Deep and Smokey Mexican-Asian noodle soup

9 Feb

Keep the song

Deep and Smokey Mexican-Asian noodle soup


My parents fretted that I was a bit of a hermit as kid.  It was somewhat the opposite as a teen but as a child I would hear my dad express his qualms about whether he was dipping me into social activities enough. Often when he asked if I wanted to join him on one of his frequent but small shops, I would say no.  My brother would always go.  The reason I stayed behind was so that I could sing freely, loudly, expressively and privately. I would day dream lots. I laid out piles of books around the room and became utterly lost in them, gleaning and storing snippets of them in a pensive haze. I remember how captivated I was by them both; books and music. So much so that when anyone hollered for me I wouldn’t hear them.

I took singing lessons as a teen. I sang on the way to lessons at college and even to exams. In fact I even had, ‘exam songs’. I sang in the park with my friends, whilst cooking and always in the bath. People tell us all the time that we should learn from our elders. I have to tell you quite honestly and humbly that I am right now in my life, learning from my younger self.

For I had a focus that I am only proud of now and wish that I still had. I knew that with every song and with my own decidedness I got myself in the zone. I knew that singing made my heart flutter and gave me a rush of energy. So why then had I let the song out of my life in recent years?

The radio in the car played the same nursery rhymes. The kitchen was quiet. The TV played as background noise and social media was the go-to.

I went on a girl’s night on Friday. I met the girls on my NCT group and the three of us have seen each other through big, emotionally-overhauling life changes.  We have spoken to each about stuff we wouldn’t normally say, candidly, angrily, ecstatically and most of all we have been exhausted together. We talked about our most recent changes in life. One of us is having a new baby; another is going through a separation. Then there is me.

I drove home at nearly midnight, eyes sore from fatigue. As I turned into the driveway I heard a song that threw me back to my teenage years. I closed my eyes and I was with my books and the windows were open, net curtains billowing…I was crouched on the floor, face cupped in hand, and hair everywhere. The romantic potential unlocked and singing, smiling, lost and with swelling with a beat.

knew that the moment I walked in through the door I would become a mother, so when the song had stopped playing I found it on youtube and played it again, thrice.

To fit the deep and smoky mood, I made this Mexican-Asian noodle soup.  I was sent some wonderful Mexican ingredients by CoolChille Company and I knew that I had to do it. The black beans are deep and earthy and brought to a further earthiness with soy bean paste. Guajillo chillies are wonderfully rich in colour and smoky. I toasted, soaked and then blitzed them to a paste and this has really released immense richness. Avocado brings silky and creamy quality and it works superbly with the soup. I have up epazote which is a citrus-medicinal type Mexican herb and works fabulously with black beans.  This one works as a bowl of surprise and sumptuous taste.

Deep and Smokey Mexican-Asian noodle soup


Ingredients to serve 2-3

200g cooked black beans

6 baby onions, quartered

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

700ml water

2 tsp.

1 tsp. soy bean paste

2 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

Half an avocado, sliced

6-7 baby corn, thinly sliced

1 tsp. cumin seeds

2 large guajillo chillies

2 tsp. epazote

2 tbsp. cooking oil

A few sprigs of coriander to garnish

A couple of slices of lime to garnish


  1. Start by toasting the Guajillo chillies on a non-stick pan to release the flavour. You will notice that the chilli will soften and will release a wonderful heat. Toast for about a minute on each side and then let them cool to room temperaturechillies 1
  2. Soak the Guajillo chillies in hot water for about 15 minutes, before grinding them to a paste.
  3. In a deep pan, heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. When the seeds sizzle add the baby onions and fry them until they brown lightly. Then add the garlic and baby corn and sauté for another minute
  4. Pour in the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and the epazote and cook for another minute.
  5. Pour in the water and add the soy bean paste. Bring the soup to a simmer.
  6. Introduce the black beans and the guajillo chillies then add the noodles.
  7. Allow the soup to simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the noodles are cooked.
  8. Serve the soup and top with the slices of avocado, coriander and lime. The lime infuses beautifully with the soup.

18 Responses to “Deep and Smokey Mexican-Asian noodle soup”

  1. Katie @ Whole Nourishment February 9, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    I can just taste the smokiness from the dried chilies, yum! I love the depth they lend to broths and soups. I use ancho chilies the most so should branch out to using guajillo more!

    • Deena Kakaya February 9, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

      Aren’t they both great Katie? Such a warming lift on a cool day x

  2. Selma's Table February 9, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

    I loved reading about your younger days Deena! Music is a funny thing – a couple of notes and you are transplanted back through memory lane…I hope that the singer within you has now awakened from her slumber and will be making herself heard!! xx

    • Deena Kakaya February 9, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

      Hello Selma! It’s lovely to hear from you, it’s been a while, I hope you are well.

      You know, I’m going to make more of a conscious effort to play music and just go with it. I will be making myself heard xx

      • Selma's Table February 9, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

        I’ve moved at long last and been a bit under the weather so unpacking is still a bit of a monster…New place is lovely but there is so much to do…feeling much better now – onwards and upwards!! xx

        • Deena Kakaya February 9, 2014 at 7:30 pm #

          Oh congratulations Selma, I’m so pleased for you. I wish you lots of peace and joy in your new home and I look forward to continued chat with you xx

  3. kellie@foodtoglow February 10, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    I knew from your Instagram photos that I would love this. Thanks for the recipe in its entirety. We are loving noodle soups right now and will have to give a version of this a go. Are you using the epazote from the Cool Chile prize box??

    • Deena Kakaya February 10, 2014 at 11:27 am #

      Hi Kellie, how are you? I love it too, it’s a real bowl of kick, depth and surprise. I hope you’ll enjoy this one, I think I may add some cauliflower next time. Yes I used the chillies, beans and epazote from the cool chilli prize box, it’s fabulous stuff, all of it.,,don’t you think xxx

  4. Anita Menon February 10, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    I am so enjoying reading your posts. You took me with your words to your world back in time. Mesmerizing.

    lovely bowl of soup… warm and comforting like your words

    • Deena Kakaya February 10, 2014 at 11:36 am #

      Thank you so much Anita, it’s so lovely to read messages like yours..always makes me smile. Thank you, xxx

  5. Nazima February 10, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

    this looks gorgeous. Layers of flavour and texture are the kind of soup I love and the smokey spices make it extra special!

    • Deena Kakaya February 10, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

      Thanks Nazima, that’s exactly it…it’s a bit of a surprise to have Mexican flavours in a noodle soup but it works surprisingly well x

  6. Sylvia February 11, 2014 at 3:16 am #

    Love this recipe!! Just looking at the pictures I can imagine the intense and flavorful taste it must have! I love soups, especially in the evenings – so comforting! Must give one of your soup recipes are try once! Thanks for sharing!

    • Deena Kakaya February 11, 2014 at 8:25 am #

      Lovely to see a comment from you Sylvia and it’s wonderful to to learn that you like this recipe! Yes it is punchy, smokey, deep, silky, kind and actually surprising to taste Mexican flavours in a noodle soup but, it works xx

  7. Joanne February 12, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

    I love the fusion flavors in this! Anything deep and smoky sounds good to me.

    • Deena Kakaya February 12, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

      Thanks Joanne, I don’t often combine Mexican and Asian flavours but will do more from now on, tis good xx

  8. Flora February 24, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    Looks delicious!

    • Deena Kakaya February 24, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

      Thank you Flora, it was a flavour packed bowl of surprise z

Let me know what you think about this recipe

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