Lotus root soup
Unlike Zurin, I don't have a cat so I may resort to blogging about my toes soon. But I'll try to keep to food as much as I can. This is one of those no-effort-cook week for me, leaving everything to Vero. Just for those of you who never cooked lotus root soup, here's how. I know, I know, just bear with me, not everyone can cook soup. Not even Chinese soups, which are the easiest soups to cook.
When you are feeling a little tired, weak and lifeless, you need a strengthening and nourishing soup like lotus root soup. You can add some peanuts (skin on) to make the soup even richer. All you need are some bones (chicken, pork or beef bones, pork being the traditional choice), dried red dates, dried cuttlefish and lotus root. Make sure the lotus root is fresh and not wrinkled or moldy (told you this post is for those who don't cook--or go marketing). Usually the whole root is put to boil and not sliced but if you are too busy, you can cut it up and chuck all the ingredients to boil in one go. The good thing about cutting the root up is that should it have a bruise or hole on its surface and some mud got in and lined the internal 'tunnels', it can be washed away. Restaurants always cut them up because that way, it is easier to cook and serve. Boiling lotus root whole has its advantage too. You can take the whole root out of the soup after its done and slice them neatly and serve separately, with some soy sauce dip. Just make sure you cut the root into half and flush out the dirt in the holes, if any.
The fun thing about eating boiled lotus root is that when you take a bite and pull the root apart, it 'strings'. And it's tasty and has a unique bite that can be floury and crunchy at the same time. When I'm low on energy and appetite, I like to pour hot lotus root soup over my rice and that's a meal. This soup is especially nice when the weather's cool. Like now, when the clouds are dark and angry and the aroma of the soup fills every room. Lotus root soup on a rainy night like tonight is like a hearty bean soup on a cold wintry night. Super yum and comforting.
This soup tastes even better if you cook it early and let it sit and develop the flavor. Re-heat when ready to eat.
Lotus Root Soup
800g lotus root
700-800 g pork or beef or chicken bones or meat, or combination of
1 small piece (20 g) dried cuttle fish
1 small handful dried red dates
Prep: Scrape the skin off the lotus root, cut off the hard ends and half each root. Wash well to remove any dirt inside the root tunnels. Boil some hot water and pour over the bones or meat until they turn white. Pour away the water. This will remove any unpleasant smell. Soak the red dates, wash & drain. Use a pair of tongs and hold the cuttle fish over a fire until it curls and chars at the edges. Do toast it well or it won't give the soup enough flavor. You can also toast it in the oven. Wash & pick off the burnt parts of the toasted cuttle fish.
1. Put everything in your stock pot, add enough water to cover with about 2 cm of water above the ingredients. If you like the soup to be richer and sweeter, the water should just cover the ingredients. Cover the pot and crank the dial to high. When the soup comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and boil for 2 hours. Unless a lot of water has been lost, there's no need to top up the water.
2. Season soup with some white pepper and salt if like. Take the lotus root out and when cool, slice into 1/2 cm slices. You can put the lotus slices back into the soup or serve them separately with a flavored soy sauce like Maggi. Serve the soup hot.