Recipe: Mama’s Macaroni Soup

This holiday season, Invisible Publishing asked our authors to contribute a recipe to our chapbook Dinner Party, available exclusively from our website, and full proceeds will go to Food Banks Canada. And if you buy one of the contributor’s books, also from our website, guess what? We’ll throw in a copy in a copy of Dinner Party for FREE!

At only $8, Dinner Party makes for the perfect gift for those you love who love food and literature! (And supporting independent publishers and authors and amazing non-profits.)

How about a taste?

Did you know Giller-nominated Thea Lim published her debut novel The Same Woman with Invisible Publishing? Thea contributes the “comfortingly convoluted” “Mama’s Macaroni Soup” to Dinner Party, text and images included below. Enjoy!

Mama’s Macaroni Soup
by Thea Lim, author of The Same Woman

This recipe is my Singapore grandma’s take on a Hong Kong favourite, which itself is a Chinese version of Western chicken noodle soup. It’s comfortingly convoluted, perfect for when the troubles of our mixed-up world are getting you down. You’re not required to garnish it so it looks like a pair of eyes, but you should know that you can. Serves 4.


2-3 cups cooked macaroni

1 cup of peas, frozen or otherwise

1 can Spam (don’t judge)

Vegetable oil

6 cups chicken broth – buy this or make your own!

Ginger, biggish piece – around the size of your thumb

4 eggs

Salt to taste

Garnish: chopped green onions, soy sauce, and dried fried onion. (The dried fried onion is a Southeast Asian thing and comes in a jar. You should be able to find it at Asian grocery stores.)


Boil water for the macaroni. This is classic store cupboard cooking, so I always use frozen peas, though I admire if you don’t. At this point, cook those peas, whether that means heating them up from frozen or boiling them quickly so that they’re soft-ish. Set aside. Slice the Spam into rectangles, about an inch and a half long and a quarter inch thick. Add some vegetable oil to the pan and fry the slices until brown and crispy on all sides. While you are doing this, warm up the broth, just to soup temperature. Add the macaroni to the boiling water. Watch out for the timing on this one—you want the macaroni to be ready just when you get to the assembly, so it doesn’t get gummy waiting around. Julienne the ginger and chop the green onion. Fry the eggs in some vegetable oil. Use a lot of oil (treat yourself) and medium high heat to get the edges crispy. You can do this sunny side up or over easy. If you don’t like runny yolks, don’t worry, it’ll cook once it hits the soup. If you’re lucky, the macaroni is now ready! If you mistimed this, don’t worry, just run the pasta under cold water to ungum. Assemble! Get yourself four bowls. Place a good scoop of macaroni in each bowl, followed by that warm broth, followed by a few tablespoons of peas, followed by the fried egg (float it on top), the chopped green onions, the crispy onions, and the ginger slices. Drizzle soy sauce, or add salt, if you like it that way (I do).

Reflect on how good soup, like good literature, reminds us that life is always simultaneously more simple and more complicated than we think.

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