To continue a bit of the bite of Asia…. cause its sooooo huge and i really wanna share new things not like the “magic of curry” like always… however we had this f8ckin amazing blog-post already about curry – that was one of my favorite project anyway, worth to check it out… :) ok, i am not going to talk about curry this time. Let me tell u something – what i would never guess before….
South-Eastern Asia is being cooked in their on juice…. hmmmm. And yes. The most traditional food u can see and/or need to try there is the soup. Obviously there are millions and millions of different types – but still served in a ball with massive amount of liquid.
For me it was extremely interesting: the temperature in these countries usually between 25-35 degrees (no summer and winter just dry and wet) and still… The already sweaty people are slurping their boiling hot soups in 30 degrees sitting in the sun getting more and more sweaty…. sounds fun heh? Well – this is whats happening there. People eat soup all they – but mostly for breakfast. U hear that? No egg on toast or sausage w/ bacon, not even yoghurt with cornflakes and muesli… :D Boiling hot rice-soup to get enough energy for starting the new day. GOOD MOOOOORNING EVERYONE!
Lets get a little bit closer. Its good – contains more liquid what u drink and support your body. Boiling hot? Definitely sterilize all the other ingredients as well – cooked noodles, tofu, meat etc. With one word: safe. In our travel were two things safe (ok ok ok – actually nothing was 100% safe but for this reason we have a strong healthy body): 1. the food which was grilled right in front of you on a BBQ and u could eat ·a la minute·, or 2. boiling hot soup. And WE DO LIKE SOUPS!
*footnote: i almost forgot to tell u that actually the soup is the most popular STREETFOOD what u can find in every corner. U must think that this is the easiest thing to make especially if u dont even need to blend the vegetables to get a cream… hehehe … Well thats true. But the people are busy and have no time. Making a stock is one of the most time consuming process in the kitchen, easily can take a day or more. For this reason: u eat soup on the street – however i will share some delicious recipe if u have plenty of time to dancing around the kitchen.
- onion and ginger (unpeeled) – roasting in the over then clean and slice
- blanch the chicken bones
- in a large pot with clear water cook the bones and onion&ginger with some salt and brown sugar for about 4 hours in very low heat – skimming off any scum from the surface
- strain the liquid and leave it to cool down – refrigerate overnight so u can skim some of the fat from the surface (u should leave some for better flavor and mouthfeel)
- its exactly the same process but using a bit different ingredients for stronger flavor
- bones: neck, shank, marrow
- spices: white pepper, cinnamon, star anise, clove, black cardamom
- same stuff
- bones: meaty bones and pieces with lots of cartilage (like trotter, ears, skin)
But first of all… how does this soup look like?
In Asia the soup is never ever creamy. Its just doesnt exist. They love it clear filled with flavors so they are making different stocks as a base of all (chicken, pork, beef, seafood, vegetable…). The stock is always light and rich- never thickened and heavy. U can see mostly “consomme” types – however people use sometime milk or coconut to finish their base reaching the balance. And of course we can not forget about the main ingredients served in the soup:
- texturally interesting soft elements ( noodles, rice )
- crunchy bits ( bean sprouts, fried shallots, crushed nuts )
- chewy things ( meatballs, slices of beef or shredded chicken )
- last touch: fresh herbs, toasted garlic, chilli oil, chopped spring onions
After all this let me introduce my very favorite soups asian style:
TOM KA GAI
This is one of the “thai”-est soup u can ever imagine. Contains everything u love of Asia and still not heavy or overspiced. Good example of using coconut (milk). U can use any type of protein again – the most popular version is with chicken though. This soup has got a big brother (TOM YUM) which is basically the same stuff just left it clear, without any coconut. I would suggest to jump on this one – hardly can imagine another soup which easier to make.
- chicken meat sliced
- coconut milk
- chicken stock
- sliced young galangal (or ginger instead)
- chopped mature galangal
- lemongrass preped
- lime juice
- fish sauce
- kaffir lime leaves
- chopped coriander stalk
HOT AND SOUR
Usually this type of soup calls for tamarind (for sour) and fruit, like pineapple (for sweetness). It should have a beautifully composed balance of all – the best if u make it with prawns or langoustines cause the natural sweetness they have. Oh, and its really easy to make.
- chicken stock
- fish sauce
- lime juice
- prawns, langoustines etc…
- pineapple cubes
- for serving: bean sprouts, fresh herbs, toasted garlic
My very very very favorite soup of all (maybe because this reminds me the most of my mothers hearty clear soup in every Sunday lunch at home long loooong time ago :))… For this essential to have a great, rich and light stock made ahead and get ready with the other ingredients as well – have the noodles cooked, the meat sliced, the herbs picked… After all just boil your soup and warm up the serving balls.
If i can choose – i would go for Pho Bo, the beef version. I tell u why. Just get your warm balls. Put the noodles inside. It usually contains two or more cuts of the beef cooked well – like brisket – and my very favorite piece: some thin slices of raw topside or fillet. U put them on the noodles and then pour the boiling hot soup all over it (see how important for the liquid being hot to cook the raw meat “a la minute” just as much as its necessary). I love this whole ceremony as it is – its a bit like “cooking your own soup” while u see the raw meat getting ready and changing color. SuperCool. Of course u serve the ·toppings· on the side and never inside (imagine your mint leaves swimming in the boiling juice… till realize that u are actually drinking mint tea – instead of beef soup :)))))
- beef stock
- beef brisket (cooked)and topside slices (raw)
- fish sauce
- cooked rice noodles
- sliced spring onion
- garnish: thai basil, bean sprouts, lime wedges, sliced chilli etc…