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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King of Fruits + Cream Cheese = Durian Cheesecakes, Game to Try?

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INTRODUCTION

Imagine a bite of cream cheese and another bite of durian flesh, that will be what you are going to get from these cheese cake, soft, smooth, creamy and sweet.

A rather simple chilled cheese cake to make without baking, therefore the natural aroma of the durian are maintained in the cake even days after it was prepared. For this recipe, it is rather flexible except one step that I am rather insistent-handling of the durian flesh. Mastering this step will give you a cheese cake that will impressed your guest. For this step, I beg to disagreed  with any shortcut method(no blending), other than that, you can use your common sense to proceed with the making of the cheesecake.

Steps in preparing the durian cheesecake will involve (preferably in this order to smoothen your flows of preparation):

  • Preparing the biscuit crust
  • Preparation of gelatine
  • Beating the cream
  • Sifting the durian flesh
  • Making the cream cheese fillings
  • Decorating and serving the cake

Though it looks like the step are many, however the times taken are very short. So, don’t be frightened by the steps  mentioned here.

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WHAT IS DURIAN….

To start the post,  it is only fair that I have some introduction on durian as a number of my overseas friends apparently never seen durian before. As usual, per Wikipedia:

“The durian /ˈdjʊriən/ is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio and the family Malvaceae. Regarded by many people in southeast Asia as the “king of fruits”, the durian is distinctive for its large size, strong odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow as large as 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and it typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb.). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale yellow to red, depending on the species.

The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour that is strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as pleasantly fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and revolting. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust, and has been described variously as almonds, rotten onions, turpentine, raw sewage. The persistence of its odour has led to the fruit’s banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.”

picture source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/



WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 350 g of assorted biscuits.You can use biscuits of any type and I have used 2 types of biscuits some sugar crackers and some Fox chocolate crunch biscuits. I have chosen to use these 2 types of biscuits as there are slightly sweeten and have been sitting in my kitchen cabinets for quite a while.
  • 150 g of melted butter.
  • 350 g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 750 g of fresh durian flesh (with seeds)

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  • 90 g of granulated sugar or sugar powder
  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • 6 large teaspoons of gelatine powder 
  • 1/2 cups of plain water
  • 8 inches spring form cake tin or detachable base cake tin. You can refer here for more explanation on the cake tin selection.

For decoration of the cake

  • 10 large teaspoons of gelatine powder 
  • 1 cup of plain water
  • 200 gram of flesh durian tear into smaller pieces.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparing the biscuit crust….

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  • Microwave heat your butter for 1 minutes and set aside for later use.
  • In a food processor, place your assorted biscuits and blend your biscuits until very fine pieces. The finer it is, the easier it is for you to make the crust . However, if you want to have something to munch in your mouth, you can have your biscuit pieces coarser.
  • Transfer the chopped biscuits into a mixing ball. Gradually add in the melted butter. Stir until well mixed.

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  • Transfer the chopped biscuits into the spring form baking tin. Use a spoon to press firmly against the bottom and against the side such that it is equally spread out. Put in the freezer and refrigerate until later use.

 


Preparation of gelatine…..

This step can be used for both the cream cheese filling and decoration of the cheesecake.

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  • Put the water in a small metal bowl, sprinkle the gelatine in an even layer over the surface and leave to go spongy.
  • Take another bigger metal bowl, put some water and heat it using the smallest heat. Place the first bowl on top of the hot water, stir until all the gelatine are dissolved.
  • Take out, let it cool at room temperature and set aside for later use.

Beating of Cream…

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  • Either hand whisk or using a machine beat the cream until firm peak. Note that your mixing bowl must be dry and free of any oils. Otherwise , it is hard to beat the cream until firm peak. Don’t over whipped your cream. When you over whipped your creams, your can add a bit of fresh cream to make the cream looked fresh again. Shall I refer to you to some links from www.finecooking.com’s video that I have posted in Guaishushu’s Facebook Page here.
  • Scoop out your whipped cream and put it in a fridge.


Sifting of Durian Flesh…

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  • Get hold of 750g of fresh durians. De-seed the durian and put it in a sift. Use a metal spoon to rub against the sift until all the flesh become some meshed durian. Weigh 350 g and keep the leftover in the fridge for making of “durian ice cream” if you want.
  • Put your sifted durian in the fridge as it can oxidize rather quickly. Alternatively, you can just add one scoop of fresh cream that you have whipped and mixed with the sifted durian, it will reduce the tendency to get oxidize. Oxidize will render your colour darker and therefore would have less appeal to your guest.

