Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Soup for Vegetarians

It's often difficult to find soups which cater specifically for vegetarians as most Chinese TCM soups do contain some meat or other.

I got this recipe from Bao Ma, that famous Taiwanese mother of Ah Bao (Eric Tsang's bubbly daughter who is a TV host in Taiwan). A few years ago, Ah Bao and her mum (or Mrs Eric Tsang) did a cooking show over TV - all about soups! How I loved that show. I was inspired to be more kitchen-friendly after viewing those episodes.

Bao Ma used to recommend super simple soup recipes which I often scribbled down, and that's how I brushed up on my Mandarin. I never went to a Chinese school (which is often a big regret) but I have always felt at home with Mandarin. I do speak the language though, and am able to read basic Mandarin. With Bao Ma's how to make soup TV series, it was two favourite passions rolled into one: I got to learn how to make soups and learnt how proper Mandarin is spoken. As well as what certain herbs were named in Chinese.

Well, that series is no longer on TV because I don't subscribe to Wah Lai Toi channels on Astro anymore. Cantonese drama serials can be addictive, and I don't want to be pulled in that direction. I'd rather read a book than get pissed each time I watch a drama series where someone's taking revenge on someone else, or where everyone is polished and pretty, and talks in cliches.

Anyway, I got this vegetarian soup recipe from Bao Ma while watching some Chinese/CCTV channel two weeks ago. Again, I got excited and started scribbling down the ingredients.

You will need 6 types of ingredients for this soup.

Soup for Non-meat Eaters

  • A cup of fresh chestnuts
  • A cup of sliced (fresh) lotus root
  • Half a cup of lotus seeds (remove green pith)
  • Dried tangerine peel (or "chen pi")
  • A cup of walnuts
  • A handful of red dates (remove stones)

* As with all soups using dried tangerine peel, remember to put peel into cold water and bring water to boil. Once water is boiling, put in the rest of the ingredients. Let it come to a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Cover, lower heat to a mere simmer and let it simmer for 2-3 hours. Season with salt before serving.

All above ingredients should make the soup tasty because each one contributes a delicate sweetness to the soup. I have yet to try this soup out though.
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