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Soups from Around the World

One can find soups almost in all cuisines from around the world. Herbal chicken soups are commonly found in Asian households- different kinds are made depending on health needs and even seasons! Tomato soup is a classic American fare so much so one can find every soup brand selling it. French onion soup is simple to make that I don't know why it took me so long to finally cook one. I hope you enjoy the recipes I've composed below... and stay tuned for future soup recipes!

Herbal Chicken Soup with Glutinous Rice
I was not feeling great and decided to make a hearty chicken soup. I fused two kinds of herbal chicken tonics- Chinese and Korean (Samgyetang.... and it was really good! 
Herbal soups promote health benefits. However, please exercise caution and seek medical advice as some traditional herbs are not recommended for people with health issues such as high blood pressure. 

Ingredients (1 serving):
1 Cornish hen, 1 packet of Chinese traditional herbs for chicken soup, 5 cups of filtered water, 0.25 cup of glutinous rice, 2 tbs table salt for washing, and sea salt to taste

Procedures:
1. Wash glutinous rice until rinsed water runs clear. In a glass bowl, add rice and fill water till an inch above the top of the rice. Soak it for 4 hours or overnight in water
2. Rinse Cornish hen. Trim off fat and remove giblets. Sprinkle table salt all over the hen. Give it a good rub down and rinse off salt. The skin of the hen should look glistening 
3. Drain rice. Fill the rice in the cavity of the hen and gently place hen in a pot. Fill with all the filtered water
4. Rinse off herbs and place it in the pot
5. Bring the ingredients to a boil. Let it boil away for 10 mins before lowering the heat to simmer 
6. Simmer for an hour. Skim off fat on the surface of the soup and season with sea salt to taste
7. Serve while it is hot with your fav dipping sauce or garnish (sliced ginger or scallions)

Notes:
The packet of herbs contained Chuan Xiong (Szechuan Lovage root), Kee chi (Wolfberry fruit),
Yok Chor, Dang Gui (Angelica root), Kan Chow (Licorice root), Kwai Pi, Chuan Hua Chiao, Shu Di (Processed rehmannia root), and Jujube fruit.


French Onion Soup with a twist
Please don't hate me for changing this classic soup recipe. I substituted the cheese with ground beef to accommodate my lactose intolerance. 

Ingredients (Yields 6 servings):
6 medium size onions, 2 carrots, 2 tsps sugar, olive oil, 0.5 1 lb lean ground beef, 3 garlic cloves- crushed, 32 fl oz low sodium beef broth, 32 fl oz low sodium chicken broth, dried Italian herb seasonings, ground black pepper, chili pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce and salt 

Procedures:
1. Slice carrots and onions thinly
2. In a heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm oil and add sugar, sliced carrots and onions. Cook mixture until onions turn golden brown and caramelized while stirring occasionally (40 mins)
3. Add ground beef and crushed garlic. Season with Italian herbs, ground black pepper, chili pepper flakes and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce to your liking. Break ground beef to pieces and mix until beef is cooked through (15 to 20 mins)
4. Add beef and chicken broth. Blend and bring the soup to a boil while stirring occasionally. Cook for 20 mins. Season with salt 
5. Serve soup in individual bowls with sliced toasts

Tip:
- Click here for traditional recipe


Bah Kut Teh
(from scratch, not from the pouch!)
Bah kut teh  is a Malaysian and Singapore version of herbal pork soup, infused with local spices and Chinese traditional medicinal plants. In Malaysia, the most popular soup can be found in Port Klang. Besides pork ribs, one can order with pig's stomach and intestines. It is commonly served with sliced fried Chinese crullers (youtiao), deep fried tofu pouches, shredded fresh lettuce, and sliced bird's eye chilis with chopped garlic soaked in soy sauce. The soup is so popular that one can find a variety of prepared soup pouches containing the dried ingredients in almost every Malaysian Chinese household.
I've decided to give a shot making my own "pouch". Not bad for my first time making from scratch. The soup turned out to be very sweet.

Ingredients:
1 lb pork rib, 2 liters of water, 1 garlic bulb- washed and halved, 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, 2 dried sliced Chinese licorice, 10 dried angelica chips, 4 dried red dates- remove seeds, 1 tbs dried wolf-berries, 1 cinnamon stick, 5 cloves, 1 star anise, 2 tbs dark soy sauce, 1 tbs regular soy sauce, and 0.5 tbs brown sugar   

Procedures:
1. In a medium size pot, place pork ribs and fill it with water until the ribs are covered. Boil over medium heat for 15 minutes to remove the scum. Drain and rinse off the pork ribs. Rinse the pot and wipe it clean so no scum is left
2. Place the pork back to the pot and fill it with 2 liters of water. Bring it back to a gentle boil and then lower the heat to a simmer
3. Wash the dried ingredients and add them in the pot. Stir in the soy sauces and sugars
4. Let the soup boil for 1.5 hours while occasionally skimming the fat and scum away
5. The soup is ready when the meat around the ribs falls off easily 
6. Serve with hot steamy rice and your favorite bah kut teh garnishes


Tasty Tomato Soup
Sometimes, I'd be tired after a hard day at work. Other times, I don't feel like cooking. Very few times, I run out of food and don't feel like going to the store. Here's a simple tomato soup recipe from a can, with a twist and a few tricks for flavor and texture! 

Ingredients:
1 can of tomato soup, a few snips of fresh basil, 5 oz milk and 5 oz water. Freshly ground pepper to taste

Procedures:
1. Pour all the contents of the tomato soup can into a small saucepan
2. Heat saucepan over low heat. Add milk and water. Use a whisk to stir the mixture until everything is incorporated and there is no lumps
3.  When the soup is heated through, add chopped fresh basil and pepper to taste
4. Serve with your favorite grilled cheese sandwich!

Tips:
-I like Campbell's Healthy Request brand
-Milk makes the soup smoother and thicker
- Start whisking immediately after you add milk into the soup to avoid lumps. Use a whisk, not a fork
-You can substitute fresh basil with dried basil and/or herbs like parsley
-I use the can to measure milk and water. This technique helps to clean out the can before recycling!
-Top the soup off with freshly shaved cheese of your liking


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