Saturday, January 07, 2006

Black-Eyed Beans, Dried Oyster and Pork Bone Soup

Made this soup just the other day when I managed to buy some black-eyed beans (see pic on the left) from the Lip Sin market. My Hokkien is just enough to get me by in Penang so I had to resort to asking my husband to translate for me (he's Hokkien so that's not a problem for him!). The woman we buy from said it's called "pek dao" in Hokkien.

Anyway, black-eyed peas or beans (or known as cow peas sometimes), whichever way you call it, is an easy and digestable type of bean very much suitable for the elderly and the young. It's considered neutral in terms of yin and yang (some are considered 'warming' or 'cooling' and therefore certain people with certain body constitutions might react to the food).

They are also a good source of fiber and helps to get rid of cholesterol in the body. As with all beans, they are also a good source of folate, potassium, copper, phosporous and manganese. Plus I heard that these beans help reduce blood pressure.

Well this black-eyed beans soup is very easy to make. And it serves 2 persons well for 2 meals- lunch and dinner.

Just bear in mind some simple steps when simmering this soup:

1. Remember to blanch the meat/chicken/pork in boiling water for 5 minutes before you add the meat to the soup proper. This gets rid of the scum which floats to the top of the soup and gets rid of the blood and icky stuff from the meat bones (usually pork bones have a lot of this scummy residue).

2. After blanching the meat, rinse the meat under flowing tap water for a few minutes to get rid of any bits of fats and scum.

I'm a stickler for simple soups so what you need for this soup are:
  • 1-2 cups of black-eyed beans, soaked in water for 10 minutes or so (the beans soften quickly in the soup so you don't have to worry)
  • 300 gm of pork rib bones (blanched and rinsed)
  • 1 knob of old ginger
  • 6-8 dried oysters (see pic below)

Dried oysters add a wonderful flavour to soups.

Bring a pot of water to boil (about 1.5 liters of water). Add in all four ingredients. Bring all to a rolling boil for 10 minutes (do not cover pot at this stage).

After 10 minutes, lower stove fire to the lowest. Cover pot with lid. The soup should merely "bubble" along slowly. Leave soup to "bubble" along for 2 hours.

Add 2 teaspoons of salt, a dash of pepper, 1 teaspoon brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of good quality soya sauce to taste about 10 minutes before you turn off the fire. (I never add MSG into my soups but you can if you want to.)

Serve hot.
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