The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

The ten minute soup challenge: Quick Asparagus and Coriander soup recipe

quick asparagus soupDanny reached for the ladle.
“How can you run up a soup like this in just ten minutes? I can’t believe that it’s low fat. It’s delicious.”
He didn’t mention the soup disaster that had been poured into the dogs the day before.

Unbeknown to Danny I had researched soup based simply on a good stock, a few herbs and spices, a handful of fresh vegetables and some noodles.

Many Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai and Indian soups use this principle of combining a stock that has simmered for hours with fresh vegetables, herbs and spices that are barely cooked. When it works, the combination is wonderful. Loads of zing and deep flavours. And low fat.
Initially I made a ten minute soup and we ate it again on the second day. But the difference in taste and texture was not worth the saving on time. So now I make a fresh soup each day.

It’s a good challenge as it’s a great opportunity to play with flavours. And the ten minute rule makes you think on your feet. No time to linger and fiddle. It’s the sort of close cut and thrust that makes cooking exciting. Over the past two weeks there have been disasters and triumphs.

The secret is a really good stock. It’s worth taking some time over this. Hank has some great ideas here – my stock has improved since I read his post. I especially like his tip for adding a parsnip for sweetness. Joanna’s idea of keeping the skins on onions is superb – it gives colour and added flavour to the stock. So with help from these two ecellent foodie bloggers and my new slow cooker friend (Crock Pot) my stock has transformed from the sceptre at the feast that often needed a handful of stock cubes to improve it to the sort of guest that you would welcome with open arms even if they arrived unexpectedly at breakfast.

Check the dates on your spices too. Everything needs to be really fresh.

The asparagus soup was just right although the soup didn’t break the Olympic barrier on the ten minute challenge. It swished into our bowls well into penalty time but it was so delicious that we forgave the extra wait.

N.B. If you want the gisteny quality of a Chinese soup add a heaped tblsp of cornflour to a little hot waterand stir into the stock when you add the vegetables.

Quick Asparagus and coriander soup recipe (for 4)


  • 2 bunches of asparagus
  • 2 large continental spring onions
  • 1 fat garlic clove chopped very fine (or 1 tsp of garlic granules at a pinch)
  • 1 litre of rich chicken stock (or boiling water and 2 chicken stock cubes plus one vegetable stock cube. In the UK Gallo are good)
  • 1 large handful of fine egg noodles
  • 3-4 tsp of ground coriander
  • Half a tsp of ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt
  • Half a tsp of ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp of lemon grass (I used Bart lemon grass in sunflower oil)
  • Sprigs of fresh coriander and/or chervil to garnish


  1. Bring your stock to simmering point whilst you chop your garlic.
  2. Wash and snap off the fresh ends of your asparagus, reserving the woody ends for stock. Cut off the tips and slice the rest of the stems (half a centimetre rounds).
  3. Add the asparagus stems, garlic all the spices and herbs (excluding garnish) to the stock. Simmer for three minutes.
  4. Stir and taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  5. Add the egg noodles.
  6. Add the tips and simmer for a further two to three minutes until they are cooked but still have a bite.
  7. Serve in warm bowls with a garnish of fresh coriander and chervil.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Lynnie

    Fresh herbs make such a difference. I am growing a lot in the greenhouse this year so that I can be lavish when it comes to cooking.

    Stock is so easy to make in an Aga or slow cooker.

  2. Lynnie

    You know what, you’re totally right. It’s all about a good stock and fresh spices. After that, almost anything you put in is going to taste great. I just wish I could remember this while cooking! Every time I buy packaged stock I regret it!

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Audrey

    It’s surprisingly filling and tasty. But as you say would be perfect for someone feeling a bit off colour.

    Hi Natasha,

    Thanks so much for leaving your recipe – it looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it!

  4. Natasha

    Hi – sounds delish! Can I suggest a similar recipe?

    Asparagus, Spring Onion and Saffron Soup

    1 large bunch of asparagus, diced
    1 bunch spring onions, sliced finely
    About a pint of good chicken stock (or water)
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    1 inch piece of ginger, grated
    1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced.
    A tablespoon of natural yoghurt

    Soak the saffron strands in a little warm water

    Sautee the garlic, ginger, chilli, most of the pring onions and aparagus.

    Add the chicken stock and the saffron (with water) and simmer until asparagus is tender.

    Blitz in blender, stir in the yoghurt, sprinkle over the remaing spring onions and season to taste.

    I also add any herbs I have available, a scattering of chopped mint is pleasant.

  5. Audrey

    This reminds me of a typical mum-i-don’t-feel-too-good soup I used to have when I was little! Sometimes with a handful of rice noodles, sometimes just veg and herbs. I’d almost forgot about it till I read your post!

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pat

    It’s a great light summery soup. We are now losing weight again.

    Hi Joanna

    I envy you your Aga. But the slow cooker has turned out to be a godsend. I bring the water to the boil before adding it to the slow cooker. Then I set it to auto – this means that it will cook on high and automatically switch to low when it has reached the right temperature.

    The stock is superb.

  7. Joanna

    Mmm sounds good – mind you, anything is improved by really good stock, I never quite understand why people don’t bother to make it, as it’s so easy and undemanding of the cook. I should think the slow cooker does the job beautifully (although do you have to bring it to the boil elsewhere first?)


  8. Sounds like a really lovely soup recipe. I think I will give the 10 minute rule a test. Thanks!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,241,094 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2023 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder