Archives for category: soup

Last time I made kimbap, I used a recipe I found on rasamalaysia.com. I was surprised at how easy it was to make these vegetarian/vegan treats that are great as a side or snacks.

Since then, I found a kimbap recipe from David Chang that was inspired from food he found on his trip to a Buddhist temple in South Korea. Read the rest of this entry »

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When I don’t have time to cook a decent dinner, and don’t feel like going out for dinner, I usually do a soup and sandwich dinner with store bought ingredients to save time. I started with a recipe for pasta e fagioli with fresh fava beans. If not in season or not available, you can substitute frozen fava beans, or peas. Read the rest of this entry »

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The main course for our Sunday meal is Kitsune Udon, which is a Japanese style soup traditionally made with aburaage tofu, fish cakes, and dashi. The name Kitsune Udon comes from a folk tale that foxes love aburaage tofu, therefore the soup literally means “fox udon”.

I added peas, carrots, and shrimp to the aburaage to my udon, but the recipe is easily adaptable to your personal taste.

The first step is to make the dashi, which is the same one I used for the Yosenabe recipe. Since Dashi is made from dried bonito flakes, the soup is not truly vegetarian, however, you can try omitting the bonito and just use the seaweed and dried shiitake mushroom to make the broth. It will not have the unique fishy, saltiness that dashi is known for, but some people may not like the bonito taste anyway.

For the vegetables, I blanched sliced carrots and frozen peas in salted, boiling water for a couple of minutes, drained them, and set them aside.

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I bought premade fresh udon noodles and aburaage tofu from my local Asian supermarket. You can make you own udon noodles and aburaage tofu, but I felt lazy Sunday. To prep the noodles, a pot of water is brought to a boil, and the noodles are quick cooked for a couple of minutes.

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Then the noodles are drained and rinsed in cold water, to stop the cooking process, and set aside.

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While you are preparing the veggies and the noodles, the dashi should be brought to a slow simmer. When you are ready to serve, the noodles, veggies, aburaage, and whatever else you want should be arranged neatly in a bowl.

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Then the hot broth ladled over each bowl, topped with some scallions and sesame seeds, and the udon is ready!

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I also made some cucumber and seaweed Sunomono, which basically means a variety of vinegar based dishes, and “su” means vinegar in Japanese.

My parents were visiting last week and brought with them a ton of Chinese cucumbers from their garden. Chinese cucumbers are longer and crispier than the cucumbers you buy at your local markets. Sometimes they are sold as English or Japanese cucumbers, while I’ve never seen them grow in Japan or England, it’s the only cucumbers I’ve seen in China.

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My Sunomono also consists of hijiki and wakame seaweed. Hijiki seaweed are short skinny things, with a dark red tint to them. Wakame is the more popular type used in miso soup, with a deep green tint. Both seaweeds need to be soaked before eating.

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Wakame takes about 5 minutes or less of soaking in cold water, while hijiki takes about 30 minutes to get fully hydrated. The seaweed should be drained and set aside after it rehydrates.

While the seaweed is soaking, I very thinly sliced my cucumber, then sprinkled the slices with some kosher salt, and set the cucumbers aside to drain for a few minutes.

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The slices should be squeezed of all excess water, then tossed with both seaweeds, and a vinaigrette made from rice vinegar, sugar, and light soy sauce. The Sunomono should be set aside to marinate for about 5 minutes, and finished with toasted sesame seeds and green onions.

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Kitsune udon recipe
Sunomono recipe

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Salsify is a plant from the sunflower family that has a long black root that can be cultivated for food. It’s taste is somewhat similar to oysters, which is why it’s also known as oyster plant. Some of its other names include serpent root and serpent herb.

The first time I’ve heard of this plant was on Top Chef where somebody used it in a recipe, and I had forgotten about this ingredient with a verb like name until I came across it at Central Market.

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Sine I had no prior knowledge of what it looked like, I had to double check the label and the associated sticker to make sure I had the right item. The plant looked a lot like Japanese gobo, when peeled, it exudes a very viscous and sticky material, which is why after its peeled and cut, salsify should be placed in a bowl of water mixed with some vinegar or lemon juice to keep it from discoloration.

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While the salsify is soaking, I started on the rest of the soup. First some chopped bacon is sautéed in a large sauce pan until its crispy and the fat has rendered out. The bacon is removed and finely chopped onions are sweated until softened, then the salsify is drained and added to the pan.

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The onions and salsify are cooked on medium heat until the salsify is almost tender, then white wine is added to the pan and brought to a boil. The heat is turned down to medium, and clam juice, water, and thyme are added to the pan and simmered for another 10 minutes.

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While the soup is simmering, fresh oysters are shucked, also taking note to keep the oyster brine.

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The oysters and brine are kept in the fridge until the soup is ready.

