The ingredients in this recipe are divided into two sections – broth basics and optional add-ins. The basics are ingredients that are mandatory for making a flavorful broth. The optional add-ins are just that – optional. You can make just the broth and sip it on its own when feeling under the weather or in need of some comfort, or add one or more of the add-ins that you are craving/have on hand for a more substantial soup. This recipe is highly customizable, so feel free to get creative, following the basic broth framework.
2 teaspoons ground turmeric or 2″ piece fresh turmeric – peeled, grated/minced
1″ piece ginger – peeled, grated/minced
5 whole garlic cloves
1 jalapeño or small chili pepper – minced (leave seeds in if you prefer a spicier soup)
10-12 cups water
freshly ground black pepper – to taste
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari to taste
juice of 2 lemons
Salt to taste
1 large sweet potato or 3-4 medium carrots, or any other root vegetable – cubed
8 oz shiitake or crimini mushrooms – sliced
2 lemongrass stalks – bruised with the back of a chef’s knife, sliced into 3 pieces
1 piece kombu
about 4 oz soba
1-2 clusters baby bok choy – separated into leaves or 1 small bunch any other greens
spaghetti squash ‘noodles’ (from 1 roasted spaghetti squash)
1-1½ cups cooked beans or lentils
handful cilantro leaves – for garnish
- Add all the broth ingredients, except black pepper, soy sauce and lemon juice to the pot. Also add any of the following optional add-ins that you are using: sweet potato/carrots, mushrooms, lemongrass and kombu. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, covered. If using sweet potato/carrots, check them for doneness by pricking a few pieces with a knife or fork, which should go in easily if the vegetables are cooked through. If not done, simmer for another 5 minutes and check again. Turn off the heat and add pepper to taste. If you have time, it’s great to let the broth sit and infuse for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight (refrigerate if overnight), but this step is completely optional
- If making broth only, or if you’ve already added all the add-ins you have, you can stop here and add soy sauce and lemon juice. If continuing with other add-ins, bring the soup back to a boil over medium high heat. If using soba, add it to the boiling broth and cook, uncovered, about 2-3 minutes less than the required time on the package until al dente (the soba will continue sitting in the hot broth and might get a little too soft if you cook it for the whole required time).
- Turn off the heat and add any of the following optional add-ins that you are using: baby bok choy/greens, spaghetti squash ‘noodles’, beans/lentils. Cover the pot and let the soup sit for about 2-5 minutes, until the greens are wilted and spaghetti squash noodles, beans/lentils are warmed through.