Nostalgic Soup Than Can’t Erase From My Mind–Chinese Style Potatoes Soup

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Updated Post on 9-10-2014

I have prepared the soup again today and have some new picture taking. However, today when I prepared the soup, as I am running out of time, I have decided to by pass the sautéing of the starch and onion. I put everything in the wok, boil until the meat is soft and add the starches. Of course, it was not as fragrant as what my father have prepared but it saves some times.. Kids start to like this starchy soup. Personally, I prefer the yam or taro version but shelve the idea as kids still dislike the taro.

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INTRODUCTION

I seldom have soup recipe in this blog except salted vegetable duck soup, a well known traditional Chinese soup for Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese.  Of course I have many other soup preparation illustrations such as bitter gourd and pineapple pork rib soup, double mushroom chicken soup, sweet corn pork rib soup and many more at Guaishushu’s Facebook Page under the index start with “S”.

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Today, I will share this special soup which is a comfort food with nostalgic and sentimental feelings for me.  I am still in doubt its origins and totally unsure if other families are cooking this soup, not at least my circles of friends. It is hope that via this post, some readers will be able to tell me the origin of this soup!

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This is a “strange” soup cooked by my late father. Not even my late mother cook this soup as she said it is a bit laborious to cook this soup.

In fact, the ingredients and cooking method have influences of both oriental and western method of cooking. Talking about this soup, I am sure my brothers and sister in laws can recall about the soup. It can either be cooked with taro or  potatoes. What we usually cooked is with yam or taro and I knew my sister in laws still cook the taro version of this soup as at today.

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The potato version of soup what is always in my mind. When I told my mother in law that I wanted to cook this soup, she looked at me unbelievably and she thought that I am cooking ABC soup, a soup that were cooked using carrot, potatoes and onions. I told her no, it is a pure potatoes soup!

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 250 g of potatoes cut into big chunks

  • 250 g of onion cut into a quarter

  • 250 g of pork ribs

  • 6 cups of water

Thickening starch

  • 50 g of sweet potatoes flour

  • 400 g of water

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big soup pot that can accommodate at least 10 cups of water, put some water adequate to cover the pork ribs.

  • Blanch the pork ribs until the outer layers is slight cooked. Throw away the water.

  • Wash the pork ribs under running water to get rid of any blood clots and add in the cut potatoes. Add in 6 cups of water and bring to boil under high heat. Once boiled, turn to medium heat and continue boiling until the potatoes and meats are soft. This will take 15-20 minutes. You can just let it boil until your next step is ready. Change to low heat if necessary.

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  • In another sauce pan, add in 1 tablespoon of oil, add in the cut onions and fried until the fragrance of onion start to spread.

  • Put in the sweet potatoes starch and cook under low heat, Stir fry until the flour turned into a lump and become colourless. Note that the main reason of cooking this way is to give the flour some flavour of onions. If you add directly to the soup, you will find the flour in the soup is flavourless. Well that is how my late father cooked and I do agree to it.

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  • Transfer your cooked starch to the soup and continue boiling until the meat and potatoes of your desired textures.

  • Add seasonings of your choice (flavour enhancer such as mushroom concentrate, pepper, salt, light soya sauce etc.).

  • Bring to boil and once boiled, off the heat and garnish with herbs of your choice. Preferably served hot with rice.

WHY THIS SOUP IS UNIQUE?

The soup has the oriental elements because it is cooked with normal cooking oils used by Chinese home cooking (instead of butter or olive oils) and pork ribs and flavour using the Chinese condiments. In addition, the thickening is using Chinese cooking ingredients sweet potatoes starch. It is definitely more watery and less creamy than Western soup! The final soup still maintain the shape of the potatoes, pork ribs and even onions. It complements the dryness of the white rice.

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On the other hand, it is unusual for Chinese to use potatoes to cook soup. Besides ABC soup, most Chinese households do not use potatoes to cook soup. Besides this unusual ingredient, Chinese soups usually do not use thickening agents in soup with the exception of some special soups such as shark fin soups and sweet and sour soups. The soups, in traditional sense should be watery and clear (or whitish colour due to the meat essence in the both). Thickening agents are used in many Chinese dishes including braised dishes, noodle dishes , vegetables dishes, egg dishes, bean curd dishes but not in soup dishes.

For purposes of further illustrating this soup may have Western influences, I have took out portion of the soup and added plain flour (wheat flour as you used for making cakes) and some creams.

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This is what the end product looked like and in fact, my kids do not mind this soup after adding of cream and wheat flour. My boy says that the soup is very creamy like cream of mushroom soup that he used to have in Western restaurant.

