Saturday, January 10, 2009

water crest soup

This isn't a Vietnamese soup since I never had it growing up, at least not being cooked this way. My Mom has made salads and other main dishes using water crest, even water crest soup cooked with ground pork, but the taste of the soup broth is remotely different. This is a Chinese (Cantonese?) version that was introduced to me by the hubbie back when we were still dating. The soup broth is a bit "sweet". I've very soon picked up this one of his favorite soups as my fav also. Come to think about it, the hubbie is pretty easy going at eating since he has a...lot... of favorites.

This soup is earthy, healthy, yummy, and easy to make.

+ 2 bundles of water crest, washed.
+ 1 lb of pork ribs, cut into smaller pieces (remove the fat if you like)
+ (Optional) 20-30 dried almond seeds
+ 1 dried sweeten fig (see picture). This is usually sold in a plastic package at Asian grocery or herbal store like Wing Hop Fung
+ My "secret ingredient" :-) is a few small pieces of "tran bi`" (dried citrus peel). Some type of citrus peel is already sweeten, so you'll need to adjust the sweet-salty balance of your broth (for example: choose a smaller sized dried fig, add more water and salt to proportion out the extra sugar, etc.)
+ 2-3 tsp salt. Or to taste.

Cooking instruction:
+ Boil a pot of water
+ (Optional) if you have dried almond seeds, add them to the pot and cook from the beginning. These seeds are hard so it'll take a long time to cook them. By adding at the beginning, we give it more cooking time.
+ When boiled, add the pork ribs, 1 dried sweeten fig, and dried citrus peel into the pot
+ Let it cook in the broth for 1/2 hour. Scoop off the foam if any.

  • *Note* The dried fig should be pretty sweet (sometimes I scoop it out after I think I've got enough sweet taste to my soup - and let the soup continue to cook without it)
+ Add the water crest, and lower the heat to medium. Let cook for another 1/2 hour (the vegetable appears all soft) or longer if you want.
+ Add salt and sugar to taste at the end, before turning off heat.

I used to ask the hubbie why they cook until the vegies all soft, presentation wise, it doesn't look as nice, taste wise you can't "eat" the vegetable it pretty much melt in your mouth. This is alot different from the Vietnamese way of cooking, because in Vietnamese cooking at least you want to be able to bite on or chew on the vegetable to savoy its taste and texture. So according to the hubbie, chinese "loo fo" soups (literally translated to "old fire") emphasize only on the broth. That's why they usually cook for a very long time (hence, loo fo) so that all the nutrition and flavor can yield into the broth. All the ingredients that go in a soup (meat, vegetables, etc.) are meant to give nutrition and flavor up the broth and people would mainly drink the broth, sometimes don't even bother about the rest. Interesting concept. But then again, I thought its a little bit wasteful.


shavedicesundays said...

This looks really interesting and healthy, especially with the fig used as a sweetener. I think I'll try it b/c I'm really curious. Thanks for the recipe!

MyCollegeKitchen said...

Shaved Ice Sunday:
Yes it is very healthy. I love to make soups and other soupy noodles, I'll post more soup recipes. Please try and I'd love to hear how it turns out for you guys.

Tan.wiratchada said...

Hello Trang,
My name is Tan. I am a one in million of James Dunn friend hahah...seem you new here. I seen you try to make a website before. What about that one?? Would you mind to join my food blog. Just visit my blog and fig it out. I suggest you join foodie-food buzz we get more traffic, more friends there. Just check and click logo then you fill form to join. Hope to see you there.

Make it more interesting.
Enjoy blogging~*

Tan.wiratchada said...

Oh...forget to tell you interesting and healthy recipe. Thanks for sharing.

MyCollegeKitchen said...

Hi Tan
Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Wow you have alot of blogs :-) I'll have to check your blogs out, I love Thai foods.

Pepsi Monster said...

It's funny about this... I always stir fried the water crest. I never had a water crest soup until I visited a Burmese restaurant not too recently ago. Thanks for this healthy recipe. It looks very easy to make!

MyCollegeKitchen said...

Hi Pepsi Monster
Oh Burmese restaurant? Hm..come to think about it, I don't think i've ever been to one. How does their water crest soup made? is it somewhat similar to mine? Mine is a cantonese version.

Pepsi Monster said...

Hi MyCollegeKitchen,

A lot of these Southeast Asian cuisines have Chinese influences (Vietnamese, Thai, and Burmese). I wouldn't be surprise if they were similar. LOL