Chinese Soup – Tang Ho 茼蒿 (tónghāo) with Fishballs

Chinese Soup - 001 Fishballs n Tang Hoo edited re-sized

We grew up enjoying this clear, aromatic soup knowing little about all its possible health benefits. Some regional Chinese and several South East Asian cuisines feature many soups which have as their base, clear bouillon (fish, chicken, or pork stock) where vegetables, meat or seafood are added into the boiling stock, quickly cooked over high heat and served within 10 to 15 mins of cooking. I would like to share this recipe which can be so easily put together. Your helper will learn how to prepare this soup in no time.

Tang Ho (茼蒿) is a healthy, edible plant native to East Asia. It is rich in chlorogenic acid (a type of hydroxycinnamic acid), carotene, flavonoids, vitamins and potassium, and can offer a multitude of health benefits. If you like more details, please read further at www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/garland-chrysanthemum-leaves.php#ixzz3YsY2GBuS

I found an interesting comment made by an American, Sophia Markoulakis. On June 15th 2010 in an article entitled, “Asian Greens. Even if you don’t like Asian Food, try these” she had said,

“Most of the foods that we in North America label as “exotic” or “ethnic” are neither in their countries of origin. Betel leaves, for example, might be unfamiliar to a native Iowan, but a dietary staple to a native Thai. 

Thanks to the small immigrant farms and ethnic markets that continue to pop up in communities across the United States, our selection of fresh Asian greens has expanded in recent years. This increased availability offers not just new flavors to the uninitiated but new cuisines and cultures. And the health benefits of these tasty tender greens, which are full of B vitamins, A and C vitamins, calcium, and important minerals and antioxidants, mean that Asian greens should be on everyone’s plates.”

Some Comments about the Ingredients 

  • Tang Ho (茼蒿) – Chinese name for Chrysanthemum coronarium. It is known as 春菊 shungiku in Japanese but it is slightly different in appreance as shown in the photo below (http://veganascent.blogspot.sg/). However, its taste is similar.

  • Fish-ballsboth raw and cooked ones may be bought at the local wet or supermarkets. Fish balls are also sold in different sizes and some are plain whilst some have bits of red chilly and spring onions in them. The Asian groceries in California carry several brands too.
  • Home-made stocks. Although I used chicken stock (click here)for this recipe, please feel free to use fish or pork stock (click here). A quick substitute would be to use some commercially prepared stock cubes.
  • Seasoning and garnish. Fish sauce, salt and ground pepper. Garnish with a sprinkle of fried chopped garlic.

Preparation of Ingredients

Step 1. Prepare the vegetable by peeling each leaf from its short stalk and washing it in fresh water 2 to 3 times to clean it well. Place them is a bowl and cut leaves into 2 sections using a pair of kitchen scissors.

Step 2. Fill a small stock pot or large sauce pan with 2 cups of chicken stock and 3 cups of water.

Cooking Soup

STEP 1. Bring the pot of soup and water to rolling boil over high heat. Add the fish-balls. Raw ones will take longer to cook whilst pre-cooked ones just need to be heated up. Whichever type you use, the fish-balls will turn opaque when cooked and float to the top.

STEP 2. Once this happens, add in the Tang Ho with the heat still on high. Cook for no more than 2 mins.

STEP 3. Cover pot to keep soup hot whilst you are getting your bowls, seasoning and garnish to complete and serve soup. Uncover, season with about 1 Tbsp of Fish sauce, 1/2 tsp salt and a few dashes of ground pepper. Scoop soup and fish-balls into Chinese soup bowls, garnish with fried garlic and serve.

RECIPE

Serves: 4 to 5

Ingredients

  • 2 cups home-made chicken stock
  • 1 packet of fish-balls (raw or pre-cooked)
  • 3 bunches of Tang Ho

Method:

1. Prepare the vegetable by peeling each leaf from its short stalk and washing it in fresh water 2 to 3 times to clean it well. Place them is a bowl or plate and cut leaves into 2 sections using a pair of kitchen scissors.

2. Fill a small stock pot or large sauce pan with 2 cups of chicken stock and 3 cups of water. Bring the pot of soup and water to rolling boil over high heat. Add the fish-balls. Raw ones will take longer to cook whilst pre-cooked ones just need to be heated up. Whichever type you use, the fish-balls will turn opaque when cooked and float to the top.

3. Once this happens, add in the Tang Ho with the heat still high. Cook for no more than 2 mins.

4.  Cover pot to keep soup hot whilst you are getting your bowls, seasoning and garnish to complete and serve soup. Uncover, season with about 1 Tbsp of Fish sauce, 1/2 tsp salt and a few dashes of ground pepper. Scoop soup and fish balls into Chinese soup bowls, garnish with fried garlic 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;

Full course meal. This soup goes well with other dishes when you are serving more people at home or as your pot luck contribution.

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. Chicken Breasts with ketchup. Click here.

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

3. Pari Pari Style Chicken Wings. 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.

5. Ladies Fingers with Dried Prawn Sambal (spicy). Click here.

6. Kai Lan and Sweet Potato Lemak (spicy). Click here.

7. Bitter Gourd Lemak (spicy). Click here.

Dessert

Besides seasonal fruits and ice cream, some cold desserts which can be prepared ahead would be most suited to our hot tropical climate.

1. Almond Jelly + Longans Click here.

2. Coconut Jelly with Can Lychees. Click here.

3. Sago Pudding. Click here.

4. Ginger Poached Pears. Click here.

5. Caramel Custard. Click here.

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