Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jade: Bitemybakchoy

I think I've proclaimed time and time again my love for grocery stores. There's nothing I enjoy more than spending hours just staring at packets and jars, secretly feeling a sense of pride when I discover something new. And it was during one of my little trips to my neighbourhood chinese supermarket that I discovered dried bak choy. For all it's blackened stringiness, I thought it was fascinating..and as a huge fan of fresh bak choy, I couldn't wait to try its alien-looking friend.....Only I didn't quite know what to do with it. A quick browse on google showed it's apparently a popular soup ingredient....I'd certainly never heard of it...but maybe that's because Sarawak's always been 10 years behind anyway:P


Dried bak choy soup

500g pork ribs or chicken...I think I used both since I had a bit of everything in the freezer
small handful red dates
smal handful goji berries
half a packet dried bak choy [around 150g]
Salt to taste

1. Wash and soak dried bak choy in warm water for about 2 hours. It's remarkably sandy, so give it a good scrub. [ that's saying something, coming from me. I dont usually bother washing anything]
2. Dump everything else in a big pot and fill it with water...up to the level of the handles is usually a good estimate.
3. Bring to a boil, then let it simmer on low heat for about an hour..or if you're lazy like me, just leave it until the dried bak choy is ready.
4. Give the veg a final rinse, chop into about 4 segments lengthwise, and add it to your stock.
5. Let it simmer for say another hour? Depends on the bak choy you get really, they can get rather fibrous.
6. Season, inhale the comforting scent....ladle the dark golden liquid into a nice deep bowl..whatever you do, please don't forget a proper chinese soup me old-fashioned, but drinking chinese soup with anything else but a proper soup spoon is an insult to the chef's efforts.
7. Sip away, and let it warm you up from the inside out:)

Note: In case you were wondering, the dried version tastes nothing like fresh bak choy. It smells slightly of seaweed...with a really subtle twang at the end. Tastewise I thought it was similar to 'mei cai', the type used in pork braises.

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