Chinese soups are very distinctive from all others. It is slowly boiled with lots of love. Sometimes, soups symbolise the love a woman has for her family, spouse and children. It is like some magical love potion. The different dialects of the Chinese have different ways of cooking soups. The best comes from the Cantonese. Various kind of soups are made to promote good health, recovery from illness, strengthen the body, calm a person and a host of other beliefs.
When I was just married, my mother-in-law would constantly nagged me to make ginseng soup for her son. It was supposed to revitalise the male energy and *ahem* give sexual prowess. Nope, I did not boil the soup ‘cos I found it insulting to have another woman teaching me how to take care of my husband. (evil daughter-in-law)
The photo above is a tureen of double-boiled, salted vegetable soup. It has meats, salted vegetables, tomatoes, ginger and sour-plum. I had been to this shop a few times because not everyone can cook soup like them. Shop is located in Pulau Tikus, few shops away from Poly Cafe/Baskin Robbins. I am not sure of the shop’s name but I do know that they have a stall selling Beijing Roasted Duck Rice.
It isn’t hard to double-boil soup. What we need is a slow-cooker or crock pot. Dump the water, meat/bones, vege and let it be. Simple, isn’t it?
- A few combination ideas – Meat/bones, tomato/potato/carrots/onions/pepper & salt
- Dried octupus/red dates/meat or bones combine with any of these hardy vege – white radish, lotus root, old cucumber or water cress.
- One can also easily get pre-packed Chinese herbs to boil with meat/bones.
- Beef or mutton, white radish, onions, a single cinnamon stick, star anise, black peppers will make a very ‘meaty’ soup ( I think this is a Hainanese creation)
Look out for more recipes from MyMomsBest site.
However, I have a few variety of soups that I only cook during festive seasons like:
- Salted vegetable and duck (kiam chye ark)
- Too tor th’ng (pig’s maw)
- Sea cucumber soup with meat balls
- Fish maw soup
I am very glad that I inherited my mom’s cooking skills as these soups have served as a memory of her.
Never under estimate the power of being able to cook. I know of someone whom strayed from his marriage purely because the other woman is a better and much loving cook than the wife. He couldn’t resist the temptation of returning to his 2nd home, a place where hot soup (no pun intended) is served.