Happy Halloween, friends!
If you are heading out with the kids tonight, I have the perfect post-trick-or-treating, warm-you-up meal to tell you about.
This soup is a mash-up of three of my favorite Asian dishes: Vietnamese pho, Chinese egg drop soup, and Japanese udon noodles. Yessss. So much going on but in the best way!
Pho is something I’ve shared with you before, and it might be one of my favorite things to make in the fall and winter because it is so dang COZY. It’s super rich, loaded with umami, and spiced with a slight sweetness. OMG. It is so, so good. It also happens to be my favorite thing to make when I’m getting sick. It beats chicken noodle by a mile!
Pho is all about the broth, and so I took that idea and based the broth for this soup off of my other pho recipes. It is loaded with the flavors of onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, a ton of cozy spices, brown sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce. I wanted to keep this version vegetarian, so I used vegetable broth, but it would taste just as good with chicken or beef broth. I like to simmer the broth for a good chunk of time to really let those flavors meld together. Then, I strain out all of the aromatics and all that remains is the most unctuous, rich, flavor-packed broth.
I actually like to make the broth the day before I’m going to serve this soup. Now, life does now always allow for this, of course, but when I do have the extra time, I make the broth at least one day ahead and allow all the aromatics to steep in the broth for that time. I strain them out and reheat the broth just before serving. If you have the time, I highly suggest you do this! The flavors will be off the charts.
To up the comfort factor here, I wanted to incorporate the idea of egg drop soup – another favorite comfort food of mine! So, when the broth is super hot, I whisk in a little beaten egg and allow the hot broth to cook the egg into silky little ribbons. It adds some protein and another level of silkiness to the soup. If this weirds you out (meaning, you’re worried about the egg not cooking thoroughly), you could certainly sub out the egg in the broth for poached or soft-boiled eggs instead. That would be just as delicious!
Last and certainly not least are the udon noodles. Udon are one of my guiltiest pleasures. There is a noodle house in the Chinatown section of Philly that makes THE BEST udon I’ve ever had, and we’ve made the trek into the city on a few frigid days just to get our hands on those noods.
So, so much slurpy goodness! They warm you up from the inside out.
And that’s exactly what the noodles do here. They add some heft to the soup, especially considering that this is a vegetarian meal. They make for the best spoon-chopstick-combo eating technique!
Because the ingredients are all so rich, I like to serve this very simply with tonnnnsss of fresh ingredients. Fresh cilantro, scallions, jalapeños, and an obscene amount of fresh lime juice. These ingredients not only brighten things up, but they balance out the rich spiciness a bit.
I am so looking forward to taking Spider-Man (Kieran) and the radioactive spider that bit him (Finn) out trick or treating tonight, but I think I might be looking forward to a bowl of this afterwards even more. Pure comfort food!
This Pho-Spiced Egg Drop Udon Soup is a mash up of several Asian dishes: egg drop soup, pho, and udon noodles. It is a cold-busting bowl of vegetarian comfort! Spiced, rich broth, silky eggs, and hearty rice noodles make this bowl of soup irresistible!
For the Broth:
- 1 tablespoon coconut or canola oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (2-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons lemongrass paste (I find mine in the produce section. You can also use fresh!)
- 3 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Whole eggs, one per bowl of soup
- Udon noodles, cooked, drained, and rinsed (see Notes)
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
- Fresh scallions, chopped
- Fresh jalapeños, sliced
- Lime wedges
- Hot sauce
For the Broth:
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium.
- Add the onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and all the spices. Add a pinch of salt and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, or until everything is fragrant and the onion/ginger are mostly tender.
- Add in the broth, fish sauce, brown sugar, and soy sauce and stir to combine.
- Bring the broth to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes so all the flavors can meld. Season the broth, to taste, with additional salt and black pepper.
- Carefully pour the broth through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl or another pot. Discard the strained aromatics and spices.
- Return the broth to the stovetop and bring to a simmer.
For the Soup:
- For each serving, place cooked udon noodles (see Notes below) into serving bowls.
- Top with the hot broth (it MUST be hot for this part to work). For each serving, crack an egg into a measuring cup and beat it with a fork. Slowly pour the egg into each bowl of hot broth, stirring as you add it. This will cook and scramble the egg.
- Garnish each bowl of soup with fresh cilantro, scallions, sliced jalapeños, lime juice, and a dash of hot sauce (or however you prefer your soup!). Serve immediately.
- I buy frozen udon noodles and keep them on hand for dishes like this. I cook them separately from the broth, according to the package directions. I then drain them well and rinse under cold water. I keep them in an airtight container in the fridge and use them as needed. They’ll last in the fridge for a few days.
- I like to add the noodles to the bowls of broth as I’m going to serve, so they don’t get too gummy or dilute the broth with extra starch.
- This makes four servings of broth. I recommend using one egg per bowl of soup.
- I like to keep this dish vegetarian, so I usually use vegetable broth and skip adding any meat. I just don’t think you need it! You could certainly use chicken or beef broth here (which is more traditional with pho) and add meat as you like. Because of the noodles and eggs, though, this is very satisfying sans meat!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: soup
Keywords: pho recipe, homemade pho recipe, vegetarian pho, vegetarian pho recipe, egg drop noodle soup recipe, egg drop soup, udon noodle soup recipes, udon noodle recipes, Asian noodle recipes, vegetarian soups