In Chinese Soups a light soup's ingredients are used as flavorings rather than for a main ingredient. The excellence of Chinese light soups is due to the clear stock and the fresh flavor of the added ingredients which is achieved by the speed at which they are cooked. Soups in Chinese cooking are used very differently. At ordinary Chinese home meals, there is a community soup bowl on the table. Traditionally soup in China acts as a drink as water or tea are not served with meals.
Chinese Pork or Beef or any other Meat Soup - Serves 6
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 lb. lean pork loin, or meat of your choice cut into 1/4" strips
1/8 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
7 cups water
2 tbsp. instant chicken bouillon or 1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup sliced carrots
3/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup sliced green onions
Fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)
Heat sesame oil in a medium skillet. Add meat and ginger; sauté over medium heat 3-4 minutes. Drain pork and set aside.
Bring water to a boil in a pot; stir in bouillon granules. Add carrots; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add mushrooms, green onion and pork. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Ladle into individual serving bowls. Top each serving with a sprig of cilantro, if desired.
Hot and Sour Soup Hot and sour soup is a specialty in Szechuan food and has a most unusual but very attractive taste. Serves 6
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 med. onion, sliced
3 carrots, thinly sliced
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
4 c. chicken broth
1 c. water
2 tbsp. soy sauce
6 oz. shiitake mushrooms
1/3 c. sliced water chestnuts
1/2 lb. sliced snow peas
1 c. fresh bean sprouts
1/4 c. rice-wine vinegar
2 tbsp. sesame oil
Dash of chili oil
Heat 2 tbsp. vegetable oil in a heavy pot over medium heat.
Add the onion and carrots; cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and ginger; cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Add chicken broth, water and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and water chestnuts; boil for 1 minute.
Turn off heat, add peas and bean sprouts. Cover and let rest for 2 minutes.
Stir in rice-wine vinegar, sesame oil and chili oil. Heat through for 1 minute, serve immediately.
Spinach and Beancurd Soup - This is a Beijing recipe - Serves 2
2 oz. or 1 cup fresh spinach
1 square of beancurd
1 tbsp. chicken dripping
1 ½ cup chicken stock
Pinch of salt
2 tsps. sesame oil
1. Defrost the spinach, if frozen. If fresh, wash, tear out the central vein, fry in the chicken dripping and boil in the stock for about 4 minutes.
2. Slice the beancurd into thin oblongs.
3. Heat 1 tbsp of the chicken dripping and gently fry the spinach for 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Add the stock and salt and bring to the boil.
5. Check the seasoning and add the beancurd, simmer for a few seconds to heat through and serve with toasted sesame oil added.