Gratitude: 5 Minute Wonder Soup

Gratitude is a very loaded word for me!  The older I get, the more I realize I’ve inherited many traits from my parents.  Good and bad. The good?  Learning to cook from my parents, they had two totally different styles!  The bad, well, we won’t get into it.  My dad is all about using top notch, expensive ingredients.  My mom focuses on homestyle cooking (my kinda cooking).  What they share is not using recipes and it’s such a liberating technique! It’s made me enjoy the challenge of using what I have.  It’s made me tap into my intuition and creative side so I don’t rely on following recipes.  I am truly grateful to my parents for introducing me to this liberating journey to cooking. It’s made me want to tell the world (and I have been), this is how you want to cook if you were stuck on a desert island or not!

After a recent sister reunion, I decided I’d make more of an effort to be grateful for what I have and not take things for granted, be ready to let go when the time is right and be open to new things.  And the most important?  Be grateful everyday because I’ve only got one life, so I need to make everyday COUNT and be the best that I can!  In fact, ‘Gratitude’ is the theme of this month’s #LetsLunch challenge, please check below for more posts from other Lets Lunchers, and  check back for more or get the feed! 

So, with that said, who’s ready for 5 Minute Wonder Soup? I came up with this name because it really takes about 5 minutes from beginning to end.  A dish I learned from my mom.  She came up with this dish because after a hard day of teaching at a boy’s school, she needed to whip something up quickly for a family of 7! It is so easy, fast and tasty, you’ll want to try it immediately.

5 Minute Wonder Soup


You can substitute other types of meat like pork, beef, lamb, chicken, endless. Use a cut that’s NOT tough and chewy. Slice into thinner bite size pieces so they cook faster. This is the same cutting technique you would use for stir frying.  Good seafood substitutions are baby scallops, fish (salmon, grouper, yellowtail, tilapia), mussels, clams. It’s entirely up to you with vegetables but I want to say Less is More applies here. Otherwise it becomes a 10 minute, not 5 minute wonder soup which is the goal of this dish!  Anything in the cabbage family works, kale (curly or not), napa cabbage, bok choy (white stem or Shanghainese).

Tips for cookware & utensils:

Using a wok of course makes this so much easier because of its wide surface area and depth to work with. Mine is a thin walled, lightweight, round bottom cast iron wok which I use on a portable butane gas stove set on top of my electric stove (click on link to find out why I have this setup!)   But if you don’t have a wok, use the widest pan you have, stainless steel is good.


We don’t eat starch like rice or noodles but if you want to, have some red rice or soba noodles, or glass noodles. Make this ahead so they’re ready.

3/4 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 packet tofu puffs, halved into diagonals 
couple of bok choy heads, separate stems and wash well
1 knob of ginger, washed in cold water, dried & shredded
2 cloves of garlic, smashed & diced
1 carton chicken broth (use beef if you’re using beef or lamb)
squirt of tamari
dash of sherry
dash of white pepper
pinch of sea salt 
1 scallion, sliced diagonally really thin or chopped in thin rounds
Few sprigs of cilantro, chopped for garnish (optional or sub with parsley)

3 easy steps for 5 minute wonder soup! 

  1. Fry veggies & tofu first w/half of garlic & ginger, remove from wok to plate. Then fry shrimp with rest of garlic & ginger (just till they turn pink so you don’t overcook them), add to dish of veggies.
  2. Add carton of stock into wok and let it come to a boil, add squirt of tamari, dash of sherry, dash of white pepper and pinch of sea salt. Adjust to your taste.
  3.  Add veggies and shrimp into soup, you’re done!  Serve in big bowls, garnish with scallions and cilantro and ENJOY!

Here are more Let’s Lunch posts, do check back for more…

Gratitude “Plumb” Cake from Lisa at Monday Morning Cooking Club
Gratitude Fried Rice from Linda at spicebox travels
Seafood Chowder from Lucy at A Cook and Her Books
Cracked Black Pepper and Blue Cheese Crackers (gluten free) from Charissaat Zest Bakery
A Thanksgiving tablecloth tradition from Lucy at In a Southern Kitchen
Gratitude Soup from Rashda at Hot Curries and Cold Beer
Pumpkin Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar (gluten free) from Linda at Free Range Cookies
Pumpkin Roll with Pecans from Annabelle at a Glass of Fancy
5-Minute Wonder Soup from Eleanor at Wok Star
Green Tomato Salad from Renee at My Kitchen and I
Asian-Style Pickled Oyster Mushrooms from Joe at Joe Yonan
Pain au levain from Rebecca at GrongarBlog

If you want to join #LetsLunch, just tweet with this hashtag and someone will answer you!  I’ll be sporadically posting on Let’s Lunch due to overload, stay tuned.


10 Responses to Gratitude: 5 Minute Wonder Soup
  1. Joan Nova
    August 16, 2013 | 8:38 am

    Lovely sentiment Eleanor — and delicious looking soup.

    I laughed out loud to your “Less is More” comment and it brought to mind that a delicious soup like this can be achieved if you also apply the “KISS” rule (keep it simple stupid). Here, like your dad, you used quality ingredients and your mom’s homey style and, of course, your instincts and well-tested cooking technique!

    • Eleanor Hoh
      August 19, 2013 | 10:48 pm

      Thanks Joan, we cook so much alike, glad we agree on “KISS”! I love that.

  2. Joe Yonan
    November 14, 2012 | 11:14 am

    What a lovely soup. Thanks for the description and those great photos. I love the spirit!

    • Eleanor Hoh
      November 15, 2012 | 4:16 pm

      Thx Joe, it’s a soup I make often cause it’s so fast and tasty plus reminds me of my mom! I can’t wait to see your pickled mushroom post. I LOVE mushrooms.

  3. charissa (zest bakery)
    November 12, 2012 | 10:58 am

    Yum! I love that you used tamari which is gluten-free. A soup we can eat! Looks lovely.

    • Eleanor Hoh
      November 15, 2012 | 4:15 pm

      Thx Charissa, yes, I love that San-J tamari is gluten free. I really didn’t know gluten is in so many products.

  4. Lucy
    November 10, 2012 | 7:38 am

    Beautiful! I love your easy, elegant style, Eleanor!

    • Eleanor Hoh
      November 11, 2012 | 10:45 pm

      Thx for always being so appreciative and encouraging, thanks Lucy.

  5. linda @spiceboxtravels
    November 10, 2012 | 1:40 am

    Gorgeous soup! I do love how a lot of Chinese recipes come together so quickly and so deliciously.

    • Eleanor Hoh
      November 11, 2012 | 10:50 pm

      Linda, when people taste this soup, they can’t believe it’s so good with so few ingredients.

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