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Category Archives: Soups

Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup

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This is one soup that is tough to get the right consistency of .. I’ve personally followed various recipes from various cookbooks/online with no joy …. ultimately, I attempted making the soup with my own adaptation and through practice, I now can make it superbly with my eyes closed 😉

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These are about the main ingredients I used … wood ear, shitake mushrooms, preserved Szechuan vegetable, tofu, pork/chicken, potato/corn starch, chopped onions & garlic … + the water from the re-hydrated mushrooms and chicken stock

RECIPE

Ingredients :

3 – 4 dried Shitake mushrooms, rehydrated by soaking in hot water (reserve water for soup)

1 big wood ear (about 8-10g), rehydrated by soaking in hot water

1 preserved Szechuan vegetable, soak in water for an hour to leach salt out

30g bamboo shoots (optional)

1pc firm tofu

1 chicken breast/100g lean pork

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 – 4 Tbsp potato/corn starch, mix with some water to make a paste

1 – 1½ ltr chicken stock (adjust accordingly)

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine

1 Tbsp sweet dark soy sauce

¼ cup Chinese black vinegar / Malt Vinegar

1 – 2 tsp chilli powder (adjust accordingly)

½ tsp ground white pepper

1 egg, beaten

2 Tbsp cooking oil

Scallion, diced for garnishing (optional)

Methods :

  • Julienne the Shitake mushrooms, wood ear, bamboo shoots (I don’t use this as I can’t stand the smell!) and preserved Szechuan vegetables
  • Sliced tofu into ½” by 1″ thick strips
  • Heat pot with 2 Tbsp cooking oil, toss in the garlic & onion and cook till soft then add in the chilly powder … stir for about 30 seconds then add in the meat, stir to mix till meat is opaque then add in all the julienned ingredients, i.e. mushrooms, wood ear, bamboo shoots and preserved Szechuan vegetables … stir to mix and cook for another minute
  • Pour in the chicken stock + the reserved water from rehydrating mushrooms …. if you wish for a more diluted soup, you may add more chicken stock and vice-versa
  • Bring soup to the boil and reduce heat and allow soup to simmer for 15 minutes
  • Add in the vinegar … taste and add more vinegar if you feel you want it more sour and then stir in the sweet dark soy sauce, sesame oil and the Shaoxing wine
  • Add in the tofu, stir to mix and allow to heat through for a few minutes then pour in the starch paste, stirring as you do so and you will see the soup thickening up … if too thick, add some more chicken stock and if not thick enough, add more starch
  • Add ground white pepper, stir and taste and adjust salty/sweetness/spiciness seasoning accordingly
  • Now swirl in the beaten egg and voila! soup is ready 😉
  • Serve hot with some diced scallions sprinkle over for garnish and a dash of white pepper, if so desired … I didn’t bother with any garnishing 🙂

Curried Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic with Ginger Soup

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If you like spicy soup then this is an awesome soup to try …. with an added hint of chopped fresh coriander I stirred in just before serving up makes it truly fragrant … mmmmm simply can’t get over all the spices tingling on my taste-buds … as my husband said, the curry powder makes it taste better because he doesn’t like sweet soup and pumpkin soup can be quite sweet as it is 😉

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The Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic … ready to be scooped out into the pot and blended into the creamy, spiced-up soup 🙂

The recipe is basically similar to my previous post of Roasted Pumpkin & Coriander Soup except you substitute the coriander powder in the ingredients with curry powder and pop the garlic cloves to roast atop the pumpkin

Scotch Broth with Pork Drumsticks

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Everyone knows that the traditional Scotch Broth is made with mutton/lamb (best with mutton) but now and again, I’d make it with pork and this time, I made it with Pork Drumsticks (pork shin) and it is just as good!  This is a very simple yet flavoursome soup which is perfect for the crockpot/slow cooker!

