Sniff Out Your Mate: Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

| January 30, 2011

Marriage is…interesting.

I’ve known my husband for 15 years and while our love for each other has matured and strengthened, there are days when I wonder what it would feel like to: 1) leap off my couch with the ferocity of a wild leopard on the hunt and body slam him and/or 2) apply an upper cut maneuver to his chin and watch him fly backwards through the air in slow motion.

No doubt, my husband, on occasion, has similar fantasies about me.

For a long time, whenever my husband and I had particularly ‘heated’ disagreements, we would wonder whether we had compatibility issues.  Not only do we possess opposing communication styles and methods for coping with life’s challenges, but we also have very little in common.

For instance, my husband would much prefer to read non-fiction books about psychology and neurobiology, whereas I’d rather read trashy gossip on  My partner is eternally optimistic about everyone and everything while I am (absolutely) not.  I am a neat freak and my husband could care less if cockroaches established a motel in our little apartment.  He is a risk taker/seeker and I am as risk averse as they come.  Other than sharing an affinity for hot and spicy foods (like this Korean inspired Spicy Beef Noodle Soup), we essentially epitomize the ‘Odd Couple.’

How did we fall in love, again?   And why are we still in love?

The data isn’t clear.  But that hasn’t stopped us from considering the billion and one possibilities and theories.

According to a handful of studies, genetics might explain why we  ‘choose’ the people we fall in love with.  One study suggests that our odor-type (which is different from pheromones), coded with our genetic make-up, or rather our immunogenetic status, helps humans to find their most compatible partner.  In essence, we are hardwired to ‘sniff’ out our best match.

Another study found that our genes help us find our friends.  This study discovered a positive and significant correlation between friendship and possession of a specific gene  (this gene is related to dopamine).   No one knows yet how this relationship is possible and why the correlation exists.

So much about these studies and/or conclusions are counter to other theories, religious ideals and fundamentals.  However, perhaps naively, my husband and I are comforted by the idea that genetics might explain our love for each other.  My husband likes my smell and I like his smell.  It’s perfect.

Accepting this conclusion as an answer for ‘why’ we love each other allows us to focus on ‘how’ we can continuously progress as individuals and partners, acknowledge our feelings and articulate our desires, and ultimately, sustain and enjoy a passionate, self-expansive, and exciting marriage.  These may seem like lofty goals, but I am pleased to report that we, maybe against all odds, are making it happen.

Zomppa’s Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

Serves 3-4 servings


9-10 cups of cold water

1 small onion, diced in big chunks

1 bay leaf

1 lb of sirloin (can use brisket as well)

4 gloves of garlic, smashed

1 teaspoon of peppercorns

½ inch ginger, smashed

1 teaspoon of salt

2 handfuls of shitake mushroom (or any mushrooms you like)

1 zucchini, sliced, not too thinly

Kale, chopped, as much as you like

3 Tablespoons of Korean Red Pepper Powder (more if you like it REALLY spicy)

1-teaspoon sesame oil

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1-teaspoon sugar

1 packet of Vietnamese Vermicelli Noodles


In a large soup pot, add the water, onion, bay leaf, sirloin (whole), garlic, peppercorns, ginger, the stalks of all the shitake mushrooms (we’ll use caps later), and salt.  Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer, with the cover on, for about 45-50 minutes.

Drain the stock. Remove the meat and let sit. Then, pour the stock (without the stock ingredients) back into the soup pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium/low and bring to a simmer.  Add the zucchini.  After 3 minutes then add the shitake mushroom caps (sliced or whole) and the kale.  Let the soup simmer for another 5 minutes.

In the meantime, mix, in a small bowl, the red pepper powder, sesame oil and soy sauce.  Add this mixture to the soup.  Then, sprinkle in the sugar.  Let simmer for another 5-7 minutes.

While the soup is finishing up, cook your noodles (read the instructions on packet).

Drain the noodles and turn the heat off the soup.  Place a handful of the noodles in a large soup bowl.  Add the amount of spicy beef soup that you want.  Slice your beef and add to the bowl.  Add some chopped green scallions and enjoy!

Check us out on Heart ‘n Soul Hop, Real Food Wednesday and Simple Lives Thursday!

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Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

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Category: Asia Pacific, Featured Articles: Food Politics, Food Politics, Main Dish - Land and Sea, Recipe Vault, Travel & Culture

About the Author (Author Profile)

We all have a friend in our lives who is smart, witty, intelligent: you give her cold pasta and chicken and she will whip out a gourmet meal in 15 minutes, she makes chicken soup from scratch for her sick neighborhood even though she is nursing a cold herself… you know that friend who will always be there to drive common sense into you, but doesn’t realize that she is as perfect as they come as a mother, wife and friend. That is our Patty….

Comments (38)

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  1. Belinda says:

    Poor dude. He has no clue you want to body slam him. He’s happy in his little world. THIS I CAN’T WAIT TO TRY!

  2. The main thing must be your love of this soup. Who wouldn’t kiss and make up over this. It’s the best looking soup I’ve seen in ages! 🙂

  3. denise says:

    Interesting fantasy *ahem*

    Gorgeous noodles *hee hee*

  4. wow amazing looking veggies and meat! This soup must have been fabulous!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Your stories always make me smile! I get so excited when I see a posting. Don’t get me started on how hard marriage is. I’ll stick with the soup…

  6. Brit-Girl says:

    sorry.. previous anonymous comment was from brit-girl… you know who I am!