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Once the salsify is tender, the oysters, cream, and cayenne pepper are added to the soup, and simmered until the oysters are cooked through, discarding the thyme sprigs before serving.

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The soup is ladled into bowls and topped with chopped parsley and the bacon bits.

Light and creamy oyster chowder with salsify: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/light-and-creamy-oyster-chowder-with-salsify

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After returning from photographing our friends wedding in Waco, we wanted to do nothing except stay in and relax. My boyfriend wanted something comforting for dinner so I made grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. Of course I couldn’t just make a simple grilled cheese and soup, I wanted to make something more gourmet and interesting. I found a recipe for smoked tomato soup and an open faced grilled gruyere, tomato and Proscuitto sandwich.

The tomato soup is composed of slightly smoked and non smoked tomatoes. I used Roma tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes in the soup, smoking only the heirloom tomato. The smokiness of the soup should be delicate and not overwhelming, which is why only a small quantity of the total tomatoes used is smoked.

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To smoke to tomatoes, I set a single burner outside on my porch, and set a wok with a few pieces of wood chips in it.

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I then put a rack in the wok on top of the wood chips.

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Next I closed the wok with a lid and turned the heat to medium high.


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When the wok begins to emit smoke, I placed the sliced tomatoes on top of the rack and closed the lid for 3 to 5 minutes.

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The tomatoes are removed and cooled, then peeled and set aside. Next, sliced leeks and finly chopped onions are sweated in a pan until soft.

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Then bay leaves, coriander seeds, garlic, and grated horseradish are added to the leeks and onions and cooked for about 2 minutes.

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Chopped tomatoes, chicken stock and sugar are added to the pan and the tomatoes cooked until soft.

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The soup is transferred to a blender with the smoked tomatoes and butter.

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The soup is processed until smooth and then poured into a sauce pan and seasoned to taste with salt and pepper, and kept warm until the sandwiches are ready to be served.

To make the sandwich, thick slices of bread is oiled and toasted. Then a garlic clove is rubbed all over the toast. Two tablespoons of white wine is brushed over the toast and a little bit of raspberry jam spread on the toast.

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Then slices of Proscuitto, tomatoes, and gruyere and cheddar cheese are topped on the toast.

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The toast is returned to the oven or toaster with the broiler on, and toasted until the cheese is melted.

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Cayenne pepper and fresh ground black pepper are sprinkled on top of the cheese.

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Smoked Tomato Soup: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/smoked-tomato-soup
Tomato, Prosciutto and Gruyère Sandwiches: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/tomato-prosciutto-and-gruyere-sandwiches

Yosenabe is a Japanese hot pot dish made with dashi, vegetables, tofu, seafood, and noodles in a nabe, which is a Japanese pot. When the pot is made out of clay, it’s referred to as Donabe, when the pot is made out of cast iron, it’s referred to Tetsunabe (Tetsu = Iron, as in Tetsuo, the Iron Man). There are other types of Nabe dishes in Japanese cooking, but the Yosenabe is one of the most popular and ubiquitous ones. The dish is very easy to make, but time consuming in the preparation of the various type of ingredients in the Nabe. There is no set list of what ingredients you should put in a yosenabe, which makes the dish is very adaptable to your own taste.

I have a Korean Clay pot that I use for Soondubu, which can double as a Donabe. If you don’t have a clay pot, you can substitute a regular pot.

The soup base for my yosenabe is dashi, a broth made out of kombu (dried kelp) and shaved bonito (dried, smoked, fermented skipjack tuna). The kelp is soaked in water in a stockpot for 30 minutes, then brought to a boil. I added a couple of dried shiitake mushrooms to my broth as well. If you don’t have access to fresh shiitake mushrooms, you can substitute the hydrated dried shiitake mushrooms.

As soon as the water boils, the seaweed is removed and the bonito shavings are stirred in. Once the water reboils (which will be very quickly), the heat is turned down, and the broth is simmered for about 5 minutes.

The stockpot is removed from heat, and the stock allowed to steep for 15 minutes. The liquid is then passed through a sieve, taking care not to press on the bonito flakes as it will make the broth cloudy. The dashi should be a golden, clear color. It is set aside until ready to be used. If you do not have access to bonito or kelp, or don’t have the time to make the dashi, you can buy dashi bouillons at Asian supermarkets.

For the ingredients in my nabe, I picked cellophane noodles (soaked for 15 minutes in water, then drained), napa cabbage, tofu, carrots, scallions, and for the seafood, I used scallops, manila clams, shrimp, red snapper. I was going to use chicken thighs in the nabe, but last minute I decided to make a different dish with it.

To assemble the donabe, the cabbage is layered on the bottom layer.

Then topped with the cellophane noodles, the tofu, and the shiitake mushrooms.

The rest of the vegetables and the seafood are layered on top of the tofu and the mushrooms in a neat fashion. Mirin and light soy sauce are added to the dashi, and the broth is poured on top of the ingredients.

