Men’s Health Instant Muscle Broth (+ vegan!)

This veg & tofu broth was inspired by both the Ivy’s oriental soup and by (surprisingly) an article in “Men’s Health”.

The article was called ‘instant muscle broth’, and described itself as a ‘single-serving Thai wonder’ which will ‘give your body everything it needs to recover from a lunch-time workout’.

My mum bought the Men’s Health nutrition manual for my brother, who’s into his health. He showed me this article and asked me to make it… So off I went.

I actually just looked at the photo, which had red peppers, pak choi, marinated tofu, rice noodles, spring onion, coriander, curry paste and veg stock. It was surrounded by nutritional info (or the ‘why’ of the ingredient), so I assumed there was no recipe.

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After making the whole dish for 8 people, completely improvising on everything like it was an episode of Ready Steady Cook, I have just reread the article and it gives EXACT quantities of each ingredient…whoopsie!

So I’m going to claim this as my own recipe because, apart from the ingredients being influenced by the article, I pretty much did the whole lot myself so I’ve decided I’m due a little credit πŸ˜€

I marinated the tofu in a mix of teriyaki and soy sauce, leaving that absorbing all the flavour, and prepped everything in about ten minutes so it was all ready in the pans to go whenever I wanted. It was about 5pm so I decided to leave it to one side on the hob, and made shortbread whilst I waited for it to be an acceptable time to eat :).

You can see the shortbread recipe here

I served with some veggie spring rolls! Mmmmmmm…

So here’s the complete recipe (+ a few health tips) for this gorgeous Thai broth!

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Ingredients (to serve four):

Two heads of Pak Choi
2 red peppers, sliced
2 litres of veg stock
3 tbsp curry paste
Half a bag of spinach (about 4 handfuls)
Rice noodles
3 whole spring onions (including the green bits)
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1 block of marinated tofu (to marinate your own, press the tofu try, then dice and put in a large shallow bowl. Add soy sauce and teriyaki sauce, making sure all tofu is covered, and leave for a few hours, turning once half way through.)
1 inch of ginger root, grated or finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Sesame seeds to garnish

Method:

1. Fry the garlic and ginger in a splash of oil. Keep it on a medium heat, making sure you don’t burn the garlic. Nobody wants burnt garlic! Whilst this is frying, put the kettle on. You’re going to need 2 litres, so fill it right up (I did it in 4 500ml batches).

Put the spring rolls in the oven.

2. Add the curry paste to the pan

3. Add the tofu and fry until the outer layer of the tofu seems a little more ‘sealed’

4. Then add all rest of the ingredients to the pan (layered as follows: spring onions, pak choi, red peppers, rice noodles, spinach then coriander).

5. Get the kettle boiled, and add a veg stock cube to 500ml of water. Add this to the pan. Turn up the heat until the water in the bottom of the pan is boiling. This will effectively steam the veg.

6. Keep adding 500ml of water every now and again, at 5 minute intervals is best, until all the veg is eventually covered by liquid. Stir once, to disrupt the ‘layers’ of veg you created. Leave to boil for 5-10 minutes.

7. Serve with spring rolls. This one was a real hit with the family! Yum! Enjoy…

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THE JUICY BITS

And here are some nutritious ‘facts’ presented in the men’s health article about some of the ingredients. It’s from the perspective of eating this meal after exercise, so is supposed to be eaten at lunch time to regain strength to carry on the day after going to the gym! I just made it for tea after zero exercise … Guilty! πŸ™‚

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Red peppers: Exercise does have its down sides: it produces free radicals, molecules responsible for ageing, tissue damage and some diseases. “You can limit their effects by topping up on antioxidants” says nutritionist Kate Cook, of healthy fast food restaurant Food Secret. Peppers are full of them.

The broth: The chilli in curry paste will boost your metabolism, “and swapping the coconut milk, often found in Thai food, for stock will cut the fat content”, says Cook.

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Spring onions: Rich in vitamins C and B1, spring onions help turn complex carbs into glycogen, your bodies favourite fuel. They’re also full of fibre and calcium; both help you feel fuller, saving you from going on a snickers run mid-afternoon.

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Pak Choi: Like red peppers, pak choi is full of free-radical bashing antioxidants and is damn tasty to boot. “It’s a perfect vegetable for your post-exercise meal” says Cook.

Rice noodles: Loaded with complex carbs to refuel your body after training. Plus, they’ll help any protein to do its job: “The combination of the protein and carbs from noodles stimulates muscle growth” says Chris Barber. Simple when you know how.

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Marinated tofu: meat substitutes have their benefits. “Tofu is a good source of a key amino acid: leucine” says Cook. “It aids protein synthesis in your muscles, which means what you eat is more readily absorbed by your body.” It’s also rich in iron and copper which aid blood flow- handy for getting oxygen to your muscles, where you need it most.

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Coriander leaves: And finally, a bit of herb. “Coriander is a great addition to any post-exercise meal” says Barber. “It aids digestive function, helping your body to break down your food, and it is also packed with vitamin A, another one of those handy antioxidants.” So enjoy the flavours while your meal is busy making a better body for you.

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