asian onion soup

Asian Onion Soup

Onion soup sustains. The process of making it is somewhat like the process of learning to love. It requires commitment, extraordinary effort, time, and will make you cry. –Ronni Lundy

Most people I know would sell their soul for a good piece of chocolate. Today’s market offers consumers a mind boggling selection like never before. Me? Not so much. Instead, I keep a special place in my heart for…..caramelized onions. Sweet yet savory, soft and juicy- not to mention incredibly versatile….. I’d take them over a bar of 70% cocoa- free trade- grown in the Amazon basin- chocolate nirvana any day. Really.

Like so many this time of year, I’ve been battling one of those winter head colds that I just can’t seem to shake. As a result, I’ve been craving hot, spicy restorative soups- preferably homemade so that I can control what’s in them. A piping hot bowl of French Onion Soup could appeal, except that dairy (in the form of melted cheese) has been far from floating my boat these days. Which got me to thinking…..what about an Asian version using ginger, garlic, chili, cilantro and lime? Feeling too poopy to seek out chicken stock, the miso paste I found in my fridge proved the perfect substitute. Though this recipe is certainly a great cold remedy, it would also be a deliciously satisfying, warming soup for healthy folk.

Asian Onion Soup

1 ½ tbsp olive or canola oil
1 large onion- peeled, cut in ½ lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 head of garlic, each clove peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 large thumb of ginger, cut into 1/8” slices
2 tbsp dark miso paste
½ tsp chili garlic sauce
1 litre of water
4 kaffir lime leaves (dried is fine)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

wedge of lime
fresh, chopped cilantro

Place heavy soup pot over medium heat and allow pot to get hot (about 1 minute). Add oil and wait another minute. Next, add the onions- cooking and stirring constantly, until they are brown. Then add the garlic cloves, chili garlic sauce and miso paste. Stir constantly for about 1 minute, and then add the water, lime leaves, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Allow soup to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lime leaves. Taste the soup, adding more salt if needed. Ladle soup into 4 bowls and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with wedges of lime, to be squeezed into the soup right before eating. Serves 4.

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