Shrimp and Pork Dumpling Noodle Soup
I grew up with an incredible amount of noodle soup so they definitely fall on my list of comfort foods. Being asian – it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary if my family had noodle soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and mid-day snacks) on some days. One of the hardest parts for me of sticking to a paleo diet was giving up rice, noodles and every grain derivative in between. But my paleo food challenge was made easier after I discovered kelp noodles which are made of kelp (a sea vegetable), salt extracted from brown seaweed, and water. They taste a bit rubbery (like seaweed) if you eat them straight from the bag but if you soak them in a broth or sauce for 10-15+ minutes, they will soften nicely (while also absorbing all flavors) and has the same texture of cellophane – clear glass – noodles!
This recipe looks a bit daunting given the long list of ingredients. But I promise – the actual ‘cooking’ is a breeze and the taste is so savory it’s worth it! This is my favorite paleo recipe so far. Even my husband, who doesn’t love asian noodle soups, gave it a huge thumbs up and said it was so good he felt like he was cheating on paleo. I cannot wait to make this for my Vietnamese mother who continues to give me the stink eye when I tell her that the paleo diet doesn’t allow for rice or noodles. I’ll wait until after she finishes a third bowl of this soup to let her know that it’s a paleo-friendly meal.
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground shrimp
1/2 tablespoon ginger
4.5 pints of organic chicken broth (72 ounces)
1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried chopped onion
1 green onion (chopped)
2 teaspoons fish sauce (found in asian grocery markets. Some have sugar but several bottles are just comprised of fish, water and salt)
7 oz coconut water
1/3 cup cilantro (coarsely chopped)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 star anise (Fun Fact – star anise is one of the main ingredients in Tamiflu!)
2 bags of kelp noodles
3 cups of spinach
4 cups of napa cabbage
In a large pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add all of the broth ingredients EXCEPT the star anise, kelp noodles, spinach and cabbage. Stir lightly. After 5 minutes, drop in one star anise. This is my favorite secret ingredient for soup broth and reminds me so much of my childhood. For those of you who aren’t familiar, star anise (aka illicium verum) is a native plant of Asia. My momma always said that star anise helps aid digestion and promotes vitality and vigor in the human system. It also gives the most savory and complex flavor when added to soups (if you have ever had Vietnamese Pho Noodle soup – it is a star ingredient in that broth as well). Just remember to use sparingly – one star anise will go a long way. Once all of the other broth ingredients are together, wash your kelp noodles and add to the soup. Leave on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
For the dumplings, combine the ground pork and ground shrimp with one egg, minced ginger, salt and pepper. Hand mix thoroughly. Take a large spoon and simply scoop out a dumpling size ball and place in the broth. That’s it! Once you spoon all of the shrimp/pork dumplings and add it to the broth, cover the pot and lower heat to low/medium. The dumplings will cook fairly quickly but it’s nice to let all of the flavors blend together. Stir occasionally.
About 5-10 minutes before serving, add the spinach and napa cabbage since they cook instantly in the broth and you want the cabbage to have a little bit of crunch when you eat it. Feel free to add any vegetables you want – I just happened to have a ton of cabbage and spinach from my CSA’s weekly harvest. Serve and enjoy! This could be served immediately or you can freeze the broth and re-heat whenever you want.