On Monday, my husband had dental surgery and for his post-operation, recovery dinner, I made a comforting (read: easy to chew) tofu, shrimp, and peas stir-fry. The Trader Joe-san medium tofu came in a 1 1/4-pound (565 g) block and I only needed about a pound. I had a little block left.
What can you do with a chunk of leftover tofu? You can save it in the fridge, or in my case last Monday, I added it to a simple Vietnamese soup with mustard greens and a bit of chicken thigh sitting in the fridge.
Asian mustard greens come in many varieties. At an East Asian or Southeast Asian market, you see “big gai choi” or “little gai choi.” Vietnamese markets also have a super mild mustard that can be eaten raw in lettuce wraps. I enjoy it all and during the cooler months, like broccoli, these vegetables are extra tasty and sweet.
When buying the greens, look at the bottoms to make sure they’re freshly cut. Use the greens within several days of purchase because they can wilt easily, which is why they’re a favorite for salting and pickling! This canh quick soup requires no chicken stock or broth, just water. It’s great for a simple dinner. Add glass noodles the next day to leftovers for an easy lunch.
If you don’t have tofu, use a couple extra ounces of chicken. Got no chicken? Use pork. You need a little protein for umami goodness.
Mustard Greens, Tofu, and Chicken Soup
Serves 4 to 6 with 2 or 3 other dishes
- 1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 ounces boneless chicken thigh, cut into thumbnail-size pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 5 cups water
- 4 or 5 ounces medium-firm or firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) cubes
- 3 firmly packed cups (.75 L) bite-size pieces of mustard greens
- White pepper
- In a 3 to 4-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until fragrant and soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken, salt, and fish sauce. Cook for a minute to let the flavors penetrate. Add the water and bring to a boil. Skim and discard any scum that floats to the top.
- Add the tofu and bring to a simmer; if you’re not serving right away, turn off the heat and cover, returning the pot to a simmer before moving on. Add the mustard greens. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mustard greens have softened and turned jade green;
- Taste and adjust the flavors with additional salt, if necessary. Ladle into a serving bowl and garnish with the white pepper. Serve immediately.