Tag Archives: Soup

Bacon Potato Leek Soup

Bacon Potato Leek Soup

My kids love soup. However, growing up in a Chinese family, soup equates to something you drink at the beginning or at the end of a meal but never as a meal itself. Usually, the soup we drink is a broth that cleanses our bodies and helps us stay healthy. My kids were also introduced to drinking cleansing broths at my mother’s house. Later on, I learned my mom’s cleansing soup recipes and made them for my kids too. So my kids are growing up drinking cleansing broths like me.

When I initially introduced thicker soups as meals, my boys were flabbergasted. They thought it was weird that the soup was so thick and considered them non-soups. As a mom, I would keep on making foods that my kids originally rejected hoping that they would eventually respond well to them. After making my Roasted Butternut Squash Soup a few times along with bribing them with my Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (Finish the soup first, THEN you can have the grilled cheese!), they slowly opened themselves up to drinking or eating soup that is less brothy.

So when I made this Bacon Potato Leek Soup, they were in heaven. They declared that it was the best soup I ever made. I concluded when you add bacon to any food, kids would eat them. I dedicate this Memorable Dish to all the moms with kids who claim to have aversions to certain foods but eventually embrace them. (Yay for moms due to their nagging, I mean persistent effort!)Bacon Potato Leek Soup

Bacon Potato Leek Soup

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Serving Size: 6

Ingredients

  • 3-4 Leeks, white and light green parts only, roughly chopped (approximately 6 cups)
  • 2 lbs Potatoes (Yukon gold or Russet), peeled, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 6 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 cup Smoked Bacon, small dice
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. In a large pot, brown the smoked bacon. (You could add a bit oil to render the fat if you want to but not necessary.)
  2. Strain the bacon and leave 1 tbsp of bacon fat in the pot.
  3. Add the leeks to the pot and cook them until softened (approx. 5 min).
  4. Add potatoes, bacon, stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are softened (approx. 15 min).
  5. Turn the heat off.
  6. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.
  7. Bring the puréed soup to a boil.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Note #1: Clean the leeks thoroughly by cutting off the top and dark green parts. Then cut the leek in half, lengthwise and rinse out any dirt in between the leek

Note #2: If you don’t have smoked bacon, just use a few slices of regular bacon.

http://www.memorabledishes.com/bacon-potato-leek-soup/

Alphabet Soup

Alphabet Soup

This Memorable Dish was requested by my second son because he was sick this past week. It was definitely a sick soup week for all. When one person in the family gets sick, at least two out of the five (but usually more) will also get sick. Luckily (or maybe unluckily) I never get sick, which means I am the one taking care of the sickies. Growing up Chinese, when we get sick, we eat congee such as my Century Egg and Pork Congee. We also avoid certain foods. For example, when we get a cough, we never eat oranges or drink cold drinks. We also make special drinks or soups to nourish ourselves when we’re sick. So on top of making the specially requested alphabet soup, I have also been making drinks and soups using Chinese herbs. But we’ll save special nourishing Chinese soups for another post. Now back to alphabet soup…

I love that the boys request certain foods depending on what mood they are in. They have equated soupy noodles as foods that they like to eat when they are sick. My second son requests special foods quite often. He has been requesting Spaghetti and Meatballs and macaroni and cheese and even offered to help me cook them because he loves these dishes so much. I love to get reminders on what to make from time to time. With busy weekdays, I often make my usual go-to dishes (some kind of meat/fish with rice and veggies). It’s nice to hear special requests because that means they enjoy the food I make for them 🙂 .

When I told the boys that I’m making Alphabet Soup, they all cheered. Sickies and non-sickies alike enjoy this Memorable Dish. Even though you could make this soup with any shaped pasta, using the alphabet pasta was extra special to them. They always ask for seconds for this simple and quick dish. I don’t know why I don’t make it more often because this dish really makes them so happy! Then again, if I make it often, it might not be so special afterall 😉 .Alphabet Soup

