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Think you have nothing for dinner? This easy family recipe by Uyen Luu will make you think again...

You can be really creative and use up store cupboard and fridge ingredients when you think you have nothing for dinner, writes Uyen Luu. I’ve always got a cupboard full of pasta and noodles. There’s always some carrot and peas taking residence in the fridge/freezer. Sometimes there’s some bacon laying dormant on the top shelf or there’s some chicken or sausages leftover and so on. Then I’ve got some herbs growing on the window sill so, in half an hour or so, something as delicious and vibrant as a pasta soup can be pulled together for a quick family meal.

Any kind of pasta can be used, just don’t over cook it. Or you can use packets of udon, ramen, mung bean noodles. Anything you fancy.

Any kind of herbs can be used too, or spring onions. You can jazz it up as much or as little as you fancy – as long as you have a good quality chicken stock or use chicken stock cubes that you favour. Everything can be poached within the one pot.

With this recipe, I have used a griddle pan to char the onion for extra depth of flavour and a saucepan to fry off the shallots, but you don’t have to. You can purchase pre-made fried shallots or not use them at all. Fried shallots add wonders to your stock so you can make a big batch and save in the fridge for garnishing.

Pasta Soup with Bacon, Peas and Carrots

Serves 4


  • 1.5 litre chicken stock
  • 25g ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled, halved, charred
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into circles
  • 250g peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 bacon rashers sliced into 5mm strips
  • 200g pasta, cooked to packet instructions
  • 30g shallots roughly chopped, deep fried in about 3 tbsp oil
  • 6g rock sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 15g hot mint (can be substituted for parsley, mint, coriander or whatever you have), cut into 5mm strands with scissors
  • Generous pinches of white and black pepper
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 1 birdseye chilli finely sliced



Pour the stock into a large sauce pan, add ginger, cover with a lid and bring to a gentle boil.

Bring a dry griddle pan to a high heat while peeling and cutting the onion in half with the ends cut off so it can stand, then char until slightly burnt.

Add the charred onion, rock sugar, sesame oil, fish sauce and carrot to the broth. Bring to a gentle boil.

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions in a separate pan.

Fry the shallots until crispy in the oil, remove from the pan and dry on a piece of kitchen towel.

When the broth is gently boiling, add the bacon and peas and continue to cover with the lid. Once it has reached a boil it is done.

Drain the pasta and divide between the bowls.

Add a generous pinch of both black and white pepper to the broth and to each bowl of noodles.

Pour the hot broth over the pasta.

Using a pair of scissors cut the herbs into thin strands over each bowl of pasta (approximately 1 tbsp of chopped herb per bowl) and a teaspoon of the fried shallots.

Serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lime and slices of chillies for whoever can take them!

:: See more wonderful Asian-influenced recipes on Uyen Luu's website.