  7. Emily says:

    That’s a purty little soup! Yum. Perfect for a snowy winter’s day!

  8. Beth says:

    It’s all very mysterious, isn’t it? In the meantime, your soup looks fabulous!

  9. Tsering says:

    Somehow the picture of him bodyslammed with a blackeye enjoying your soup…is funny!!!

    You make the simplest of dishes look so beautiful!

    Cheers/slurps to your marriage! Be it genes or any other reason, you make the perfect couple!

  10. Anna says:

    LoL….I so feel like leaping off my couch with the ferocity of a wild leopard on the hunt and body slam my hubby sometimes. Specially when I’m doing at least 5 things at the same time and he waits until I finish to ask if I need help. HA! How about that? Body slaaaaammm.
    Your soup looks fantastic, I love spicy food too. Have a great week Patty.

  11. Simply Life says:

    oh I am loving this dish – noodle bowls are one of my favorite things to eat!

  12. Claudia says:

    Ha. I can totally relate to the odd couple syndrome. But, that soup would bring any couple to a place of complete compatibility. Unless of course they were vegetarians.

  13. wow! this dish sounds just lovely:) thank you for sharing this with us.

  14. delicious blend like the addition of kale

  15. These looks like something we need right now in this cold weather. I love the beef and spicy combination.

    Thanks for sharing with the Hearth and Soul hop.

  16. Trix says:

    Ha! Smell is indeed very important. And really, no matter how much you do or don’t have in common, who hasn’t imagined pulling some serious kung fu moves on their partner? I know I have, lol! This dish looks so fabulous.

  17. There’s definitely something about the genetic makeup and smells 🙂 Plus opposites attract too. The soup looks excellent!

  18. I do like the smell of my husband, this really explains a lot for me too.. thanks! Hahahahaa. And I would also love a bowl of that beautiful hearty beef noodle soup, please! My kind of bowl. Gimme!

  19. Jason says:

    After 15 years…I’m sure you’ve gotten over the “new husband smell” or maybe you haven’t…!

    Love spicy soups and yours looks great.

    Thanks for sharing at the hearth and soul hop.

  20. Ah, love, funny thing isn’t it. But I’m surprised either of you can smell a darned thing after eating so much of that korean pepper. Hot stuff, baby! Thanks for sharing your story and recipe with the Hearth and Soul hop. I really enjoyed this post 🙂

  21. sweetlife says:

    i often feel the same about my hubby, the upper cut part, lol…a perfect spciy soup!!


  22. Eilee says:

    Oh my gosh. Your post made me laugh. It’s a darn good thing you two like the smell of each other – lol! I have visions of you as a World Wrestling Federation Queen. Love your soup recipe. I just had Korean food for the first time. Bean curd and noodles. I liked it!

  23. Miz Helen says:

    Awhhhh Love…your post is great! I also love your Spicy Beef Noodle Soup it looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it. Thank you so much for bringing it to Full Plate Thursday. You have a great week end and please come back!

  24. It's a Keeper says:

    HI! I’m hosting a link up this week — It’s a Keeper Thursdays! I hope you can come over and link up!

    It’s a Keeper

  25. Cakewhiz says:

    I simply love spicy food and this looks so good that it would be gone in minutes. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  26. Candace says:

    I love your honesty! Great post!
    I, also, love this soup….and so will my hubby.


  27. Melynda says:

    Stopping by from Full Plate Thursday to say hello! And good to know it is not just me in the love department! Your soup is beautiful, I would love it. I think you know what I am saying here LOL!

  28. Heather says:

    YUM! I want a big, fat bowl of this right now. Opposites attract. Is that too easy an explanation!? Thanks for sharing this fun post w/ the hearth and soul hop 😀

  29. Christy says:

    I just have to say – my husband and I are complete opposites also – and dang do I love the smell of him right out of the shower – ;o) I would adore this soup and he would be looking for the “real meal”. LOL! thanks for sharing this with us at the hearth and soul hop!

  30. My husband and I are complete opposites and have been married for 20 years. LIke you, we both have an affinity for spicy food, and he does like about everything that I cook 🙂 This soup looks delicious, I think I would add the steak raw and just let it cook in the hot liquid so it was rare tho.

  31. Isn’t marriage fun! I love your analysis and your conclusion. When I ask my husband why he loves me he simply answers “Because I can’t imagine myself loving anyone else.” I think it may be a smell thing, too , though… the smell of what’s cooking when he comes home! Either way, he loves me and that’s all I really want! Love your blog, fun informative and surprising. Thanks!

  32. Miz Helen says:

    Congratulations you are featured on Full Plate Thursday this week 2-10-11. You can stop by and pick up your Red Plate.

  33. Maya says:

    Your marriage and personalities sound very much like mine, except I’m the one with your husband’s traits! Anyway, what’s a few differences when you can both enjoy the same food such as these ultra-delicious looking noodles?

  34. Anonymous says:

    Just loved your post. Read it to my Hubby with much discussion. I can’t wait to give this soup a try. Come join me for Crock Pot Wednesday whenever you can. This soup would be perfect.

  35. Debbie says:

    I entered my comment without identification. Sorry!

  36. Miz Helen says:

    Thanks for bringing your winning soup back around, I sure would like seconds if you don’t mind. Thank you so much for coming to Full Plate Thursday and please come back!

  37. Looks delicious!!! 🙂