Alphabet Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serving Size: 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of cooked alphabet pasta
  • 1/2 cup diced Ham (or whatever leftover meats you have on hand, I’m using turkey Kolbassa this time)
  • 1/2 cup frozen Corn (defrosted)
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth (Homemade or your favourite store-bought brand)
  • Splash of Vegetable Oil
  • Salt and White Pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Prepare alphabet pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Drain pasta in colander, add vegetable oil and mix to prevent from sticking.
  3. Bring the chicken broth to a boil and add pasta, ham, and corn.
  4. Once the broth boils again, it’s ready to serve.
http://www.memorabledishes.com/alphabet-soup/

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I am beginning to enjoy this time of year. I used to dread the Fall season because the weather gets cooler and summer clothes and flip flops get put away. Now when the leaves turn orange, brown and red, I think of eating warm and nourishing foods. I love that the colours of the vegetables in season also resemble the colours of the leaves.

Butternut squashes and other types of squashes dominate the grocery store this time of year. It’s hard not to buy them and make something out of them. The kids really enjoy this Memorable Dish, but this wasn’t always the case. They were used to drinking Chinese cleansing soup which is clear, so drinking this thick soup was weird to them. Now that they’re older and their taste has evolved, they are embracing this mushy soup. I make different versions of this soup and my oldest son really likes it with cumin added in.

I have tried roasting the butternut squash with the peel on, but the results are better if you peel it first. If you leave the peel on, the flavour gets left behind on the peel. Since you scoop the flesh out after roasting, the caramelization is left on the peel where the flavour is. To give this soup extra oomph, I tossed in a few garlic cloves to roast with the squash.

This is one of the recipes that you can’t really screw up and can make on the fly with a few ingredients on hand. If you want to sauté some onions and carrots, feel free to do so. I make this soup different every time and everyone always loves it! Enjoy this super easy (except for the peeling of the butternut squash part :P) and delicious Memorable Dish while the squashes are in season.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 5 cloves of Garlic, peeled
  • Olive Oil
  • 4 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place butternut squash and garlic on roasting pan and put enough olive oil to coat everything. Toss and make sure all the pieces are coated.
  3. Roast butternut squash and garlic for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Flip them around with a spatula and roast for another 20-30 minutes or until brown.
  5. In a pot, put the roasted butternut squash, garlic, cumin and stock.
  6. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.
  7. Bring the puréed soup to a boil.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then drizzle olive oil on top if desired.

Notes

Use more or less broth depending on the consistency you like or the size of your butternut squash.

http://www.memorabledishes.com/roasted-butternut-squash-soup/

Ramen Noodles

Ramen Noodles

As the weather is getting cooler, I crave for a bowl of hot ramen noodles. Ramen noodles – not the fancy kind you eat at Japanese restaurants where they brew the broth with pork bone and meat for hours. But the instant kind. Every Asian household always has instant ramen noodles stocked up in their pantry at all times. Thus, instant ramen noodles should be a Memorable Dish for all Asians.

Instant ramen noodles is a comfort food to many Asians growing up. We know it’s not the healthiest thing on earth but we just love it. Asians don’t just eat the plain ramen noodles right out of a package but have extra add-ons to make the noodles extra yummy. Plus, if you are making them for your friends and family, it creates the illusion that you made some effort in cooking this dish and not just boiling instant noodles.

I personally blanch the noodles and rinse it with cold water and then reheat the noodles with the broth. If you don’t want to do that, just cook the ramen according to the package. I happen to have some of my homemade leftover Chinese BBQ Pork so I put that, veggies and a fried egg as my toppings. Put your favourite ingredients on your ramen and enjoy!
Ramen Noodles

Ramen Noodles

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 pack instant Ramen
  • Slices of leftover or fresh meat (chicken, beef, pork, etc.)
  • Fresh Vegetables
  • Fried Egg
  • Slices of Scallions (optional)

Preparation

  1. Boil the ramen according to the package.
  2. Top with cooked meat, vegetables, fried egg, scallions or any desired topping.
  3. Eat and enjoy!
http://www.memorabledishes.com/ramen-noodles/

Wonton Soup

Wonton Soup

I believe in most Cantonese Chinese households, girls (and possibly some boys) grow up helping their moms make wontons. I remember making wontons as a kid growing up. I love making wontons! It’s so therapeutic, almost as therapeutic as cleaning squids (or maybe it’s just me 😉

We would sit around the table with a big bowl of meat mixture made up of ground pork and shrimp wrapping away. The inexperienced ones (usually the younger kids) would stuff too much mixture into the wrapper causing the wontons to burst. We always thought there wasn’t enough meat in there. We forgot we still had to close the wrapper after putting the meat in.

