Dreams of Asia Noodle Soup

Asian noodle soupI just spent two wonderful weeks travelling in Myanmar with my husband. We hadn’t been to South East Asia in six years and so much has happened during these past years that in many ways, we felt we were discovering this region for the first time.

Newly opened to tourism, Myanmar is still largely unspoiled and this is particularly evident in the people we talked to who were all very curious and genuinely warm – I have included some photos at the end of this post.

Food-wise, we very much enjoyed eating lots and lots of vegetables, mostly in curries, stir-fries and noodle soups. Because Myanmar has historically had a lot of contact with India (being neighbours and all!), chickpeas are part of the diet and are particularly used roasted to add crunch, texture and protein. I recently discovered chickpea croutons (recipe below) and thought this could be a great way of adding non-animal protein to the soup without using tofu which I try to limit as it can have a hormonal effect on the body.

So here is my first attempt at re-creating a taste of my holiday: A noodle soup that is vegan, soy-free and gluten-free, made with black rice noodles. The taste comes from the combination of ginger, garlic, lemongrass and onion/scallion. The garnish at the end of lime, coriander and chili flakes also add a taste I find reminds me of this beautiful region.

The recipe is very versatile, so feel free to leave out the lemongrass or one of the garnishes and to use different vegetables. You can also just use water instead of coconut milk for a lighter soup.

Ingredients + Method – makes about 6 servings

2 stalks of lemongrass, peeled and finely chopped. This video explains how.

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 onion or scallion, finely chopped

about 15 grams fresh ginger, finely chopped

Prepare the above ingredients and stir fry in a large wok or sauce pan on medium to high eat in about 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil for a few minutes.

asian soup

To your wok, add the below vegetables, then add a little water – just enough to cover the bottom of the wok – and cover. This is an easy way to cook the vegetables by steaming them, which allows you to preserve the nutrients.  Feel free to use other vegetables if you prefer!

1 head broccoli (save the stem for a juice or smoothie) – in small bits

2 large carrots – chopped

1-2 large handfuls of kale or spinach (if using kale, remember to massage it!)


While your vegetables are cooking, cook your noodles. I used a pack of black rice noodles, but you can use any noodles you want. Once they are ready, drain and set aside. In the same pot, heat a can of coconut milk on medium-low heat. Add water if you would like your noodle soup to be more watery.


Once the vegetables are cooked and the coconut milk is warm, add the vegetables to the coconut milk and add salt, chili flakes and juice of 1-2 limes to taste.

Garnish bowls with scallions (green onions), coriander leaves and roasted chickpeas without any spice added (recipe below) for some added protein.

Chickpea croutons

Here a few photos of this beautiful country and its amazing people:

Myanmar Collage

This old woman was such an inspiration! We crossed paths while on a trek with the guide in the photo below – she was alone with her water buffalos, carrying her bottle of green tea. She proudly told us she was 65 and that she had so much energy because she ate rice three times a day…Not sure this is something I would recommend, but it clearly seems to work for her!

old woman

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  • Nesrin on Apr 27, 2015 Reply

    I made the soup tonight! I didn’t have lemongrass unfortunately. Neveretheless it was absolutely delicious and so soothing. Perfect to wind down with while snug inodoors listening to the rain pour outside on a Spring evening….reminiscent of monsoon!

    • Hiba on Apr 27, 2015 Reply

      Yes, you are right, it is perfect for this weather! Glad you liked it!

  • Nesrin on Mar 20, 2015 Reply

    Yummy – I’ve just started trying to make noodle soups, thank you so much for this inspiration, I had not thought of using coconut milk and all the different ingredients you have suggested. Great idea – thank you for brining me healthy taste of Asia to try.

    • Hiba on Mar 20, 2015 Reply

      Thanks for your comment Nesrin – let me know what you think if you give it a try :)

  • Irina on Mar 20, 2015 Reply

    Thank you Hiba for a wonderful recipe! I will certainly try it at home! Looks wonderful! And great pictures from your travel!

    • Hiba on Mar 20, 2015 Reply

      Thanks Irina – your photo comment means a lot coming from you! My husband actually took most of the pictures. Enjoy the soup, let me know what you think :)

  • Berenice on Mar 16, 2015 Reply

    Try and tested recipe and love it!
    Thanks for such lovely recipes and … what a trip! xx

    • Hiba on Mar 16, 2015 Reply

      Thanks for your comment – so glad you liked it!

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