The donabe is slowly brought to a boil. If you are using clams, you want to make sure they all open before the broth is done.

My finished yosenabe looks a mess, becuase I was poking around, trying to make sure all the clams were open, but it still tasted delicious!!! Even though it’s a hot soupy dish, the fish, tofu, and veggies make it a very light and healthy dish that can be enjoyed year round.

Yosenabe Recipe: http://rasamalaysia.com/nabe-yosenabe-japanese-hotpot/

Moqueca is a traditional Brazilian seafood stew that has a long history. It is composed of fish, tomatoes, garlic, onions and cilantro, with no water added. Moqueca from Bahia is influenced by African cuisine, and in addition to the traditional ingredients, dende, or palm oil, coconut milk, and shrimp are added to the stew.

I decided to try a Moqueca Baiana recipe from Daniel Boulud, and turned out to be a creamy, almost curry like soup, packed with shrimp and squid, topped with tomatoes and hearts of palm. I made it for a weekday meal, but I think I would definitely make it again for a crowd.

The shrimp is shelled and devined and mixed together the the rest of the seafood in a marinade of smoked paprika, garlic, ginger and dende oil ( I substituted peanut oil).

The seafood is covered and refrigerated for at least 4 hours. In the meantime, a stock is made out of shrimp shell, onion, ginger, cilantro stems, white wine vinegar, thyme and water. The stock is brought to a boil, and simmered for 45 minutes, then strained.

To make the soup, a roux of oil and flour is heated and cooked over low heat until foamy.

Coconut milk and the shrimp stock is added to the pot and simmered for 5 minutes, and the soup is set aside and kept warm.

In another large pot, onion and tomatoes are sauteed until softened.

The marinated seafood is added to the pot and cooked for 2 minutes.

Soup is added to the pot and simmered until the seafood is cooked through, and the cilantro leaves are added to the pot.

To make the toppings for the soup, fresh chopped tomatoes and heart of palm is cooked over high heat in a small pan for 1 minute. The tomatoes and heart of palm is added to the soup.

I made coconut cashew rice to go with the stew, which is basically cooked Basmati rice heated over medium heat with roasted cashew and toasted coconut flakes.

To serve, the rice is divided in bowls, and the seafood soup is ladled over the rice and topped with extra hearts of palm and tomatoes.

Brazilian Seafood Soup (Moqueca): http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/brazilian-seafood-soup-moqueca
Coconut Cashew Rice: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/coconut-cashew-rice

It’s been a very mild winter in Austin, but it finally got chilly Sunday and we even had some styrofoam-like snow in the afternoon. I love winter months because I like eating hearty soups, and nothing feels more comforting than having a hot bowl of soup on a cold gray winter day.

As I was scanning my pantry for ingredients that I already have, I noticed these Vidalia Onions that I’ve had for a while, and the thought popped into my head to make French Onion soup. I have never made, nor have had french onion soup, mainly because I thought a soup composed of onions must be pretty boring. My boyfriend got me a French cooking book a while ago, and the recipe looked pretty interesting. I also had a pack of fresh shitake mushrooms left over from the Vegan Enchiladas I made the other night, so I decide to adapt the recipe into a French onion and mushroom soup.

The basics of the French onion soup is to sweat thinly sliced onions in some butter or olive oil on low heat for 30-40 minutes until the onions are lightly browned. I added the mushrooms about 10 minutes into the onion cooking process, since I think mushrooms takes slightly shorter time to brown than onions.

After about 30 minutes, your onions should be translucent and very pliable, and your mushrooms should be very soft as well. Keep cooking until you see brown spots on either the onions or the mushrooms like below.

I added about 4 cups of vegetarian broth into the mushroom/onion mixture, and let that sit for about 15 minutes on medium low heat.

The recipe called for the onion mushroom soup to be pureed in a food processor, but I personally prefer being able to eat bite sized mushrooms and onions with my soup, so I only pureed half of the onion mushroom soup and mixed the whole pieces of vegetables back in afterwards. It’s important to taste, and season the soup at this point.

The finished soup is ladled into individual soup bowls or large ramekins, topped with toasted pieces of bread and sliced grueyer cheese, and popped into the oven to broil for about 5 minutes. You want to watch the cheese on top carefully because it’s easy to burn the toast and cheese.

The cheesy toast on the top of the soup actually turned out to be my favourite part of the dish, it was crunch near the surface but soft and juicy on the bottom where it soaks up the onion soup. It is definitely something I would make again. I served the onion soup with some corned beef reuben sandwichs and pared it with a fruity Pinot Noir.

The French onion mushroom soup is vegetarian by it self, and I could definitely have eaten it with some chunky hot bread and called it a meal.

The French onion soup recipe I used is from the Complete Robuchon cookbook.