If you have witnessed professionals wrapping wontons, it’s like watching a Chinese Speedy Gonzales. You see the beginning and before you know it, it’s finished. Everything in between is a big blur. If there was a video camera to capture this action, it would go something like this (imagine viewing this in slow motion.) Wonton wrapper in hand. The other hand scoops the meat mixture with a knife or chopsticks. Then fast as lightning, smears the meat gingerly onto the wrapper. As soon as the meat mixture leaves the knife or chopsticks, the hand holding the wrapper closes and at the same time pinches the wonton shut.

The people in our family, of course, are not professional wonton wrappers. We would do it at normal speed and sometimes break the wrapper with too much meat or not handling the wrappers delicately enough. It took me about 45 minutes to wrap the whole package of wontons by myself. (You can easily speed up the wonton-wrapping process by recruiting other members of your family or friends.) However, this Memorable Dish tastes so much better than the professional ones because it’s made with love. You can serve wontons by themselves with soup or noodles added.

Wonton Soup

Wonton Soup

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of Ground Pork
  • 1/2 pound of Shrimp, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tsp of low sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp White Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 package of Wonton Wrappers (small thin ones)
  • 6 to 8 cups Chicken Broth (if you’re serving noodles with it, you’ll need more)
  • 1-2 stalks of Scallions, diced
  • Small bowl of Water for sealing wontons
  • Water for boiling wontons

Preparation

  1. Mix the ground pork, shrimp, soy sauce, salt, sugar, cornstarch, white pepper, sesame oil, water and egg in a big bowl.
  2. Place a sheet of wonton wrapper on the palm of your hand.
  3. Scoop about 1 teaspoon of meat mixture onto the wrapper.
  4. Lightly wet the edges of the wrapper with a bit of water with your finger.
  5. Close the wonton wrapper by lining up one of the corner to the other, creating a triangle. Then bunch the other corners to the middle creating a small pouch.
  6. Fill your large pot 3/4 full of water and bring it to a boil.
  7. Put the wontons to boil a few batches at a time. Be sure not to overcrowd them.
  8. Once the wontons float to the top (approximately 3 minutes), they are done. Use a slotted spoon and scoop them out. Finish boiling the rest of the wontons. Set aside.
  9. Bring the chicken broth to a boil.
  10. Place the wontons in a bowl and put hot chicken broth on top. Garnish with scallions.
  11. You can also serve the wontons with noodles. Prepare noodles according to package. Place noodles in a bowl, top with wontons. Scoop hot broth over it and garnish with scallions.

Notes

Note #1: Sometimes the wrappers stick together, be careful not to tear them.

Note #2: You can make the wontons ahead or make extras and freeze them on a tray. Put them into bags after they’re frozen. You don’t need to defrost them when boiling. Just boil them a little longer since they are frozen.

http://www.memorabledishes.com/wonton-soup/

Imitation Shark Fin Soup (碗仔翅)

Imitation Shark Fin Soup

Even before it was politically incorrect to eat shark fin soup, I’ve always liked the fake version better. Maybe it was the extra MSG or maybe I was super hungry. But this is one of my favourite Memorable Dishes eaten on the streets of Hong Kong as a child. My older brother and I ate this on the streets after swimming. The street vendor had his (probably unlicensed) cart outside of the public swimming pool waiting for hungry post-swimming patrons. He definitely knew who his target audience was! I, like everyone else gets super famished after swimming, that’s why the street imitation shark fin soup was especially tasty and delicious.

When I found this hawker (street vendor) Memorable Dish at T&T (Chinese grocery store chain in Canada), I couldn’t believe it! I hadn’t eaten this soup in so long and when I discovered it, I was super ecstatic. It was still piping hot from its container when I brought it home. I devoured it and thought of my famished self after swimming in Hong Kong when I was little.

When researching for this recipe, I found a couple of versions. One where they use crab meat and store-bought imitation shark fin and another where shredded chicken, pork, and cellophane noodles are used. I adapted my recipe from both of these versions.

