Thursday, January 01, 2015

What Finally Helped Get Rid of My Persistent Cough

Happy New Year everyone!

That's me with that funny Xmas hair band and in a beige dress with Nic, my husband. This photo was taken at our Christmas party with our website clients - Kester (in green) and Wei Min (in red) are from

I am actually blogging this on New Year's Day because it's a holiday and I just got home after a lovely lunch of pork porridge at the famous Hon Kei cafe in Jalan Kampung Malabar, off Penang Road.

This pork porridge seller used to be just a simple stall on the same road, nearer Ho Ping Cafe, a corner coffeeshop.

My late grandmother used to love eating this pork porridge because it wasn't just minced pork - it has all the pig innards, pig brain, liver, kidney etc. It does sound gross but you just have to love pork and the old style porridge to enjoy this.

Hon Kei has upgraded itself into a two shop lot business - it's literally buzzing with customers all day. Of course besides pork porridge, you can also have lor bak,  toast bread with half boiled eggs and also noodles or rice with salted vegetable pork soup.

I think of my grandmother whenever I eat at this (upgraded) Hon Kei. It's a lovely memory.

And I think most of my memories, like most Asians, are tied to food and home. It's how we live and breathe.

If you are in Penang and I know most of my readers are from Singapore, try looking for Hon Kei Cafe. Try their food. It's old style, robust porridge served in a modern cafe. I must say they are quite hi-tech - their waiters take your orders with an iPad mini.

Drum Roll Please....

Anyway, I wanted to update this blog because remember my persistent cough?

Thank God that my cough is already gone! Hurray!

You know what finally helped ease my persistent cough?

The steamed orange was great but I still had oodles of phlegm. It did make my sleep at night better as I wasn't coughing and staying awake.

You can take it from me - it did help. But along the way I chanced upon a tastier remedy.

Watercress soup!

I was at the market and saw fresh watercress for sale. Decided to make watercress soup. To tell the truth I did buy a lot of watercress this time. So the soup was really good.

And when I do boil soup, I make enough for 3 servings (meaning, 2 bowls each time multiplied by 3 so this means I made about 6 bowls of watercress soup).

Soups are always best on the day they're made BUT they're tastier on the day after. The flavours have had time to combine and settle.

This holds even for regular dishes - if you braise or cook something, say chicken feet with mushrooms (and here's a tip - use a claypot and you spend less time braising the chicken feet because the heat retention in claypots are much better), after it's done, do not serve it immediately.

Cover the pot or kuali and let the food "rest" for 15 minutes at least before you serve it. I find the flavours are completely different this way.

So I had watercress soup 3 nights in a row (I usually attempt to eat a homecooked meal since we eat out for lunch a lot). Slowly the phlegm eased off, I felt better and slept the whole night through. And I managed to organize a Christmas party for some of our clients and hosted my mom, dad and nephew when they visited the week before Christmas.

So my verdict? If you are coughing a lot, make yourself some watercress soup. The recipe is here.

Since there has been a lot of bleak news last week concerning Malaysia (first our monsoon floods on the East Coast of the peninsula and then the crashed AirAsia plane), let's pray for a good year this year.

Plus, Thank You 

My grateful thanks to you too for keeping me blogging about soups, life, family and more. It isn't easy for me to find time to blog here since my business keeps me busy most of the time. Yet I would feel lost without this blog.

All of you have been generous and amazing with your shares and comments even though I am just like you - learning my way through this passion which I love, herbs and soups. I started this in 2006 because I could not read Chinese and yet I was deeply fascinated by the use of herbs in our Cantonese food.

I remember always as a child that my mom used to rattle off "pak kei, wong tong, kei chi" to the Chinese herbalist and he'd pack up these herbs in a pink paper packet. I was always curious about this trio of herbs. But my mom never knew much. She memorized these herb names so she could get the herbalist to make up the herbs for her.

I realized as I grew older that I HAD to know. I can't stand NOT knowing. I don't want to follow something blindly and not know why the herb was useful.

And of course, my late grandma instilled in me the love for soups. She always had a huge pot of soup simmering on a charcoal brazier in her wet kitchen a.k.a backyard. She'd fan the charcoal and let the soup simmer for hours. I guess that's her way of keeping the family together. You can refuse to eat rice but you can never say no to grandma's soups.

I have lots of plans for Soup Queen this year and I intend to make them all happen. I hope you will have your own soup tradition for your family. If that's one thing I am proud of, I am proud that I have continued blogging here and kept my love and passion for soups and Chinese herbs alive. I have more to post and more to get excited about!

Thank you for reading this.

Thanks for being a supporter of Soup Queen (I am amazed at my readership statistics!) and I wish you a brilliant, exciting, incredible year this year!

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