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Eastern Zen Noodle Soup

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“The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor.”
~Chinese Proverb

Lots of Noodles

Big hit at lunchtime today (or as the British call it: dinner.)

We have been trying to eat lighter meals that are still filled with fresh and healthy goodness.

In that spirit, and also inspired by my recent purchase of several different kinds of Asian noodles, I attempted to recreate one of those lovely noodle soups that you generally find in Chinese and Japanese restaurants. Papa seems to think the result was more Japanese in nature.

The cooking, once I had decided on all of the ingredients, was so fast that those seated at the table awaiting a meal must have wondered if the soup came out of a can.

Nope, it is all freshly assembled, I swear!

Though I haven’t eaten them in years, I can promise all of you comfort and convenience foodies out there that this noodle bowl is as good, okay let me say it: MUCH BETTER, than those packaged ramen noodles with the flavoring pouch. But just as simple and speedy!

Cook this one up to eat by itself or with some steamed dumplings. Either way it is super-easy, quick and filled with subtle flavors.

Serves Two.

    Eastern Zen Noodle Soup


    5 small Mushrooms, cut in large slices
    1/3 of a Zucchini, cut in rounds and then quartered
    1/2 of a small Onion, sliced into thin rounds and then cut in half
    7 or 8 small broccoli flowers, cut in half
    2 tbsp Sunflower Seeds
    1 tbsp Yeast Extract
    1/2 tbsp Malt Extract or Nutritional Yeast
    1/8 cup of soy sauce, or 1/4 cup if you really love it
    1 tbsp chopped Chives or Scallions
    1 clove of Garlic, chopped fine
    1 inch-long piece of Ginger, chopped fine
    1 whole Clove
    1/2 tsp Chinese 5-spice mix
    Salt & Pepper to taste
    Olive oil
    3 cups Water
    A skillet or frying pan
    A medium sauce pan

1. In a saucepan, heat the water on medium with one whole clove in it for flavor.

2. At the same time begin frying the onions, zucchini, garlic, ginger, and chives in olive oil.

3. When the water is getting warm, remove the clove then add and dissolve the yeast and malt extracts as well as the soy sauce.

4. Continue frying the vegetables, adding the mushrooms, broccoli and Chinese Five-spice mix.

5. When water is boiling test your broth for flavor, adding more soy sauce if necessary, then add your choice of Asian noodles.

6. After the noodles, add your fried vegetables etc…

7. Cook for three minutes.

8. Serve, using a fork to add equal noodles to each serving bowl, then ladling the veggie and broth mixture over them.


When deciding how much noodles to add it can be tricky. Use your common sense. Remember: you are making a nice watery soup, not dry noodles.

If you are wondering, Chinese 5-Spice is quite a common thing in Britain, you can buy a jar in the spice aisle of any supermarket. I have never seen it in the United States, though you may find it in a Chinese Market or you can mix some up yourself fairly easily and keep it in a jar if you do a lot of Asian-inspired cooking.

In serving the noodle soup, add just enough broth to cover the noodles. Asian noodle bowls frequently have more noodles and less broth. Though if you like it to be more even, or slightly more watery, then feel free.

These are fun with chopsticks and/or those lovely renge spoons. 1 Comment »