Eating this Memorable Dish brought back vivid memories of when my dad took my older brother and I swimming. Every time we went swimming, I looked forward to eating this hot soup filled with yummy goodness. After rediscovering this dish at the supermarket, I knew it wasn’t just about childhood memories. I genuinely enjoyed this dish! The texture of the crunchy black fungus and the meaty goodness soup warms up my mouth and enters into my soul.

Imitation Shark Fin Soup

Imitation Shark Fin Soup (碗仔翅)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Imitation Shark Fin or Cellophane Noodles
  • 1 1/2 cup poached Chicken Breast, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cup poached Lean Pork, shredded
  • 1 cup reconstituted Dried Black Fungus (木耳) thinly sliced (see Note #1)
  • 1 cup canned Bamboo Shoots (strips)
  • 1 Egg
  • 6 cups Chicken Broth
  • Cornstarch Solution (combine 2 tbsp cornstarch with 4 tbsp water)
  • ¼ cup Soy Sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • Dash of White Pepper
  • Dash of Black Vinegar
  • Coriander or sliced green onions for garnish (optional)

Preparation

  1. If you are able to find imitation shark fins, blanch them by pouring boiling water over it and leaving it covered for about 5 minutes. Discard water, drain the fins and set aside.
  2. Bring chicken broth to boil in a pot. Add sliced black fungus and bamboo shoots, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add chicken, pork and blanched shark fins (if using). Bring to a simmer for another 3 minutes.
  4. If using cellophane noodles only, put them at the very end because it cooks super quick.
  5. Before using cornstarch solution, stir again to dissolve mixture. Slowly pour in the cornstarch solution while stirring until you reach the consistency desired. Add soy sauce and season with salt to taste.
  6. Lastly, slowly pour beaten egg to the soup mixture. Turn off heat.
  7. Dish the soup into serving bowls. Garnish with coriander or sliced green onions (if using). Put dash of white pepper and black vinegar to taste.

Notes

Note #1: Use approximately 4 medium size black fungus. It really depends on how big your black fungus is. Soak the black fungus in hot water to soften. Cut around and discard the hard part. Then slice the fungus into thin strips. If you are unable to find black fungus or don’t want to use them, you can use shiitake mushrooms instead. The texture will be different since black fungus is crunchy and the shiitake mushrooms are soft.

Note #2: Poach the chicken and pork in water and you can use the poaching liquid as part of your broth.

Note #3: For thicker soup, add more cornstarch solution. For a thinner soup, don’t add as much solution.

http://www.memorabledishes.com/imitation-shark-fin-soup/

Imitation Shark Fin Soup - 3 pix

Circle of Food – Peking Duck Noodle Soup

My kids love eating at food courts inside of Chinese malls. I guess they love eating in any food court for that matter. They get very excited because it’s a treat and there are lots of places to choose from. What makes the Chinese food courts unique is the fact that they are all individually-owned. It’s a nice break from the franchised restaurants that we are used to at regular malls. It almost feels like we are eating on the streets filled with different food vendors, but in an enclosed and comfortable seating environment.

We often order dishes from different shops so we get to try everything. Since being a parent with young kids, I’ve ordered foods that the kids would eat, but not necessarily what I like to eat. Just the other evening, I went to the Chinese food court with my kids and my mom. As always, I ordered something the kids wanted to eat – fried noodles. I didn’t really want that but ordered it anyways. My mom ended up ordering what I normally like to eat – Peking Duck Noodle Soup. Maybe she wanted to eat that but I got a feeling she ordered it because of me 🙂

This brought back memories of when my mom and I were on a plane ride flying to Hong Kong. I loved that you got to choose between Western or Chinese entrées. For breakfast, there was a choice between congee or omelette. I ordered the omelette and my mom ordered the congee. I took a bite of the omelette and didn’t like it. Without a second thought, my mom gave me her congee. (Just so you know, I was a full-grown adult when it happened). I just voiced my dislike for the omelette and she gave me the congee right away!

I do the same for the kids now. I eat their food when they don’t finish it or I trade with them if they don’t like something. It’s like the circle of life or what I’d like to call – the circle of food. Parents always put their kids’ needs first no matter how old they are.

