Noodle Broth

Noodle Broth

Oriental cuisine is often renowned for being flavoursome, but a little complex. Of course, in many cases – dim sum, for instance – both claims are true. Despite this, an even greater number of dishes, which find their roots firmly planted in the soil of the East, defy the latter assumption with their simplicity and accessibility. Granted, traditional ingredients can often be tricky to come by and often require time-consuming trips to out of town Asian supermarkets, but even specialist ingredients aren’t necessary across the board. Besides, a dish needn’t be explicitly authentic for it to be considered to be from a certain region.

It is important to consider, when talking about authenticity in food, that very little cuisine remains truly authentic. For instance, as Madhur Jaffrey highlights in the latest episode of BBC 4’s Food Programme, chillies, which have become synonymous with Indian cuisine, originated in the Americas before spreading far and wide. It seems unlikely that anyone would consider this recipe for noodle broth particularly authentic. It is more akin to a Westerner’s take on the Orient, with ginger and soy sauce – ingredients we visualise as traditionally Chinese in origin – featuring heavily.

An interesting point this dish raises is how well fusion food can work – you wouldn’t think of thyme and bay as suitable for a noodle broth, but they work particularly well. Of course, authenticity has its place in the world of food – consumers love to think they are experiencing “the taste of India”, even though no one region on the Asia subcontinent has the same “taste” as another. However, what makes food so interesting and timeless is finding flavours that work together in spite of their heritage and turning them into something magical.

Noodle Broth

Serves 3-4


• 100g rice noodles

• 1 litre chicken stock

• A small bunch of thyme

• 2-3 bay leaves

• A knob of ginger, finely chopped

• 2 cloves of garlic, mashed

• A little dark soy sauce

• 1-2 small red chillies

• A few leaves of sweet basil

• 2 tbsp sesame oil


1. Fry the garlic and ginger off in a large pan using the sesame oil. Add the chicken stock, thyme and bay leaves, bring to a simmer and allow to infuse, with the lid on, for 15-20 minutes. Sieve the stock, removing all of the contents, return to the pan and pop in the uncooked noodles.

Noodle Broth

2. After simmering for 15 minutes the noodles should be cooked. Serve in bowls and top with finely slices chilli, a sprinkling of soy sauce and a few shreds of sweet basil.

Noodle Broth

Cost: The cost of this broth is kept low because it contains only chicken stock and no meat. Indeed, the entire pot, which will feed four for lunch, should set one back no more than around £1.80.

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94 comments on “Noodle Broth

  1. sochac
    April 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Beautiful pictures of it and it looks amazing (though with our current heatwave I’ll have to wait to try this). Your post reminds me of this older gentleman I used to work with who was from India. He would bring in this homemade spicy rice that was absolutely phenomenal but it had a whole huge list of all these different spices that his wife would get when they went over there (probably take quite some time to find all those spices here).

    • frugalfeeding
      April 11, 2013 at 11:09 am

      Thank you very much! That’s a fantastic anecdote 😀

  2. cookinginsens
    April 10, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Good noodle soup and a very pretty bowl.

  3. swedenole13
    April 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Where can I find the recipe for the wraps in your pictures above. The photography is exceptional by the way and I can almost smell it! Good job!

  4. Juls
    April 10, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    I must say, those spring rolls behind it are looking mighty fine.

    • Admin
      April 10, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      Just you wait 😀

  5. Dr Dan
    April 10, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Beautiful and light! Great idea!

  6. FarAway Peach Garden (世外桃源)
    April 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm


  7. thefoodandwinehedonist
    April 10, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Sounds great, very simple.

    Question for u – is “Oriental” the commonly used term in the UK? In US many frown upon it and prefer the term “Asian”. It was explained to me that “Orient” refers to the Middle East. Honestly, I’m Asian/Oriental and don’t care. Just fascinated in differences in terminology across countries.

    • Dottie
      April 10, 2013 at 8:33 pm

      In the UK, “Asian” refers to those of a more Indian/Pakistani sort of ethnic background. My understanding was that “oriental” typically is the term used for the more far eastern backgrounds like Chinese/Japanese/etc. it can be rather confusing for Americans as in the US we use different terms (I know I found these terms a bit frustrating at times when in the UK). Just remember that that American English and British English are much more different languages than most people realise.