I never follow any recipe when I make Scotch Broth … just a guestimate of each ingredient … just as how Mama & Grandmama would tell me whenever I asked them for their traditional recipe … a bit of this, a dash of that, a pinch of other …. lol

Here, also Scotch Broth made with pork shin, but the pork is shredded once soup is ready and then chopped parsley stirred into soup just before being served up … with home-baked 5-Seeded loaf ❤

 

RECIPE

Ingredients :

6 pieces/1kg of Pork Drumsticks/Pork Shin

250g turnips/swede, diced

1 parsnip, diced

1 large carrots, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 medium leek, chopped

1 large onions, chopped

¼ cup soup mix, soaked overnight (I used ½ cup because we love a thick broth)

2l beef stock (add more if you want a more diluted broth)

2 Tbsp oil

1 bay leaf

freshly ground black pepper & Salt, to taste

parsley sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Methods :

  •  Boil the Pork Drumsticks/Pork Sheen in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes then use  slotted spoon, lift out and rinse in cold water
  • Heat a soup pot with oil, sweat the onions & leeks for few minutes
  • Add in all other chopped root vegetables, sweat for further 5 minutes
  • Tip in the soup mix, bay leaf and then pour in the beef stock
  • Bring to a boil (if using slow-cooker, pour everything into slow-cooker at this stage and cook on high for 4 hours and auto/low for 6 – 8 hours) and reduce heat and continue to simmer on low heat for 2 to 2½ hours
  • Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper & salt
  • Scoop onto a soup bowl and garnish with parsley sprigs and serve up piping hot, with a crusty bread

Mushrooms Cappuccino with Truffle Foam

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I first tasted this Mushrooms Cappucino in one of the Mandarin Oriental Hotels I used to worked in yonks ago, fell in love with it instantly and had made it many times before, improving it each time and this time instead of frothing the soup up to create the layer of ‘cappucino foam’ atop when blending I’d added Truffle Foam because I like a thick mushroom soup and the soup will not aerate as well when you blend hence you can’t get that cappuccino foaminess when the soup is too thick  😉

This soup is at its best if made with mixed wild mushrooms or porcini mushrooms, as I always do so whenever I made it but since I don’t have the luxury of such choice here in Lagos this time around, I used a mixture of white & brown button mushrooms + Shitake mushrooms …. still extremly flavoursome …good on it’s own or served with crusty bread!

Chopped an onion and fry in heated pan with olive oil, when slightly brown, add in chopped garlic ….

Add in the mushrooms and fry for about 5 minutes …then pour in the wine, simmer until slightly reduced ….

Pour in the chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes, covered

Blend soup with a hand blender or a food processor until smooth (& frothy) …. I like my soup with wee bits of blended mushrooms so I never sieve it through a sieve after blending

Add in the cream and bring it to a very gentle boil and the soup is ready!

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An awesome soup we can never tire of … served up with some crusty loaf or french sticks ❤

RECIPE

Ingredients :

250 – 350g fresh mixed wild mushrooms or mushrooms of your choice

1 medium-sized onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

¼ cup white wine, optional

800ml chicken stock (more if you prefer a lighter soup)

1 cup fresh cream

2 Tbsp Truffle Oil

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

salt & pepper, to taste

Methods:

  • Clean and slice mushrooms 
  • Heat up a saucepan with 1 Tbsp Olive Oil and add in onion, fry until slightly turning brown/caramalised, then add in the chopped garlic
  • Add in the mushrooms, sweat for about 5 minutes then pour in the white wine, simmer on low heat until slightly reduced
  • Pour in the chicken stock and simmer over low heat, covered, for 10 minutes
  • Remove from stove top, set aside to cool a little then blitz with a hand-held blender or a food processor until smooth (& frothy if not using the Truffle Foam
  • Return blended soup to saucepan and pour in ½ cup fresh cream, stir over low heat and bring to very gentle boil and turn off heat, stir in 1 Tbsp of Truffle oil
  • Beat the balance ½ cup cream together with balance of the Truffle oil until thick and small peaks is formed
  • Serve up the blended soup in a soup mug, top with the whipped truffles cream and as it melts atop the hot soup, it’s like a layer of ‘cappucino foam’ making the mug of soup looks like a cuppa Cappucino!

Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup

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This is one soup hubby & I loved …sometimes I would add noodles but most times, we will just have it as it is as we did last night, with a plate of Stir-Fried Oyster Sauce Iceberg Lettuce 🙂

This is the combination of assortment of Chinese Herbs I had used for my Chicken Soup …. you can get various pre-packed combination of such herbs meant for Chicken or Pork Ribs soups from the Chinese Medical Hall and the label normally will tell you what medicinal value it may have … just simply give the herbs a quick rinse before use …

Normally such herbal soup is best “double-boiled” but I don’t have a big enough “double-boiler” pot so I cooked it in my Crockpot/Slow Cooker …some people prefer to use skinless chicken as it is healthier since herbal soup is supposed to be a health soup but I left the skin on the legs but stripped the skin off the breasts … I like my soup with a little oil in it still …tastier 😉

