It sounds so paltry, but some Chinese cabbage, tofu, soy bean thread (cellophane noodles), water and soy sauce can do wonders. If you have a winter tomato, as I did today, you can chop it up, saute it in the soy sauce and build a little flavor. It's perfect with or without rice.
Makes 2 Quarts
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 small tomato, any kind, roughly diced (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari)
2 quarts water
1 small head Chinese cabbage, cut into squares (about 4-5 cups cut)
1 block silken or soft tofu, cut into bite-size squares
1 bundle soy bean thread
Salt to taste, if needed
In a soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes start to soften, about 1 minute. Add the soy sauce and continue stirring/sauteing, about 1 minute. Add the water, cabbage and tofu. Turn up heat to high and bring to a boil. Immediately turn down the heat to medium or medium-low and let the soup simmer until the cabbage has soften and the tofu heated through. Add the bean thread and let soften, about 2-3 minutes. Taste the soup and add salt to taste, if necessary. I usually have to add a pinch.
You can, at this point, add a sprinkle of white pepper and a drizzle of sesame oil, if you'd like. If you have any cilantro laying around, a few leaves as garnish in each bowl would punch up the flavor.
Serve with rice, if you'd like.