Note:

There is no compromise to this step. As I am making a chilled creamy cheese cake, I do not wish to have any durian fibres in the cake. It should be as smooth as the cream cheese. No blending and other short cut. Eating a cheesecake with strains for durian fibres will irk your guest.

It is rather difficult to estimate the exact quantity of the raw durian you need as the recovery rates can varies. The durian that you seen in the picture is of rather good quality, yellowish colour, sweet and soft but comparatively small compared to other better quality ones. You don’t need top grade durians as too strong the smell will mask cream cheese flavour. Probably you just need the least expensive durian and your guest will be equally impressive with your final cheesecake. For Singapore and Malaysian readers, I have bought about 1.5 kg of raw durians for about SGD20. You should be able to judge the quality. It is a good buy as I only managed to use half of the durians.

Another side tip. Add equivalent amount of cream to your meshed durian, stir well, freeze it and you will get the durian ice cream. Try it and you will know that only homemade durian ice cream can be that luxurious.. thick and aromatic. Alternatively, pump into a choux pastry and it will become durian puff and if wrapped in a crepe will become durian crepe… 

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Making the Cream Cheese Fillings

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  • Use the same mixing bowl that you beat your cream, put in the cream cheese and the sugar, beat until well mixed and smooth. It will be rather fast and 2-3 minutes will do.
  • Add in the sifted durian flesh and beat at low speed until well mixed.

Note:

Some readers are telling me that they don’t have a sweet tooth and concerned about the sweetness. The sugar content in this recipe is very low considering 90g in the entire cake of about 900g, representing only about 10% of the ingredients. However, if you are still concern about the sweetness, change the granulated sugar to icing sugar powder, start with half of the volume and take a small tablespoon and taste the cream cheese durian mixture, if it is too sweet, just add in the remaining sugar powder in stages until it suit your taste buds.

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  • Take out the cooled gelatine, fold in the durian cream cheese mixture with a spatula or big metal or wood spoon. Ensure that it is well mix and followed by folding in the whipped cream. Stir until well mixed.

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  • Take out the baking tin, pour the mixture and use a spoon to flatten the top and chilled it over night.

Note:

While it is best that you chilled it overnight. However, if you run short of time , you can consider to put it in the freezer for about 1 hour when the mixture start to set or becoming firm and proceed with the next steps of decoration.

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Decorating and serving  the Cheesecake

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The decoration below is for your reference only. As durian and cheese are rather yellowish in colour,  therefore the colour of the cheesecake is quite monotonous. I have topped the cheesecakes with additional tear durian flesh. When it is set, I have made some more gelatine (about 10 big teaspoons of gelatine with 1 cup of water) and put on top of durian flesh. In this manner, the gelatine will help to preserve the durian flesh flavour and avoid it to oxidize.

For the serving, I have cut slices of fresh mango to go with it. The fresh mango will negate the creaminess of the cheesecake and just an excellent combo that I have never thought of before.

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CONCLUSIONS

  • This is not a difficult cake to make but if you are a durian and cheesecake lover, you will definitely like the cake. The cake is very creamy with natural durian fragrance even days after the cake is make. It is smooth and soft as the durian flesh have been sifted to get rid of the fibre.
  • Understand how to make this cake will also give you numerous alternatives of dessert preparation. The addition of cream to sifted durian flesh will be ideal for your durian cream puff using the choux pastry or durian crepes when wrapped it in a crepe.
  • The recipe here is definitely for homemade purposes where the usage of ingredients are rather “hard core” for durian lovers. With the same proportion of raw ingredients I mentioned in this post, this cake will be very costly if you buy it in restaurants or cafe. However, with  a fraction  of restaurant price, you can comfortably have a much better cheesecakes than in other eating outlets.
  • All steps here are rather flexible except sifted  durian flesh which I am quite insistent as the cake should be smooth and  non – fibrous. If you can’t finish the cake, try store it in a freezer, take a portion out, when you crave for it, defrost and tell me what is it like. You would not be disappointed.

Thanks for reading the post and hope you have a nice day. Cheers.

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