Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jade: Bitemysoup #2

I went for dinner with my friends the other day, 2 of the safest people I know when it comes to food~think white meat only, and the same order from the same fish & chips shop every week for the past 15 years. So when fish& chip boy remarked on how boring my choice of appetiser was, I was, I think, completely justified in my indignation. It was cream of white onion soup with beer, beautifully thick and creamy with bits of sweet caramelized onion. But as much as it pains me to admit this, I secretly knew what he meant...because I used to think soup was old people food...watery broth with the wilted remains of something that could've been a carrot once... And then my mum bought a book on chinese double-boiled soups. Soup of the day became double-boiled free-range chicken with aged cucumber and wolfberries...wintermelon with pork ribs and dried scallops...lotus root and soft peanuts with belly pork....all gorgeously clear yet so packed with flavour and depth..My little bowl of soup was no longer something I gulped down at the end of dinner...it became the star of my meal, something I looked forward to and eventually savoured..sip by sip..

For the record, 'soup is boring' boy~he had garlic bread.

Double-boiled chicken and dried shiitake mushroom soup~ the perfect remedy for homesickness

2 chicken thighs, chopped and trimmed of excess fat
5-6 pieces dried shiitake
small handful wolfberries
small handful dried scallops
2 honey dates
salt to taste

1. Blanch chicken pieces in boiling water and drain. This is meant to yield a clearer soup.
2. Dump everything in the top half of your double boiler and fill with cold water, leaving about a 2 inch margin from the top. There is a reason for using cold water...I just don't know what it is..I do as I'm told.
3. Once the water in the bottom half of the double boiler is boiling, lower the heat, fit the top half over it and let simmer for a few hours. I normally just leave it for the afternoon. Do check in periodically to make sure the bottom pot hasn't dried out.
4. Season to taste and enjoy piping hot.
5. Alternatively, boil some mee sua and have yourself the best bowl of noodle soup you'll ever have.
** If you don't have a double boiler, simmer over very low heat. The pressure cooker for all it's conveniences is not your friend.

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