As the temperatures are gradually getting lower over here, soups are most welcomed. I prefer chunky soups but do enjoy pureed ones as well. Yesterday night I felt more like a light chunky soup and Chinese soups are my favourite kinds of soup. And they are pretty simple to make too.
Just before serving, I threw in some raw mung beans sprouted at home. They add flavour and crunch to the soup. The mung beans were still newly sprouted, just after five days.
You can sprout your own beans too. Just place some mung beans on a plate or large bowl. Cover with water but not completely. The beans should be half in water and half in contact with air. Place in a corner where the beans won’t be in direct sunlight. Check water daily and add as required. Another way you could do this to line a colander with a wet cloth and add the beans on top of the cloth. Keep cloth wet.
Sprouted beans can be used raw in salads or cooked in soups and stir fries.
One thing about the rice noodles to use. Be sure to get a good brand that does not go all soggy as soon as it is immersed in boiling water. Or some brands also have a tendency to break into small pieces. I guess you’ll have to try different brands to know which ones are good. I used this one but don’t know if it’s available everywhere.
So yesterday for diner and today for Sunday brunch I had this nice warm Chinese soup.
Ingredients (4 servings)
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 bunch Chinese greens, chopped to 3 – 4 cm in length (adjust quantity according to volume yielded)
10 – 12 dried shitake mushrooms (soaked in hot water for at least ½ hour), sliced
1 can baby corn, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 piece ginger (3 – 4 cm long), grated or finely chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 layers rice noodles (or 250 g)
Water as needed to make soup
- Place rice noodles in a big bowl of cold water. Allow to soak for 45 minutes. (Do not over-soak. It’s preferable to leave them slightly crisp).
In a non-stick deep pan or wok, add 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce and half a glass of water or mushroom water*.
- Add sliced mushrooms and allow to simmer for 5 minutes on medium heat.
- Add carrots, baby corn and ginger.
- Cook for 7 – 10 minutes or until carrots are tender (but not completely soft).
- Mix the cornstarch in a little cold water.
- Add this to the pan. Stir and mix well. Sauce will thicken. Add more water or mushroom water (if left) as required. The amount of sauce here doesn’t really matter as this will become a soup anyway.
You can also leave this quite thick if you want to keep the vegetables separate from the bouillon. It might be better for storing left-overs in this way.
To make bouillon:
- In another pan, bring 4 bowls (serving size) of water to boil.
- Mix 1 teaspoon cornstarch with some cold water. Add this to the water.
- Add salt to taste.
- Add noodles and greens. Simmer for 2 – 3 minutes.
To serve, place noodles in serving bowl, top with the vegetable stir fry and add a few large spoonfuls of bouillon together with the greens.
Add bean sprouts and a dash of fresh lemon juice if you like a tangy taste.
Optional: adding 1 tablespoon of miso paste to the soup in the serving bowl is also quite nice.
This soup can also be made in less time if you use fresh mushrooms or canned ones (you won’t have to allow for soaking time). You can also just add the dry rice noodles to the bouillon and boil for a little longer.
*mushroom water – this is the water that is used to soak the mushrooms in. It gives a nice flavour to the soup.