RECIPE

Ingredients:

a pre-packed packet of Chinese Herbs 

1 whole chicken, chopped into 8 pieces or you may use 4 whole chicken legs

1.5 – 2 ltr water (use less water if you wish a more concentrated soup broth)

salt, to taste

Methods:

  • Rinse the Chinese Herbs, set aside
  • Clean and chop the chicken into 8 pieces if using whole chicken or if using whole legs just leave it as it is, skin the pieces if you wish to have a truly healthy soup
  • Boil the chicken in water for 5 minutes and then lift the pieces of chicken into the Double-Boiler or  Crockpot/Slow Cooker
  • Tip in the Chinese Herbs, add 1.5 – 2 litre hot water to the pot 
  • If double-boiling, double boil for about 8 hours …keep watch that the boiling water in the double-boiler does not dry up
  • If cooking in the Crockpot/Slow Cooker, set it on Auto and cook for 6 hours
  • When done, add a dash of salt to taste …not too much as herbal soup shouldn’t be overly salty!
  • Serve up with your other dishes for dinner with rice or you may, like us, enjoy the bowl of soup as your dinner, accompanied with a stir-fried green vegetable dish

Cock-a-Leekie with Barley

This ancient Scottish soup is normally made with Beef and Chicken to flavour the broth but here, I'm using only Chicken ....the unusual combination of Leeks and Prunes is surprisingly delicious and the addition of Barley makes it a wholesome meal for a light supper!

RECIPE

Ingredients :

2 medium sized Leeks, sliced into 1/2 in rounds

1/4 cup pear barley

1 bouquet garni

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

3 – 4 cups quality home-made Chicken/Beef Stock

8 – 10 ready-to-eat prunes

salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Method :

  • Pour the chicken/beef stock in a saucepan and add in the chicken breasts and bouquet garni, bring to a slow bowl and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, skim off any scum when the stock comes to initial boil and occasionaly when simmering….when done, strain the stock and keep the chicken breasts aside
  • Meanwhile, rinse te pearl barley and cook it in a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes, drain and add to the stock, bring it to the boil and lower heat and simmer gently for 15 – 20 minutes until the barley is just cooked and tender
  • Season with salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Add the prunes and leeks to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until the leeks are just cooked
  • Slice up the chicken breast, add to the soup and reheat if necessary and ladle into deep soup plates and garnish with sprinkle of chopped parsley, served up with some crusty bread if desired.

Roast Pumpkin & Coriander Soup

Roast Pumpkin & Coriander Soup
Pumpkins chopped into chunks …here, you will see I’ve peeled, seeded & removed the ‘beared’ fibres but it is not necessary to peel the pumpkin


Lay pumpkin chunks in a large roasting pan and drizzle generously with olive oil, season well with salt & pepper


Roast in pre-heated oven until nicely browned


Tasty bowl of Roast Pumpkin Soup served with a garnish of Chopped Coriander & Crème Fraîche

RECIPE

Ingredients :
2 small Golden Nugget Sqaush / 1 medium Pumpkin
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 – 4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1L Chicken/Vegetable Stock 
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chopped Fresh Coriander for garnish
Crème fraîche for garnish (optional)
Method :
  • Preheat oven to 200°C
  • You can either not peel or peel the pumpkin/squash…chop them into chunks and scrape away the seeds and surrounding ‘beard’ fibres
  • Lay the chunks of pumpkin/squash in a large roasting pan, drizzle generously with EVO
  • Roast in pre-heated oven, turning once or twice if you like so that pumpkin/squash pieces are well roasted and nicely browned around the edges
  • Heat up 1 Tbsp EOO, add in garlic and coriander powder, pour in 3/4 of the Chicken/Vegetable Stock
  • If pumpkin/squash is unpeeled, scrape the soft flesh of the roasted pumpkin pieces away from the skin or if peeled, tip the flesh into the stock…stir and bring to a low boil
  •  Liquidize in batches, until completely smooth
  • Return the blended soup to a clean pot, taste soup and adjust the seasoning according to liking
  • Add extra stock, if necessary, to get a thick and creamy consistency
  • Heat the soup through without re-boiling and serve each bowl of hot soup garnished with some chopped fresh coriander and a Tbsp of Crème Fraîche