When I think of seaweed, I primarily think of two countries, which couldn’t be more different – Japan and Wales! The Japanese use lots of nori seaweed in their sushi, and Wales is known for laver, used in its famous laverbread. This beery shiitake mushroom noodle soup brings the two cuisines together – it’s a Japanese-inspired soup, made with Welsh ingredients!
I was recently introduced to Discover Delicious, a website that celebrates (and sells!) the best Welsh produce – from fresh ingredients like milk and cheese, to prepared products that can go straight into your lunchbox (onion bhaji Scotch eggs, anyone?!). There’s a lot of variety on the site, but it’s all produced in Wales, often by independent or family-run businesses. Since I’m half Welsh myself, I was excited to give some of it a try!
When I saw that the site sells both Welsh seaweed and Welsh-grown shiitake mushrooms, I knew I wanted to make something Japanese-inspired. Along with some Welsh beer, chilli and garlic salt, and some spicy hot sauce, I had the makings of a great noodle soup!
The shiitake mushrooms come dried, so you need to rehydrate them before they can be used. I usually just use veggie stock, but this time I thought I’d use a dark Welsh beer to inject an extra bit of flavour into my noodle soup. Beer is always the right choice! You drain away the beer before using the mushrooms, but they still take on that lovely dark flavour.
The rest of the soup is really simple – a few greens and those all-important noodles, along with some aromatics like ginger, garlic, and miso. Then, the toppings! Since the soup itself is nice and straightforward, you can go crazy with toppings to customise it to your tastes. I added chilli salt, hot sauce, spring onions, and that gorgeous Welsh seaweed. Lots of flavour, and every bite is a little bit different!
I love this kind of brothy noodle soup – it’s not as heavy as a rich, creamy soup, but the noodles give it enough substance that you still feel like you’ve had a good meal. It’s super healthy too!
Have you ever used Welsh ingredients in your cooking? Check out Discover Delicious to see what they have to offer!
A simple brothy noodle soup with lots of flavour, including seaweed flakes and shiitake mushrooms soaked in dark beer!
- 20 g (~ 1 cup) dried shiitake mushrooms (halve any particularly large pieces)
- 100 ml (generous 1/3 cup) dark beer
- 150 ml (~ 1/2 cup) boiling water
- 1/2 tbsp oil
- 50 g (~ 1 cup) finely sliced greens (I used a mixture of leek and cabbage)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp minced ginger or ginger puree
- 750 ml (~ 3 cups) good quality vegetable stock - low sodium is best, as the miso is also salty
- 1/2 tsp white miso paste
- 100 g (~ 3.5 oz) dried noodles (egg noodles, rice noodles, etc.)
- 1 spring onion, sliced
- Pinch chilli and garlic salt
- 1 tsp hot chilli sauce
- 1 tsp dried seaweed flakes
Add the dried shiitake mushrooms to a bowl, and add the beer and boiling water, ensuring the mushroom are just covered in liquid. Cover tightly with cling film, and leave to soak for around 20 minutes, or until completely soft. Drain, and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a dash of oil in a saucepan or deep frying pan. Add the sliced greens, and cook over a medium heat for a few minutes until slightly softened. Add the garlic, ginger, vegetable stock, miso and dried noodles, along with the soaked shiitake mushrooms. Bring to a simmer, and cook for a few minutes until the noodles are fully cooked.
Serve the soup topped with some sliced spring onion, a pinch of chilli and garlic salt, a dash of hot sauce, and some dried seaweed flakes.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/2 the recipe.