I can’t share precise measurements for this particular soup because I did not really follow any and made the stock to taste. What my mother told me is the secret behind any soup is the base stock. Get that right, and you can pretty much add anything. So with those wise words of we go. The story behind this soup is pretty simple. Feed up with the current phenomenon of panic buying and the negative undertone towards Chinese people and their cuisine. I wanted to explore several issues. Firstly, identify products which the panic buyers were not breaking their sweat to buy. Secondly, it had to be nutritious and provide value for money. Thirdly, I wanted to see if it was possible to make a large pan of soup mid-afternoon and just let family members scup it up through the day when they wanted too. This is especially helpful if you find you and your family in isolation. Basically, you don’t need to worry about people wanting to eat at different times throughout the day. Here is Bristol, and assume in quite a few towns and cities around the country we have Chinese wholesalers. This is where I started. Most of the products I bought in the first photo are from the Wai Yee Hong Chinese Supermarket, Eastgate Oriental City, Eastgate Rd, Bristol BS5 6XX. The rest I already had in the house.
These are the ingredients in the photo:
- Dried Seaweed
- U-Don (Kuk-soo) Korean Noodles
- 2 Pak Choi
- 1 Largeish Carrot
- 1 Pack of Okra
- 1 Medium Red Onion
- 1 Large Leek
- 1 Courgette
- 1 Pack of Sugar Snaps
- 1 Yellow or Red Pepper
- 2 Pieces of Fresh Ginger (about a thump each piece)
- 4 Cloves of Garlic
- 1 box of mushrooms
- 1.5 litres of freshwater
- 1 Kallo low salt vegetable stock (Sainbury’s) – to taste
- Swiss vegetable Bouillon (Sainbury’s) – to taste
- Japanise Yutaka Miso Paste (Sainbury’s) – to taste
- Chinese 5 spices and Fennell Seeds (Sainsbury’s) – to taste
- Grounded Sea Salt
THE BASE STOCK
Water into the pan. Add the Kallo low salt vegetable stock, dried seaweed, 2 smashed cloves of garlic and 1 of the thumb-sized pieces of ginger. Heat, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain the seaweed, garlic and ginger and discard. Gradually add the swiss vegetable Bouillon and Japanese Yutaka Miso Paste. I do this one tablespoon at a time, taste frequently. Then add some Chinese 5 spices, again in the same manner. Add a pinch of sea salt. Taste until you are happy with the balance and flavour. Place on low light, so it is just slowly simmering at the rear of the cooker, leaving the front cooker rings to work on.
Trim and prepare the vegetables. As I do this, I sprinkle some Chinese 5 spices over them. Finely chop up the two remaining garlic cloves and piece of ginger. Spray some veggie oil into a pan/wok, add the garlic, ginger, carrots, onions, leek and a tablespoon of fennel seeds. Flash fry until the onions and leeks just start to caramelise (not burnt!). At this stage, I may also add a dash of Oyster sauce. Add the contents from the wok into the stock pan. Now set aside the Pak Choi, but add the remaining vegetables to the stock. I’ve listed what I have used, but you can pretty well add any vegetables, which have been prepared correctly.
Boil a pan of water, add the noodles and cook as instructed. Once cooked, sieve out and rinse under cold water. Add the noodles to the stock, as well as the Pak Choi. Bring to the boil and add salt if desired, tasting. Jobs a good one.