Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wai San Soup with Pork Ribs

I've written about using fresh wai san in porridge, thanks to the recipe passed on to me by my regular vegetable-seller in the Lip Sin wet market.

A couple of weeks ago, I chanced upon fresh wai san again in the market and bought it for cooking porridge. But the wai san was huge, so I used up only half. The vegetable-seller told me I could keep the other half of the wai san in the fridge for a week or so, provided I wrapped it up in newspaper.

One of those days while rummaging through my fridge for something to cook, I saw the wai san again and this time decided to try it in a soup. I had read somewhere (forgotten where now...tsk tsk, must be old age) that it is good as a soup too.

The recipe is simple (ah, I am a big proponent of simple recipes, ya) and just needs 3 major ingredients: freshly peeled and sliced wai san, 4-6 de-seeded dried red dates and about 400 gm of pork ribs, blanched.

As usual, bring a pot of water to boil. Put all 3 ingredients into pot; bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Lower fire, cover pot and simmer for 2 hours. Season with salt and serve hot.

The best part about this soup is that it's clear and sweet! There's something utterly unadulterated about fresh wai san - we Cantonese call it 'cheng theem' or clear sweet. It's a taste that's a bit tough to describe - like love, you need to experience it to know what it really is!

Wai san isn't expensive at all. The next time you are in the wet market, look out for this unsightly root vegetable. It resembles a long, brownish stick!
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