When I’m working and not on maternity leave as I am now, I find myself in the land that lunch forgot. Well, not so much as forgot as bent over a table and beaten until broken. Its expensive. Its rarely tasty. Its never satisfying.
What is worse, the ‘kitchenette’ in the corporate monolith that houses my 9-5 self boasts such luxuries as a kettle and a microwave, and nothing of higher mass or capability. How can one surmount this silliness to attain the joy we so long for? Better yet, how can we do this and work to satiate my never-ending craving for asian noodle soup?
A quick jaunt around the local asian market and a few queues cribbed from my last order of vietnamese takeout held the answer.
The easiest place to start is by identifying the key ingredients to every delicious noodle soup. From there you just mix and match to create your soup. Possible components in each category are:
- Noodles (duh) (Rice stick, oolong, ramen, shiratake, etc)
These are precooked to almost-doneness a night or two before. I usually do 2 or 3 different ‘batches’ for a stash for the week.
- Delicious broth (Pho, Thom Yum, Laksa, Miso, etc)
You can be super-human and make your own, or super smart and get the jars of ‘insta-soup paste’ for a variety of soup types at your local asian grocery story.
Leftover chicken or beef, tofu cubes, whatever tickles your fancy in this category. Or, none at all, if you swing that way.
Again, this is a preference thank. Some of my favorite include julienned or shredded carrot, cabbage, etc. Also worth considering is dried mushrooms (can reconstitute on your desk while you’re at that all-important kickoff meeting), and what noodle soup is complete without simple yet madly healthy mung bean sprouts?
A few sprigs of cilantro, maybe a few leaves of Thai Basil and you’re laughing.
Combine a soup’s worth of everything (sans broth if you’re making your own, which I never do) for easy grabbing-and-going in single-soup ziptop baggy for each ‘day’. Toss one in your briefcase/backpack/vintage metal lunch box in the morning with one of those cold packs and you’re laughing.
The broth bit I usually keep in the communal fridge at work, as I’m an advocate of the insta-broth paste previously discussed. A couple tablespoons of that in a bowl, and some boiling water courtesy of the kettle and you’ve got broth. (Carefully) drop the content of your ziptop bag in there and let it steep for a few minutes and you’re ready for lunch.
Feel free to pass your coworkers with a smile of victory as they dip into their PB&J sammies for the 3rd day in a row. Not only will you be the envy of the office, but you’ll also have a nourishing lunch that cost you next to nothing. Yay.