Thursday, January 19, 2012

Soup With an Asian Flair

I am not Asian. I have a good friend that is Thai, though. She cooks for me a lot, for which I am perpetually grateful. She's been busy lately and so I decided to make her Yum Nua for dinner. Now, when she makes me a meal, there is usually a soup starter and rice served on the side. I am lazy and decided to combine the first course of soup with the rice, with a bunch of ideas from other recipes, and food memories to create...

Jasmine Ginger Soup

Ingredients of an estimated nature cuz sometimes I just poured from the bottle. This is ok anyway because soups are always personal and to taste, so taste at many points along the way:

1 chunk of ginger cut off a root, peel removed - about the size of a quarter
2 scallions rough cut and smooshed a bit with the side of your cleaver
4 cups no salt veggie stock (or chicken if you prefer)
1/4 cup Sherry - please get drinkable sherry and not "cooking" sherry. It doesn't have to be the expensive kind.
2 t low sodium soy sauce
1 cup carrots thin sliced on the diagonal - soup eating sized
1/4 cup Jasmine rice, uncooked
a couple dried Shitake mushrooms, reconstituted and chopped small (more if you love mushroom)
1/2 cup Sugar Snap peas or Snow Peas if you like them best, rinsed, ends trimmed and cut with diagonal lines into thirds
2-3 scallions chopped for garnish

How I made it:

In a large pot (with a lid), I combined the ginger, smooshed scallion, stock, sherry, soy sauce, and carrots. Bring to a simmer, cover, and after oh 15 minutes or so, remove the scallion and ginger with a slotted spoon. They are just there to provide lovely flavors to the stock.

Add the rice and simmer covered until the rice is done, about 30 minutes. The amount of rice here makes this a perfect first course soup. Mine sat in the fridge a couple hours before dinner and the rice grew to the point where it was a most filling soup. I may consider cutting it a bit, but not too much depending on what the other dishes are going to be.

About 10-15 minutes before serving, add the mushrooms. It will smell wondrous right now. Inhale deeply. Return to a simmer. About five minutes before serving, add the peas. Because you cannot help yourself, taste the soup stock and adjust the flavors.

Check the flavors:

You may want to add the water the mushrooms were reconstituted in (I did not because my son does not care for mushrooms and I only hoped he would not notice the bits floating about), fresh cracked black pepper, more soy sauce, some ground hot Thai chilis, or any other flavor you think it needs. Remember, there is salt in the soy sauce, so refrain from salting if you can. If you need to, add tiny twists one at a time til it is perfect.

Serve immediately and top with the chopped scallions. I'm making this ahead of time so all I have to do is reheat tonight. I'll post a pic of the soup then!

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