Uncle Tom’s final solution: quick, tasty, lunch soup !

My son Arlo, knows.  He lives in San Francisco with his partner, Alanna Hale, who herself is becoming increasingly well know for her dynamic and spare  photos of  food, drink, and the good life. If there is a place in the US where multicultural life affects what we eat, it’s San Fran.  Arlo recently recently commented on my last Instagram photo of my homemade soup and suggested I that was actually cooking up was a version of jigae, and not fauxpho.   This is a typical bowl of what I have been calling fauxpho:

photo 11I’ve been experimenting with preparing quick one -serving soups at home for the past 6 months.  The process has stayed the same: from start to finish in 15 minutes or less,  producing a huge 16 ounce serving of tasty nutritious goodness.

All of this started when I decided to turn around my decades-old lunch routine.

I used to eat a grilled cheese/ meat sandwich, where I even graduated to a baby George Foreman grill to cut out the extra butter that I’d slather on each slice.  The other part of the lunch was a bowl of either instant ramen soup, or a more “healthy version” which I decided was one of the one-can Progresso products.  I liked the lentil soup the best.

Then I got older and my father Chester’s side of the  family history kicked in- heart disease.  I am an exercise nut, so that’s not the issue- it’s genetics. Under the old cholesterol guidelines, I was I pretty good shape, but under the 2013 ACC/AHA Cholesterol Guidelines, I wasn’t anymore. Sure, I could move to Canada or Europe where I would still be considered healthy, but no.  I even got a second opinion from a local cardiologist, who was so convinced that I was a sitting duck for a heart attack that he pushed a prescription for Lipitor into my hand as I was walking out and told me that I would need them sooner or later.

That’s when I decided to lower my daily dose of gooey cheese, lunch meats, high-sodium ramen, and canned soups and eat a bit lighter for lunch.

Then, I discovered pho, the Vietnamese staple.  Wikipedia notes that, “Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles ,a few herbs, and meat, primarily served with either beef or chicken.”

But, thanks to Arlo, I have come up with something that is even better, primarily due to the richness of the broth.  Arlo sent me this link to a new York Times recipe for Korean jigae.

I have modified that recipe for a single serving, and here’s today’s improved version. You can see leftover steamed broccoli, garden kale, roasted beets /carrots harvested yesterday from under the snow and ice, and sprouted mung beans.

Jigae- Uncle Tom style
Jigae- Uncle Tom style

I’ll be stocking up on the kimchi for sure, now!

Ingredients ( serves 1- me!)

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup kimchi
  • 1 tablespoon Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 2 cups water (for a richer soup, use chicken, pork or beef broth)
  • seasonal vegetables ( 1 cup chopped)
  • scallions chopped, for garnish


  1. Start boiling 2 cups water or stock.
  2. In a separate fry pan, add first six ingredients.
  3. Add cut up veggies and 50 grams of rice noodles ( I like wide) to the boiling water.  Simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. In the fry pan, add protein (could be animal, tofu, tempeh), stir together and let it cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Transfer frypan ingredients to the liquid stock/noodle/ veggie mix.
  6. Add kimchi , miso, and scallions.
  7. Mix well
  8. Fill bowl, use chopsticks to slow down the meal.
  9. Spoon or drink the rest!


2 thoughts on “Uncle Tom’s final solution: quick, tasty, lunch soup !

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