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We have Chinese chicken soup quite often in our household. This time, I decided to twist the flavor a little– substitute ginger with dried herbs and garlic, and also adding some vegetables, and here comes a western soup that won everyone’s (well, except Ethan) heart. Thanks to Ruey for the inspiration.

Vegetable Chicken Soup-- I like to serve it with toasted pugliese bread.

Vegetable Chicken Soup-- I like to serve it with toasted pugliese bread.

Vegetable Chicken Soup Recipe

Ingredients:
8 chicken drumsticks
1 small onion– diced
5 medium Yukon potatoes– skin intact, cut into small chunks
2 carrots– cut into small chunks
2 stalks celery– remove strings, cut into small chunks
3 medium tomatoes– cut into small chunks
1 can chicken broth
8 cups water
1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs
2 cloves chopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Boil chicken broth and water in a deep pot. Add in drumsticks, uncovered and cook on high heat until it boils again. Turn down to medium heat to maintain a soft boiling stage. Cook until drumsticks float up.
  2. Remove drumsticks and let cool slightly. When the meat is cool to touch, roughly hand shred the meat. Throw away the skin but keep the bones.
  3. Return chicken bones to the soup and bring to a rapid boil. Cover and boil for another 30 minutes for the flavor to come out. Remove chicken bones. Add in garlic, onion, potatoes, carrots and celery. Cover and cook for about 1 hour on medium heat.
  4. Return shredded meat and tomatoes to the soup. Add more water if liquid is low. Covered, cook for another 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a loaf of artisan bread.
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Look is deceiving– this speaks so well for this wonderful vegetable dish. Everyone, including myself, who first look at this dish will think that there’s nothing special about it, but after the first bite then there’s the treasure. My sifu Aunty Wang brought this dish for our CNY potluck, I love it so much that I decided buy the ingredients and make it that weekend. Richard told me that when he saw the food he thought it is made of all kinds of yucky veggie leftovers, but then he was hooked after the first bite. This dish is best eaten at cold or room temperature as you can really taste the different flavors– and that is why I can eat it 3 days straight and still don’t get tired of it, because each type of vegetable has its unique flavor, and all the flavors go very well together.

According to Aunty Wang, this is a typical Shanghai CNY dish. Chinese is very particular about new year food. Combo in Mandarin is called ‘Shi Jin’– sounds like ten ‘Shi’, and thus the name is called Ten-Veggie Stir Fry. Of course, you don’t have to include all ten ingredients. You can also substitute one for the other like shredded tofu puffs, preserved sweet turnip etc…, but avoid using vegetable that has high liquid content or draws out liquid over time like bell peppers, black fungus etc… so the food can be kept longer in the fridge without turning slimy or watery.

10 Veggie Stir Fry Combo

Ten-Veggie Combo

Ingredients for Ten- Veggie Combo

Ingredients for Ten- Veggie Combo

Ten-Veggie Combo Recipe

Ingredients:
*4 pcs five-spiced tofu–slice each piece horizontally then cut into thin strips
*1 cup dry lily flower ‘jin zhen chai’– soaked till soft, then tie a knot and remove the stem part, rinse 2 times to remove any yellow color.
*1 carrot–cut into thin strips
*1 cup preserved salty & sour mustard green stems (hum swiin choy)– cut into thin strips, then rinse two times to remove the saltiness.
*1 cup frozen bamboo shoots– cut into thin strips. See note below.
1 pack shredded white tofu (tou kan si)– available in Chinese grocery stores– soak in water to loose up
1 lb soy bean sprout– remove the brownish bottom, rinse and drain
6 medium Chinese mushrooms– soaked overnight– remove stems and thin sliced
2 1/2 cup Chinese celery stems– remove the leaves and the “string”, cut into 2-inch long
10 red hot peppers– chopped
2-3 cloves garlic (optional)– finely chopped
1 tbsp sugar

seasoning:
salt to taste
soy sauce to taste– for ingredients with *
chicken bouillon powder to taste

Method:

  1. Heat up wok. Add a little oil and saute the first 8 ingredients, one at a time, until aromatic. Lightly season to taste. For ingredients with *, add a little soy sauce too. For soy bean sprout: saute on very high heat. When the liquid draws out, continue sauteing until the liquid dries out. Dish out all veggies into a big bowl.
  2. Heat wok again, saute garlic and peppers until aromatic. Return all sauteed veggies back to the wok, add celery stems and stir for a few more times to combine. Add sugar and seasoning to taste.

Note:

  • Bamboo shoots: frozen is better than canned ones. I seldom use bamboo shoots so I skip this ingredient.
  • Once cooling down completely, this dish can be chilled in the fridge and can be kept for 8-10 days, just use a clean dry spoon to take out the portion you need each time.

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This is my family version of Russian Soup. I grow up taking this soup a lot of time. I know I know… this is not what a Russian Soup should be, but I am just so get used to the name and the taste of it that whenever people said Russian Soup, I just think of my family version’s. Well, regardless of what it is called, the soup is very good especially for cold days that’s coming up. The peppery taste will warm up your stomach, and potatoes and carrots adds comfy homey touch to the soup.

My family version of Russian Soup

My family version of Russian Soup

Khern’s Russian Soup Recipe

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs spareribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 yellow onion– finely chopped
1 tbsp white peppercorn– crushed using back of a knife
4 medium yellow potatoes– peeled, cut into big chucks
2 carrots– peeled, cut into big chucks
1 1/2 gallon water

Method:

  1. Add water, yellow onion and crushed peppercorn in a big pot and bring to a boil.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare spareribs: add water in a different pot and bring to a boil. Add ribs and blanch. Remove from heat. Discard the water and rinse ribs under running water to remove any bloody impurities.
  3. When the water in big pot is boiling, add blanched ribs. Cover and cook on high heat for 15-20 minutes. Turn heat down to medium, continue to cook for 1.5 hours.
  4. Add potatoes and carrots to the soup, cover then turn heat back to high and let it boil again. Then turn down to medium heat and cook for another hour. Add salt to taste before serving.

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