Hot and sour deliciousness

Yesterday was my first attempt at a 5:2 day in more than two months – nine weeks of lead-up-to-Christmas and holiday-in-Italy eating. The fact I added a few kilos was just a given.

The soup, as it appears in in Ottolenghi's book.
The soup, as it appears in in Ottolenghi’s book.

So I knew I had to find something new and interesting for my 300 calorie evening meal, since that first day back on the straight and narrow was always going to be tough.

I found exactly what I was looking for in Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty More. It has a lot of ingredients, but if you cook Asian dishes reasonably regularly you’ll probably have quite a few of them already in your pantry.

This recipe is sour and sharp and really tasty, and surprisingly filling given how few calories are involved. There is room to add some other protein such is chicken or fish and still keep within a 300 calorie evening meal. (I didn’t have that leeway, since I’d gone off-track a little at lunch when a friend dropped in to visit).

I liked the fact my soup ended up looking not so very different from the book, though probably photographed a few minutes later in the process. Plenty More is a brilliant cookbook, and perfect for anyone who loves finding interesting and tasty things to do with vegetables.

Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup

First make the stock. Combine the following ingredients and fry them for a few minutes in 1 tbs of oil.
3 small onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
6 celery stalks chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
75g fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped

The soup, as it looked in my kitchen.
The soup, as it looked in my kitchen. 

Fry for 5 mins and then add:
2.25l water (or stock, if you have it, but not necessary)
3 lemongrass stalks (50g), chopped
12 prunes
3 red chilies, chopped
6 star anise
2 tbs tamari soy sauce
6 kaffir lime leaves
30g coriander root, chopped

Bring to the boil and cook for at least 45 minutes. Then strain. Bring it back to a simmer and add:
2 tbs tamarind paste
150 enoki mushroom, separates into individual mushrooms
150g white mushrooms, sliced
150 buna-shimeji mushrooms, separated (I did not have these, and just used some sliced portobellos I had)

Cook  1 minute, then add:
juice of 2 limes (65ml)
20g coriander leaves
20g thai basil (I used some quite sharp vietnamese mint, and some basil, since I had both)
160g bean sprouts
160 green beans (I used a bit more than this, and I also threw in some peas, since they needed using)
I also added some more chili, since it needed a little more heat (the original chili in the stock was quite mild)

Add salt to taste. If desired, you can add a few drops of sesame oil.

Calories: about 100 per (big) bowl. We had two bowls each, which did not finish the pot.

Verdict: absolutely delicious, and surprisingly filling given the lack of calories.



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