Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
I’ve been making a lot of Chinese home-style soups lately – Nathan has been going through some health challenges lately and all he wants to eat is clear soup. My house smells like Mom’s house when I simmer a pot of soup.
One most frequently asked questions I get is, “what’s your favorite recipe from your Mom?” It’s tough to just pick ONE single recipe so I’ll pick my top 3 categories – Fried Rice, Crispy Spring Rolls and Soup – any Chinese soup.
Soup is easy to make, but tough to master. Simply boiling ingredients and adding enough salt will make anything from flavored water to somewhat decent soup. I’m talking about making a broth that’s rich and concentrated but also clear and clean.
What is clear and clean soup? Well the French technique to making clear soup, or consommé, is to stir in egg whites. The proteins of the egg whites will collect and trap all of the sediment and fat from the soup, which then gets discarded.
The Asian way is different:
In this recipe for Chinese Diakon and Carrot soup – you can use one or both techniques. I bring a big pot full of water to a rapid boil, then add in my meat/bones. I let it boil like crazy. This violent boiling action “scrubs” the meat and bones, forcing the impurities to be released. Let this happen for 10 minutes and then discard the water and fill the pot with new, clean water to create the broth.
I know your next question….”Doesn’t the par-boiling take away a lot of the flavor?”
The answer is no. Unless you count that scuzzy stuff as flavor. You don’t want that crap in your soup anyways. The real flavor of soup comes from a long, slow, gentle simmer of the meat and bones. Unless you use a pressure cooker, which I sometimes do too. But that’s a different sort of cooking technique.
This recipe, like all of my recipes, is flexible. Don’t eat pork? Use chicken instead. No daikon? Try potato. No dried shrimp/scallops? It’s optional.