      • frugalfeeding
        April 11, 2013 at 11:07 am

        I guess that’s true. “Oriental” simply means “The East” in my book, but I guess it’d evoke the Chinese, Japanese before Indian, Pakistani.

    • Yinzerella
      April 10, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      “Oriental is a rug, not a people!” I don’t remember who said that. I always think of the Ottoman Empire when I think “Oriental.” Also, I just really like the word “Oriental.”

    • frugalfeeding
      April 11, 2013 at 11:08 am

      it is a commonly used term, yes. I don’t see how it could be offensive – I guess things are different.

  8. hippydude
    April 10, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Love this post!

  9. Follow The Eaten Path
    April 10, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Nice post!
    My perfect dinner bowl… one I make quite often, simply because it’s easy, cheap and healthy… what more can one ask for? The only difference would be the noodles… I indulge a bit and use a rich egg noodle 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      April 15, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Haha – indeed. I like egg noodles too, I simply thought rice noodles more appropriate.

  10. Lysa@MonkeyAndSquish
    April 10, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Just made this soup and the flavors are delish! Much needed since I’m feeling under the weather. Simple and I had everything on hand. Thanks so much! I used a rice vermicelli noodle which didn’t do the broth justice. I ended up dumping most of my noodles because it was getting in the way of me sipping on the broth.

  11. andreamynard
    April 10, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Love the beautiful simplicity of your presentation in this post – it very much suits the delicious looking food. Great to see you’re including thyme too, I love to add ingredients from the garden to my oriental dishes.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 11, 2013 at 11:05 am

      Thank you very much! Thyme was just too perfect 😀

  12. Our Growing Paynes
    April 10, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    This would be perfect for my cold. 🙂 You mention Chili peppers over here and you automatically think Mexican food or Southwestern food.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 11, 2013 at 11:05 am

      We also see them as from there in some respects, but I think the first cuisine that would spring to mind is “Indian”.

  13. daisy |
    April 10, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Frugal, I love this post. Simple recipes that pack so much flavor are my favorite. Looking forward to your spring rolls.


    • frugalfeeding
      April 11, 2013 at 11:04 am

      Thank you, Daisy – I can’t wait to post them.

  14. Brooke
    April 11, 2013 at 12:30 am

    Yum! Yum! Yum! I am going through a souped up phase right now and I LOVE the look of this! Thank you for another affordable, delicious recipe 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      April 11, 2013 at 11:04 am

      Thank you, Brooke – no problem! Many more to come.

  15. rkutchjm
    April 11, 2013 at 2:33 am

    Wonderful. I can smell the deliciousness.

  16. Anne Bonney
    April 11, 2013 at 3:04 am

    sounds good – and easy, too!

  17. Pam aka MzZoomer
    April 11, 2013 at 5:14 am

    I could eat noodles morning day and night…especially any noodle dishes from any Asian or South Asian country. Yummy…so now you have me drooling! Thankfully I live in an area where I have lots of options when I am unable to travel. Thanks.

  18. Carolyn Chan
    April 11, 2013 at 6:09 am

    Easy and delicious ! Luckily for me I live in Singapore so all the ingredients are very accessible 🙂 I also have the option of being able to buy but why would I when you can whip up a comforting bowl of noodle soup at home so quickly and cheaply ?

    • frugalfeeding
      April 11, 2013 at 11:03 am

      That is lucky 😀 – Perhaps I’ll take a visit over that way eventually 🙂

  19. barangapa
    April 11, 2013 at 8:14 am

    As authentic as it gets and very doable!

  20. veghotpot
    April 11, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Very true I would never picture adding thyme and bay to an asian styled broth but now the idea is infront of me I can taste it and am excited by the idea! Beautiful photography as usual, makes me want to reach in and dip a spoon in! 🙂

  21. rosebudpud
    April 11, 2013 at 11:58 am

    This looks amazing. Will be trying soon…!

  22. forcingthebloom
    April 11, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Yum. Sounds good. I have a weakness for Chinese food (fast food) and would rather make something healthier at home. My goal this year has been to make more things homemade (and cheap if possible)! This is perfect! Thanks!

