Chinese Soup – Radishes with Dried Squid

Chinese Soup - 001 Radish w Dried Squid edited re-sized

Warm Soup ……a good welcome after a hard day’s work or school.  This soup is served regularly at meal times in Teochew households in Asia. It is a full flavoured soup which fortifies your health.

Daikons or Chinese radishes. Easily available at wet and supermarkets in Asia and at Asian groceries all over the world. Daikons have a mild flavour compared to red radishes, and they’re more adaptable in the kitchen. It’s a fat-free, low-calorie and a rich source of vitamin C.

This humble vegetable is served in many forms. Here is what http://www.herbwisdom.com says about it.

“Daikon root is primarily used in Asian cuisine and traditional Chinese medicine. It is often served pickled. A broth can be created by boiling Daikon Root with seaweed and then taken to help rid the body of dairy build up and animal toxins. A tea made from the root is often used to aid digestion, fight disease and to treat both constipation and diarrhoea Two thin slices of pickled and then sun dried daikon is the traditional end to a meal in Japan as it is said to both cleanse the palate and aid in the digestion of the meal. Daikon can also be juiced. Laboratory testing has shown that the enzyme profile in daikon juice is very similar to the human digestive tract. It also contains phenolic compounds that block potentially dangerous reactions from occurring.

Helps kidney function

Alone, daikon, both in food form and in its extract, is a very effective diuretic. It causes the kidneys to process waste more effectively and thus excrete more urine. This helps to both improve kidney function and to treat edema. It also helps to clean the blood, eliminating the toxins through the kidneys, liver, sweat glands and digestive tract. Because of this, it helps food be digested more completely leading to less over eating and often weight loss.”

Chinese Celery

Chinese celery is quite different from regular celery, which is European in origin. Chinese celery has a much stronger flavour. To me,  it looks like a bigger version of the flat leaf Italian Parsley. It  is a popular addition to soups and stir-fries.

Some comments about the Ingredients

  • Besides the usual condiments found in most larders, this recipe calls for green and white daikon; home-made Pork Stock; dried squid and Chinese celery.
  • buy Dried squid at wet and supermarkets or at the Asian groceries outside South East Asia. They add a distinct umami to the broth. Dried topshells and scallops can be used as substitutes.
  • Pork Stock. For a home-made recipe click here.

SUBSTITUTE for home-made Pork Stock : either 1 1/2 cups of home-made chicken stock. Click here; OR (b) 250 gms of blanched meaty Pork bones

Preparation of Ingredients

STEP 1. Dried squid tends to be salty and should be washed to remove dirt and salt. Take care not to wash them too much as you will also be washing away the flavour. Then, soak them for 30 mins in a bowl with enough water to cover them. They will enlarge. Remove the central “bone” but keep the soaking liquid to be added into the stock later on for cooking. Cut them into smaller pieces.

STEP 2. Wash and peel both radishes. Cut them into wedges. Wash and cut Chinese celery.

STEP 3.  Ran out of home-made Pork Stock? Use 250 gm of meaty Pork bones. Bring 750 ml of water to rolling boil in a medium saucepan and blanch the Pork ribs for about 5 mins. Drain. Note: if you are using Pork bones which have been already blanched, boil them in the 2 litres of water for about 20 mins before adding the radishes and the squid.

Cooking

STEP 1. In a large stock pot, bring 2 litres of water and the soaking liquid to rolling boil. Add all the wedged Radishes and cut Dried squid. Boil for about 40 mins.

STEP 2.  Just before serving, add seasoning and adjust accordingly. Bring to high boil and drop in the chopped celery. Switch off heat and serve.

In my future posts for Chinese soups, I will introduce the Thermal Pot and how to use it for making soups, braising meats, cooking curries and stews.

RECIPE

Serves 6 people

Ingredients

  • 300 gm white radish,
  • 250 gm green radish,
  • 1 1/2 Cup home-made chicken or pork stock (Click here)
  • 50 gm dried squid
  • 2 litres of water
  • 1 to 2 Chinese Celery stalks

Seasoning

  • 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a few dashes of ground white pepper

Preparation of Ingredients

1. Dried squid tends to be salty and should be washed to remove dirt and salt. Take care not to wash them too much as you will also be washing away the flavour. Then, soak them for 30 mins in a bowl with enough water to cover them. They will enlarge. Remove the central “bone” but keep the soaking liquid to be added into the stock later on for cooking. Cut them into smaller pieces.

2. Wash and peel both radishes. Cut them into wedges. Wash and cut Chinese celery.

3.  Instead of Pork Stock, use 250 gm of meaty Pork bones. Bring 750 ml of water to rolling boil in a medium saucepan and blanch the Pork ribs for about 5 mins. Drain.

Cooking Method.

1. In a large stock pot, bring 2 litres of water and the soaking liquid to rolling boil. Add all the wedged Radishes and cut Dried squid. Boil for about 40 mins.

Note: if you are using Pork bones which have been already blanched, boil them in the 2 litres of water for about 20 mins before adding the radishes and the squid.

2.  Just before serving, add seasoning and adjust accordingly. Bring to high boil and drop in the chopped celery. Switch off heat and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Quick meal.This soup is a good accompaniment for One Dish Meals like

1. Chinese Fried Rice Click here ;

2. Yellow Fried Noodles Click here ;

3.Dry Mee Tai Mak Click here.

Expecting company? Depending on the number of people and their dietary preference, suggestions of other dishes to serve are listed below. HINT: Try to use those ingredients that are currently in the fridge, freezer or larder. A sample weekly marketing checklist can be found here, click.

Seafood dishes

1. Dry Assam Seafood. Click here

2. Fried Fish with Fermented Black Bean Sauce. Click here.

3. Stuffed You Tiao (Baked).  Click here.

Meat dishes

1. Beef Rendang (spicy). Click here

2. Singapore Curry Chicken (spicy). Click here.

3. Chicken Breasts with ketchup. Click here.

4. Paper-wrapped Chicken (Baked). Click here.

Vegetable Dishes

1. Broccoli and Meat/Tofu Stir Fry. Click here.

2. Spinach in Broth with 3 types of eggs. Click here.

3. Pork, Spinach and Egg Stir Fry. Click here.

4. Shanghai Cabbage with Oyster Sauce & Garlic. Click here.

Dessert

A plate of cold, freshly cut seasonal fruits is always appropriate. Perhaps you had time to make a dessert like one of the 2 listed below? Either of them is most suited to our hot tropical climate.

1. Almond Jelly + Longans Click here.

2. Coconut Jelly with Can Lychees. Click here.

3. Sweet Potato Dessert Soup. Click here.

4. Sago Pudding. Click here.

5. Orange Agar Agar. Click here

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