I admit to total and absolute ignorance about asian cuisine. I used to watch Joyce Chen back in the day, and I have her cookbook and make some stir fry dishes from there, I used to love her restaurant, where i discovered unusual dishes like mu shi pork, which i even made a couple of times (took forever). That's about it. I'm not crazy about Chinese restaurants here, I don't like sushi (even without the fish) though there are a couple of Japanese restaurants in Rome that seem ok (i have no idea if they're authentically Japanese and more than Olive garden is italian but they seem ok to me).
I've eaten in this chain that's called Wagamama in London, and really loved the soup I got. I got their cookbook, and have made some sort of soup putting together various of their recipes, but again, this may be real crap to someone who actually knows the cuisine. So any scorn i may feel for someone thinking pizza hut is real pizza can be dumped on me for my lack of knowledge of asian cuisines.
Anyway, I make this soup (soupy noodle dish) that takes forever and would like to be able to make something vaguely similar but without spending an hour in the kitchen dirtying the entire counter and about ten pots and bowls. It's so immensely satisfying i;d like to make something similar more often.
Here's what i do. Can anyone tell me how i can cut this down to a normal worknight dinner, and also maybe improve it.
I sometimes use canned broth (which finally arrived here this year - yay) and added piece of ginger, celery, carrot, onion, sweet potato, and simmered while i do the rest.
In wok, i stir fry julienned carrot, celery and white part of spring onions, with salt and sugar to caramelize them quickly.
I remove and put in bowl.
I stir-fry some bean sprouts with crushed garlic, sugar and salt.Put aside in another bowl.
I stir-fry bok choi cut up in small pieces
I stir-fry mushrooms (this time i used pleurus)
i grill a piece of pork (or chicken) (Sometimes i sautee shrimps) that's been sitting in dry vermouth and soy sauce, then cut into strips.
I soak some wakame seaweed
slice greens of spring onion
cook some soba noodles
Then i put the ingredients in separate sections of the soup bowl that they;ll be eaten in, each person's dish made up separately, but I put the scallions and seaweed all over it. Then i add miso to the broth and pour into the bowls.
We like it alot, but i wonder if there is something i can do to make it easier - especially because for bok choi or bean sprouts, i need to make a trip to the chinese store which is not a quick walk, and would like to substitute regular, easily available italian vegetables to make a similarly good dish.
What would you use to make it use fewer ingredients and ones more easily available but still tasty.
Could i just add miso to water and would it still be tasty? (I don't always have the broth, not every store carries it).
Could i use some other dried ingredients (like the seaweed) (they have a lot in this Pacific Trading store where i get the fresh stuff- they seem to supply all the chinese restaurants in rome). I found, for example, lily flower, that i remember from my experience with moo shi pork. There were tons of other mysterious dried things there.
Any other tips?