Are your kids picky eaters? Try this soup loaded with nutrients

Lilly Higgins: My key ingredient for a good soup such as this ramen is the stock base

I always have a few jars of stock frozen, either vegetable or chicken

I always have a few jars of stock frozen, either vegetable or chicken

 

Soup is always a popular choice with my kids. They feel like they’re not really committing to dinner, but rather just gracing the table with their presence for a quick bowl of soup.

Of course, I load the soup with things rich in protein and carbohydrates to keep them full and happy. I’ve used tofu here, but leftover shredded chicken or pork works well too.

My key ingredient for  a good soup such as this ramen is the stock base. I always have a few jars of stock frozen, either vegetable or chicken. Not only does it give great flavour but it provides additional nutrients too.

At worst, picky eaters will drink the broth and eat the noodles. But it’s amazing how quickly kids will accept different flavours. Once I explain that fish sauce is basically the equivalent of salt, they accept its funky smell and splash it on along with squeezing limes and scattering sesame seeds.

Any interactive personalising of dinners that can be done by reaching across the table, passing bowls and jars, is always attractive to my gang. Inevitably drinks are spilled, so we have low -sided breakfast juice glasses with a solid base that are practically impossible to break.

I buy organic miso soup sachets from my local health food shop and usually get the sea vegetables or tofu version. They’re ideal for a quick lunch and form the base for this soup.

I sometimes use Thai curry paste in place of the miso and add a splash of coconut milk for creaminess, along with fish sauce and lime for that essential sour and salty combination. It’s pure comfort food.

TOFU RAMEN

Serves 4

Ingredients
2 eggs
½ red pepper, chopped
100g mushrooms, thinly sliced
1½ltr good quality chicken stock
4 thick slices ginger
5 lime leaves
4 star anise
2 sachets of dried miso soup with sea vegetables
8 broccoli tender stems, roughly chopped
400g noodles
1 packet of pressed tofu
1tbsp soy sauce
1tsp sesame oil
½tsp honey
2tbsp coriander leaves
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Method
1
Place both of the eggs in a small pan, cover with cold water then bring to the boil over a medium heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for three to four minutes, depending on how soft you want the yolk. Drain and cover with cold water before peeling. Set aside.

2 Place one teaspoon of oil in a large pan. Sauté the mushrooms and red pepper for a few minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer with the ginger, star anise and lime leaves. Add the sachets of miso and stir. Leave to simmer on low.

3 Cook the noodles according to packet instructions: Usually simmer for three to four minutes. I usually place the broccoli in a steamer over the noodles so they cook at the same time or add them raw to the soup and simmer for a few minutes.

4 Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan. If the tofu is wet then pat it dry with kitchen paper. Cube the tofu and add to the pan. Fry the cubes gently over a medium heat until they begin to take on some colour. Add the soy sauce, honey and sesame oil. Stir gently to coat each cube.

5 When it’s time to serve the ramen, make a nest of noodles in each bowl. Add the fried tofu, broccoli and coriander. Ladle over the hot broth, top each serving with half an egg, spring onion and sesame seeds, serve right away.

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