Is there a packaged soup mix you like?

Yes!  I find Happy Pho Vietnamese Brown Rice Noodle Soup in Zesty Ginger easy, quick, elegant and delicious.  I hate that I am so attracted by green-looking packaging, but I am.  I wasn’t even looking for Vietnamese soup, or any soup for that matter, but the uncoated, unbleached, recycled, packaging caught my eye in Whole Foods, so I checked out the ingredients.  The ingredients are simple, there are (thankfully) no nightshades in this product and it’s gluten free.

Sometimes, I use chicken stock, and other times I use my version of a kombu stock (made with onions, carrots, celery, kombu, wakame, hijiki, ginger, garlic, shitake mushrooms, sage and thyme).  I usually add chicken (this is a great way to use leftover chicken), some sort of green (chard, kale, turnip greens, beet greens, spinach… whatever) and if turnips are in season, I put in a whole mess of julienned hakurei turnips.  I add the noodles last, because they cook very quickly.  If you are planning to have any of this soup left over, don’t put the noodles in the pot, because they’ll be mush upon the second heating.  Then, I finish the soup with chopped parsley, cilantro and either chives or scallions with the juice of at least one lime per large bowl.

Happy Pho in Zesty Ginger - all dressed up

Happy Pho in Zesty Ginger - all dressed up!

Notes: I always have noodles left over, so I would add way more stock than the package recommends (4 cups).  I would use at least a quart, maybe a quart and a half, of stock.  When you’re using that much stock, you easily could get four nice bowls of soup out of the package and not just the 2 servings they list.  You can get away with that much stock when you add a lot of other flavors, such as chicken, a lot of cilantro, a lot of lime, etc.  At $5.49 a package at Whole Foods, the price is a bit much for this very simple soup, but I pay it anyway.  I really love this soup and it’s such a great go-to item to have in your pantry.


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