Just so you know, I have not attempted to make Peking duck at home. Even if I did, it would not taste the same as the ones you’d find at your typical Chinese BBQ shop. The method, technique, equipment and all that is involved in making a Peking duck is an art form. You can find Peking ducks sold at Chinese BBQ shops, Chinese restaurants that specialize in BBQ, or at select Chinese grocery stores. Once you buy your Peking duck, this dish is super easy to prepare and very comforting to eat.

Peking Duck Noodle Soup

Peking Duck Noodle Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Roasted Peking Duck*
  • 1 package of Jiang Xi Rice Vermicelli
  • 8 small stalks of Shanghai Bok Choy (Wash and cut in half.)
  • 5 cups of homemade Chicken Stock or store-bought Chicken Broth
  • 2 slices of Ginger
  • 2 cloves of whole Garlic
  • 2 stalks of Green Onion (Use the white part to infuse the broth and thinly slice the green parts as garnish.)
  • *You can buy ½ or whole roasted Peking ducks at Chinese BBQ shops. Don’t forget to ask for extra plum sauce.

Preparation

  1. Boil the vermicelli based on the instructions found on the package.
  2. Drain the vermicelli into a colander and rinse it with cold water.
  3. Put ginger, garlic, white parts of the green onion into the stock/broth and bring it to a boil. (You can take them out after the broth has been infused with these flavours.)
  4. Once the broth is boiled, add the Shanghai bok choy and boil for a minute or so.
  5. Then add the cooked vermicelli.
  6. Once the broth is boiling again. Turn off heat.
  7. Divide up the noodles and bok choy into bowls. Top with broth and sprinkle sliced green onions on the top.
  8. You can place the Peking duck on top of the noodles or you can place them on the side.

Notes

Note #1: If you cannot find Jiang Xi Rice Vermicelli, use whatever rice vermicelli is available at your grocery store. Alternatively, you can always use any type of egg noodles as well.

Note #2: From my package of Jiang Xi Rice Vermicelli, it says to cook for 6-8 minutes. I have to cook them for 10-12 minutes for them to be al dente to soft. Test them out before draining the vermicelli to get the right consistency.

Note #3: If you cannot find Shanghai bok choy, you can use baby bok choy or any type of vegetable that you like.

http://www.memorabledishes.com/peking-duck-noodle-soup/

Jiang Xi Rice Vermicelli

Jiang Xi Rice Vermicelli

 

Macaroni Soup with Ham

Macaroni Soup with Ham

I love Macaroni Soup. My mom used to make it for us when we were kids. I don’t quite recall but I think she used to make it specifically when we were sick. But it was definitely a favourite childhood Memorable Dish of mine. I used to suck on the macaroni tube when it was in my mouth to drink the soup that was trapped in there. What am I saying? I still do it now! I just remember having a lot of fun eating it.

I did a little research and have come to realize that this is a Hong Kong-Western style dish! I thought everyone grew up eating this. In Hong Kong, Macaroni soup with ham is usually eaten for breakfast or lunch. When my kids are sick, the first thing I think of making them is macaroni soup. It’s easy to make, brothy, warm and so yummy to eat.

This is a great alternative to macaroni cheese and a great dish to make for the kiddies. It covers all the basic food groups – carbs, proteins and veggies. I’m sure this Memorable Dish will please children anywhere!

It’s super easy to make when you have everything on hand. It makes a great one-dish meal for children and adults alike. Have this Memorable Dish for breakfast and pretend you are at a Hong Kong-Western style café!

Macaroni Soup with Ham

Macaroni Soup with Ham

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serving Size: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of cooked Macaroni pasta
  • 1/2 cup diced Ham
  • 1/2 cup frozen Corn, Peas, Carrot mix (defrosted)
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth (Homemade or your favourite store-bought brand)
  • Splash of Vegetable Oil
  • Salt and White Pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Prepare macaroni pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Drain macaroni in colander, add vegetable oil and mix to prevent from sticking.
  3. Bring the chicken broth to a boil and add macaroni, ham, and vegetables.
  4. Once the broth boils again, it’s ready to serve.
http://www.memorabledishes.com/macaroni-soup-with-ham/

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