’s hot and it’s intensely flavorful. It’s also got some really good texture with the chicken, the mushrooms and the wild rice. Except for the mushrooms you need only pantry ingredients and a chicken breast out of the freezer or, if you happen to have, some leftover cooked chicken. Enjoy!

Chicken and Wild Rice Mushroom Soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 3
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup wild rice or wild rice blend, raw
  • 1 medium-sized boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • a little bit of vegetable oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried French thyme
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ⅛ teaspoon toasted dehydrated onion (see notes)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces mushrooms (I used maitake here but oyster work well too)
  • 1½ tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • fresh pepper
  • parsley (for garnish)
Instructions:
  1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a Dutch oven.
  2. Add the onion and cook on medium heat until soft and translucent.
  3. Add the wine, broth, water and rice and stir.
  4. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 45 minutes with the lid on. After the 45 minutes, turn the heat off.
  5. Meanwhile season the chicken with salt and pepper, drizzle a bit of vegetable oil on it and bake it in a 375-degree oven until its internal temperature registers 165 degree F.
  6. Shred the chicken with two forks, cover and set aside.
  7. Grind the thyme, marjoram, toasted onion and salt in a mortar with a pestle until you have a fine salt.
  8. Add the herb mix to the soup.
  9. Cook the mushrooms in a little bit of vegetable oil until they are soft (about 3 minutes). Set aside.
  10. To make the roux melt one tablespoon of butter in a skillet. Add the flour and whisk into a paste.
  11. Add the cream to the roux and whisk until the mix is smooth without any clumps.
  12. Stir the roux into the soup and briefly bring to a boil.
  13. Turn the heat off, add the chicken and the mushrooms.
  14. Sprinkle with parsley and freshly ground pepper and serve.
Notes:
You can buy toasted dehydrated onion at a spice shop.

 

This entry was posted in Soups.

Coconut Curry Soup

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Coconut Curry Soup

To license this image please contact me at nicole@thespicetrain.com.

Lemongrass, cilantro, fiery peppers, curry, coconut – it’s all in this complex and delicious dish. I adapted this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, which had the brilliant idea to strain out the tough, woody aromatics after extracting their flavor, leaving a silky smooth yet flavorful soup. Eat it as an appetizer or serve it over rice to make it a main dish.

Coconut Curry Soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer/Main
Cuisine: Indian/Thai
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
  • 3 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (use only 4-6 inches of the bottom (thicker) portion of the stalk)
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 can coconut milk (14 ounces)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tilapia fillets, raw
  • about half a red chili pepper, thinly sliced
  • about half a Serrano or Thai chili pepper, thinly sliced
  • 6-8 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • a few drops lime juice
Instructions:
  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil and saute shallot, lemongrass and cilantro until the shallot is soft, 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the coconut milk and the chicken broth, bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the soup to get rid of the lemongrass, shallot and cilantro and put back into the pot.
  4. Add the raw tilapia, bring back to a boil, then simmer until the fish is fully cooked.
  5. Meanwhile saute chili, serrano or Thai pepper and mushrooms in a separate pan with the remaining oil until soft, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add curry powder and tomato paste to the chilies and mushrooms and cook until fragrant (30 seconds or so).
  7. Add the curry/vegetable mix to the soup.
  8. Stir in a tiny bit of lime juice, if you think it needs it.

 

This entry was posted in Soups.