  23. Miss P
    April 11, 2013 at 6:19 pm


  24. thinkreadcook
    April 11, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Definitely going to make this. Thyme, bay leaves and basil… it’s sure to taste unique!

  25. myfangalicious
    April 12, 2013 at 8:12 am

    looks amazing! love it

  26. spree
    April 12, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    A very tantalizing bowlful of healthy! Really pretty photos too Nick!

  27. Purely.. Kay
    April 12, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    I LOVE rice noodles. They are my absolute fav! And this soup looks like the perfect addition to my recipe list 🙂

  28. Mama's Gotta Bake
    April 12, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Lovely dish and gorgeous photos!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 15, 2013 at 9:44 am

      Thank you so much – It was so simple and easy to present.

  29. Maya Oryan
    April 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Me like:)

  30. ohlidia
    April 12, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Looks beautiful! I recently made a similar soup for my girls, hoping to chase away the sniffles and sore throats.

  31. girlinafoodfrenzy
    April 13, 2013 at 3:31 am

    A delicious and flavourful dish. Asian broths are the love child of many a culture and vermecilli are a household staple for me. I love the use of the rice paper wraps too and how versatile the ingredients are in the rolls. Looks wonderful and yes frugality at it’s best.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 15, 2013 at 9:43 am

      Indeed it was! Fantastic – I love noodles, though we used to eat them more often.

  32. Michelle
    April 13, 2013 at 4:09 am

    Excellent points about “authenticity.” And that’s a great looking soup.

  33. misobonnie
    April 13, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Beautiful photos!

  34. croquecamille
    April 13, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    There are few thing more comforting than a big bowl of noodles in broth. Looks delicious!

  35. Sho'Nuff
    April 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Goodness… I make a similar soup but add chopped kale or spinach to the broth instead of rice noodles. There are other wonderful noodles from Asia that would work too, now that you’ve got my imagination going. I see a new future for the stock I make from my backyard chickens… Thanks for reminding us about frugality and simplicity in the kitchen.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 15, 2013 at 9:47 am

      great idea! that’s all right. I’ll be doing something with udon soon.

      • Sho'Nuff
        April 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm

        I lived in Japan for 4 years. You say udon and something slightly embarrassing happens inside my mouth. Looking forward to more of your blog!

        • frugalfeeding
          April 16, 2013 at 11:04 am

          Haha – I’ll be sure to get some udon on here soon!

  36. ripe red berries
    April 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Looks so lovely! Will have to try. (:

  37. ripe red berries
    April 13, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    I like the new look of your blog. well done!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 15, 2013 at 9:39 am

      Thank you so much – there’s a little more to do, but I’m, pleased too.

  38. Somer
    April 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    I’m loving the look of the noodle broth, but what I really want is those spring rolls! 😉

    • frugalfeeding
      April 16, 2013 at 11:04 am

      Hehe, thanks – you’ve seen them now 😀

  39. angelcsl
    April 18, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Hi Thanks for stopping by my Blog, the dishes looks delish, are these your own recipes? nice

  40. mightyknittingchick
    April 18, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    That looks yummy!

  41. Kim Bultman
    April 19, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Grinning from ear to ear… your post brings to mind the “international coffee creamers” marketed in the U.S. (of which nobody in those countries has ever heard) — or German chocolate cake (which natives of Germany simply refer to as “chocolate cake.”) Authenticity has taken artistic liberty in recent years. However, my taste buds aren’t complaining… 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      April 27, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      I’m glad you appreciated my witterings 😀 – neither are mine!

  42. Roseaki
    April 21, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks for liking my blog post. Your site has lovely photos and entertaining writing, i’m craving noodle soup now… well the next dinner XD I love frugal, hearty and delicious meals 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      May 6, 2013 at 10:29 am

      Thank you very much! I hope you continue to visit.

  43. Musing Mar
    April 21, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    A smart dish for one’s repertoire – simple, tasty, easy. Thanks for the inspiration!

  44. ripe red berries
    April 30, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    The photo was so enticing I had to try them both – the noodle broth and the spring rolls…then, loved them so much I wrote about it! Delicious indeed…

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