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CONCLUSION

Having a post on this particular soup brings me  lots of fond memories and sentimental feelings, making me wanted to know more about my late father. We did not really communicate much due to very traditional Chinese family upbringings whereby we were not encouraged to ask about what the adults are doing. Communication was always unidirectional. However, if he was still available, I would know how to tackle the issue and “fished” out his thoughts!

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It is a soup that none of friends knew. It is neither Western or Oriental style of soup. It is a mixture of both. Where my late father learned the cooking of this soup was really a mystery (in my humble opinion). He hailed from China and could not read or spoke ABC not to mention exposure to Western cuisines. The only remote reason that I could think of was due the influence of British colonization of Sarawak until late 1940’s  and at that time, he was a teen.

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Hopefully by having this post, some of my readers from any  parts of the world can share with me, if you have ever tasted exactly soup cooked in this manner and what do you think is the origin of the soup. It is also hope that my readers will try out this soup and let me know if it suits your taste buds. Thanks and have a nice day.

 

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 8 June 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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One Number Baking Ratio Adventures Continues… Grapefruit Cognac Pound Cake With Grapefruit Posset…

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INTRODUCTION

One number baking ratio adventures continues and gradually extends to other pastry. I have explained in this post about how I want to apply this ratio to cup cakes, muffins, fruit cakes, layered cakes and other pound cakes. The main objective is to further testify this ratio and giving assurance that this easy to remember simple ratio will beneficial lazy people like me. Very briefly, Guaishushu believes that egg : flour : sugar : butter : milk (or other liquids) can be 1 : 1 : 1 : 1 : 1, hence called it “one number baking ratio”.  You may also be interested in the following posts based on principle of one number baking ratio:

Today, he is going to twist a little bit to become a fruity pound cake and served with grapefruit posset – a traditional Western drink/dessert.

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ONE NUMBER BAKING RATIO VS FRENCH’S QUATRE à QUATRE

As one reader pointed out that the ratios that I am using is basically the “quatre à quatre” ratio used in French cake making and I am basically just reinventing the wheels and revert back to the traditional ratios.

I tends to agree  with this and in fact, I am ignorant about the above ratios before the reader pointed out. I have to thank him for his knowledgeable input.

It is really a coincidence that all the while I am fond of using one number and it would be ideal if it applies to all cakes. I have written in the reply to the reader: I do not think that I am brilliant enough to create a good theory as cooking is just my passion! However, if you analyse in details,“quatre à quatre” ratio differs from Guaishushu’s “one number baking ratio” in that there is a portion of milk (or other liquids) which I insisted to be included in this ratio. So, Guaishushu is just promoting this modified traditional ratios instead of remembering different ratios for different ingredients and for different cakes.

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WHY THIS CAKE?

Grapefruit again? Yes, though Guaishushu just issued a post on Grapefruit Chiffon Cake – Grapefruit Chiffon with Grapefruit Citrus Glaze,… Ever Try This?, however, as grapefruit is very cheap in Singapore this month, I can’t help but to grab another 5 large and juicy grapefruits for SGD2.85 and I am thinking of preparing some other cakes with this fruit. While thinking of what cake to bake, i realized that I have a cognac sitting in my kitchen shelf for many years that I have never used it because I am allergic to alcohol. In fact, when I tried to open it, the cork on the bottle have broken (too dry) and I have to sift the alcohol and transfer to another small bottles.

This cake is rather simple to make and again it is based on Guaishushu’s one number baking ratio. To make is slightly different, I have substituted some portion of milk with grapefruit juices and  addition of some grapefruit peels. With the aim of differentiating this cake with other cakes, I have made the cake slightly pinkish and of course all these colouring are optional.

Note that the recipe applies equally well to an orange cake. Just substitute grapefruits with oranges.

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SELECTION OF GRAPEFRUITS AND PREPARATION OF GRAPEFRUIT PEELS

I will take this opportunity to share with readers about the selection of grapefruits that are juicy after many years of observation!

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The grapefruits on the left were smooth with lights reflection. As it is smooth, it implied that the air holes in the skin are very small and therefore moisture loss will be less than the grapefruit on the right. As contrast to grapefruit on the left, grapefruit on the right appeared to have more holes and if you touch it, you will find some unevenness on the surface. More moisture will be lost and at times, it will feel a bit like a sponge when you squeeze it. Therefore, when one buy a grapefruit, just ensure that it is smooth and full when you squeeze it.

Preparing The Grapefruit Peels

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I am peeling the grapefruit using the above peeler. I just peel in the S shape and a nice pattern will evolve. Try not to peel too deep as the white spongy skin can be rather bitter. Make sure the grapefruits or oranges was thoroughly wash before it the peeling begins. Cut into small strips and chopped fine before adding to the batter as required below.



WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 250 grams of white sugar (divided into 100 grams for beating of egg whites and 150 grams for beating of egg yolks)

  • 250 grams of self raising flours (sifted)

  • about 250 grams of egg white and egg yolks (about 5 eggs separated into egg yolks and egg whites) (Note below for calculation)

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  • 150 grams of milks (Note below for calculation) – Balancing

  • 100 grams of grapefruit juice (Note below for calculation) – Fixed

  • 150 gram of grapefruit peels

  • 5 tablespoons of rum or any other alcoholic drinks (cognac, whisky or others) – Optional

  • 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar (optional)

Note: Calculation of liquid required

In accordance to one number baking ratio – eggs plus milk should be equal to 500 grams.

Today, my eggs yolks and egg whites worked out to be  298 grams, therefore, the balancing of milk used is 500 grams (total milk + eggs) less 100 grams (grapefruit juice) less 298 grams (egg yolks + egg whites) =  102 grams of milk (actual usage after considering egg size)

 


STEPS OF PREPARATION

The steps of preparation will involve:

  • Beating of egg whites , creaming of butters, mixing of flours and folding of egg whites

  • Making of pinky patterns (optional)

  • Baking

  • Making the grapefruit posset (optional)

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Preparation…

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius



Beating of egg whites , creaming of butters, mixing of flours and folding of egg whites

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  • In a clean, grease free mixing bowl, add egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar. Beat using the machine whisk to whisk the egg whites until firm peak. Spoon the filling into a clean bowl and set aside for later use.

  • Change your whisk to a K beater, place your remaining 150 g sugar and butter, beat until light and creamy.

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  • Add in the grapefruit peels and eggs yolks and use slow speed to “mix” until well mixed. Eggs yolk should be added one by one and scrap the bottom of the bowl to ensure no unmixed egg yolk settled at the bottom of the mixing bowl.

  • Add in 1/3 of the sifted flours, add in 1/3 of milk and 1/3 of the grapefruit juice, used slow speed to mix together. Repeat for the other 2/3 portion. Off the machine and bring out the mixing bowl.

  • Once well mixed, fold in the egg white swiftly and lightly until the batter are smooth.



Making of pinky patterns (optional)…

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  • Take out about 1/4 of the of the batter and add 2 drops of red colouring (optional). Mix well.

  • In the greased cake tin (note that I have also slightly floured it but this is optional), start with 4 big tablespoons of the beige batter. Add 2 tablespoons of pink batter on top of the beige batters. Shake it slightly so that the batter spread over a wider surface. Add another 3 tablespoons of beige batter on top of the pink batters follow by 1 tablespoon of pink batter on top of the beige batter. Do the same for the next step using 2 tablespoons and finally one tablespoon until all the batter have finished. In the event you still have left over, just create another pattern with the batter that you have!



Baking….

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  • Shake the baking tin slightly and baked at 180 degree Celsius from the first 30 minutes.

  • Reduce the temperature to 150 degree Celsius and bake for another 15 minutes or until the top turn yellowish brown and until a skewer comes out clean.

  • Transfer it to a wire rack and let it cool for at least 1 hour before cutting the cake. It is best to let it rest overnight if time permits.

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Making of Grapefruit Posset

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

  • 120 grams of white sugar

  • 1.5 cups of cream

  • 150 grams of grapefruit

Note: Most posset will called for double thick cream, however, since I wanted it to use as some form of toppings, I will use normal cream for whipping. As such, the curdling will not be less strong and easier to pour.


STEPS OF PREPARATOIN

  • In a sauce pan, place the cream and sugar.

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  • Cooked under low heat and bring to boil and let it boil slowly for 2-3 minutes.

  • Off the heat and add in the grapefruit juice. Chilled for at least 3 hours or overnight.

  • Pour on top of the cake and let it drip naturally.

Note that whether you posset will successfully curdled will very much depends on the acidity of your grapefruit. If your grapefruit is sour, it will curdle easily. If it can’t curdle, add in few drops of fresh lemon juice. The use of normal cream and grapefruit juice will produce a posset that are slightly runny which is easier for you to pour on top of the cakes.

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CONCLUSION

A simple cake to make using one number baking ratio. However, the twist to add in grapefruit peels and cognac transformed it into a cake that is full of fruity and cognac fragrance. While posset is generally served with biscuits, the modified grapefruit posset goes well with this cake and will heighten and wake up one’s palate especially  with a cup of Earl Grey tea!

Hope you like this cake and have a nice day. Cheers

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I am submitting this post to Little Thumbs Up “Eggs” event organized by organized by Bake for Happy Kids, my little favourite DIY and hosted by (Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out). You can link your egg recipes here.

I am also submitting this to #recipeoftheweek and Marvelous Monday and Welcome to all My Bloggy Friends

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