I’d take a bowl of soup over salad any time, any day of the week. There’s just something about a good, hearty soup that warms you from your toenails to the tip of your nose, especially when it’s cold.
The easiest soup: chicken soup. Although I honestly haven’t seen too many people make it here in the States, even though it’s a basic ingredient in Hong Kong. I often see the canned Campbell’s version, and while it isn’t too bad, sometimes it has this metallic taste that canned food gets, and it tastes a little fake for some reason. If you’ve ever had a clear chicken broth, you’d know what I mean. Plus it’s an excellent way to utilise the bones of a chicken, which are often thrown away. It’s almost unbearable. Especially during Thanksgiving – I’ve heard of families ordering a 30lb turkey, roasting it, and then only eating the breast before throwing the entire thing out. Honestly, if you’re going to do that, GIVE IT TO ME. I will make it last for another 2-3 months making turkey soup, turkey congee, turkey sandwiches, turkey salads, turkey turkey, etc.
Other things that most people would throw away are actually very good for making soup, such as the heart of a head of cabbage, or the shell of a crab or shrimp. They surprisingly contain the most flavour of the ingredient (if you’ve ever had shrimp cooked with its shell still on, you know what I’m talking about), which is what a good soup needs.
Another great thing about soups is that even foods that I normally hate eating, I usually end up loving the soup version, e.g. tomatoes, celery, carrots. The water either dilutes the strong taste of the flavours I dislike, or boiling/liquifying the ingredient actually brings out the best in the ingredient. Oh! And it’s always a great substitute for solid food, especially during those times after a trip to the dentist or orthodontist.
One soup my mother always made for me was quite unusual – she used apples and lotus seeds cooked with in a pork broth. The result is a very aromatic soup that smells like apples yet has all the depth of any pork-based soup (think of the soup made at your favourite ramen restaurant). Mmmm. Now I feel like going to Joy Yee’s to have some noodles with their delicious pork broth.