Udon Soup for the Soul

Did you read those books?  "Chicken Soup for the (teenage/mother/father/student/any type of identifier) Soul."  I did but I always vaguely wanted there to be more talk of food in the stories.

this soup is wrapped in a blanket just like we should be right now.

this soup is wrapped in a blanket just like we should be right now.

This was one of those weeks where it rained for a whole month within the week.  It was a crazy time and everyone lost their minds and so we just had to sit on the couch and eat soup.  We also watched Parenthood ad nauseum.  

If I use Latin in this post, does it cover up the fact that I was watching TV when I should have been doing homework? Don't answer that.

nom city.

nom city.

This soup involves some ingredients that might not be that familiar but stay calm, ok?  Go to your local asian market.  If you're in the Triangle, go to Li Ming's.  Buy the bok choy and udon and miso and gochujang and sesame oil.  Do it and feel good about it because these are great seasonings to have on hand and they will last so don't worry about it.  Also buy frozen dumplings.  Does it count as a recipe if I just tell you where to buy good frozen food?

Sometimes we just need to buy some new ingredients to reinvigorate our cabinets.  I made a 4 course meal for my friend's birthday this week, and one the best thing about it was that she asked me to make two different Korean recipes, so I had to go out and buy some new things and try some new flavors.  I also just got a cookbook on Burmese food so wait for that incoming amazingness.

The best part about making this soup was this: I was almost done with it when one of my roommates asked me so sheepishly if this was "like, Maddy soup or, like, team soup."

I'm not exaggerating when I tell you she pumped her fist in the air and literally jumped up and down with excitement when I told her it was team soup.  Some people just really love soup, man.

my beautiful roommate's hands.  what a babe.  you don't even know, people.

my beautiful roommate's hands.  what a babe.  you don't even know, people.

I hope this recipe serves more as a suggestion.  Look at the proportions and then just make what you think would be most delicious for your personal taste buds.  Taste often, people.  Soup is great because it is easily customizable.  Follow your heart.


  • 1 bunch baby bok choy
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp white miso
  • 1/2 tsp gochujang (korean chili paste)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 knobs of ginger, grated
  • 10-15 dried shiitake mushrooms
  •  package of udon noodles
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cut the bottoms off the bok choy so the leaves all fall apart.  Saute the miso, gochujang, garlic and half the ginger in a soup pot for about 2 minutes over medium heat until they smell freaking amazing.  Add the bok choy and sautee for about 5 minutes until it's all wilted.  Transfer to a bowl.  Add the chicken broth, water, ginger and mushrooms to the pot.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 25 minutes.  Just cover and walk away.

After 25 minutes, the mushrooms should be soft and the broth should taste all mushroomy and good.  Rip open the package of udon and dump it in.  Cover again for about 5 minutes or until the udon gets soft and the noodles start to separate so you can stir them easily.  Do so, and then taste the broth.  Add some salt.  Then add the bok choy back in and stir.

Now taste the broth.  I like mine with a little heat from the gochujang and a little extra flavor from the miso.  Add more of either and taste as you go.  Go slow; you can always add more but you can't take any out.  Then eat it!

Trust your gut.  Soup is personal.  You can do this.

if you haven't already, don't forget to sign up at the bottom of this page for my weekly email updates!