Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht Soup

Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht Soup

Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht Soup

Soup Name:

Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht (with oxtail)

Traditional Chinese Name:

羅宋湯 (luó sòng tāng)

Nature:  Warming

Taste: Savory, sweet, and slightly sour

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Did you know the secret ingredient to an HK-styled Russian Borscht is Worcestershire sauce (and some lemon juice)?

Falling off the bone oxtail?

Soft delicious veggies?

Savory and a hint of tart delicious broth?

Yes, the Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht is a classically adopted fusion soup that is very different and uniquely different to the traditional European borscht (no beetroots or cream).  Instead, it’s a tomato based beef broth and a range of choice vegetables diced small. 

I love the subtle tart flavours of the soup, but yet incredibly savory and hearty.  This soup indeed eats like a meal!

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 120 minutes 

Total time: 150 mins

Serves: 8 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 full oxtail
  • Optional pieces of beef flank
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and largely cubed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and largely cubed
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled and largely cubed2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, slicked thin
  • 3 dried dates
  • Fresh green onions

Flavouring

  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 lemon
  • 5 dried bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons or Worcestershire sauce
  • 11-12 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Cooking Instructions

  1. In your soup pot, with a bit of oil on med heat, pan fry the garlic cloves and oxtails until golden brown and fragrant (they smell so good!).  I don’t blanch and will do this instead.
  2. Add the cubed beef flanks and potatoes, allowing them to also brown nicely
  3. Add in your soup water, about 11-12 cups of water and turn on high heat
  4. I will then drop in my vegetables, tomatoes, celery, onion, carrots, and the dried dates
  5. Cover and let it come to a full boil, then reduce to med heat for another 1.5 hours
  6. Here you can now add in the flavouring of the soup (this is what really makes it distinct as a the HK-styled Russian Borscht)
  7. I will also throw in the cabbage
  8. Cover and let that simmer for another 30 minutes
  9. Garnish with fresh green onions, serve, and enjoy!

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Vietnamese Pho – Beef Noodle Soup

Vietnamese Pho Beef Noodle Soup

Vietnamese Pho Beef Noodle Soup

 

One of my favourite soups of all time is the Vietnamese beef broth that is made for pho noodles, or specifically, Vietnamese Pho Beef Noodle Soup.  I first truly learned it while travelling to Vietnam and took a cooking course given by locals, and my life has never been the same! After learning the original base, you can pretty much tweak it as you like.  The good thing is that I live in Asia, and all the ingredients are readily available. The challenge is that to make a good beef soup base, you need to boil it for quite some time – we’re looking at a solid 3 hours or more (like all broths).  Even if you can’t find all the ingredients, no worries – just improvise!

Soup NameVietnamese Pho – Beef Noodle Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:  越南牛肉河粉 (Yuè nán niú ròu hé fěn)

If you want to skip my running commentary, just go to the bottom for the full, quick-read recipe.

First, you need FRESH ingredients. I’m talking about fresh beef bones, fresh vegetables, and fresh beef slices.  For this round, I used beef ribs. They are giant bones, so you’ll need a giant pot! I use a thermal pot to save electricity and it does the boiling for me so I can go out!  The recipe usually calls for fresh beef knuckles or leg bones (with plenty of marrow goodness) – but these tend to be more fatty in nature, so just be sure to skim off the oil (and scum) when it surfaces.

Fresh Beef Bones

Fresh Beef Bones

Start by blanching all the bones in a separate pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes. This will remove impurities, scum and oil off the bones in preparation for your soup.

You can also begin to char the fresh ginger and fresh onions – usually done with an oven or on an open flame. This will bring out the wonderfully natural flavours of these ingredients.  I can already smell the onions as they broil in the oven and I’m not even on to making the soup yet!

Fresh ginger and onions for Vietnamese Pho

Fresh ginger and onions for Vietnamese Pho

Charred fresh ginger and onions

Charred fresh ginger and onions

Next are the spices. In Asian supermarkets, you can usually buy them pre-packaged as a bundle, but if not, you’ll need a handle of each for the flavouring.  Pick up some star anise, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, fennel, and coriander. You’ll also need a soup mesh bag to keep all the spices together because at some point, you’ll need to remove them and it’s way easier this way!

Soup mesh bag with spices for Vietnamese Pho Beef Noodle Soup

Soup mesh bag with spices for Vietnamese Pho Beef Noodle Soup

For the soup base, you’ll also need fish sauce, salt, and rock sugar. In the meantime, just throw in the blanched beef bones, charred ginger and onions, spices, salt, fish sauce and rock sugar into a large pot of boiling water and boil uncovered for at least 2 – 2.5 hours.

Vietnamese Pho Beef Noodle Soup base

Vietnamese Pho Beef Noodle Soup base

I was taught that at around this point, you should remove all the floating ingredients of the broth and taste test the soup for saltiness or flavour. You can adjust the taste by adding either more fish sauce, more salt or more sugar depending on what fits your taste.  Do this in small amounts so that you never go overboard because it’s pretty darn hard to remove dissolved salt – or at least correct without adding more water, which will then dilute the beef stock.  I personally don’t even take out the ingredients and taste it like that and serve. Whatever tickles your fancy as a chef.

Also start to soak your dried Vietnamese pho noodles.  Soak in a large pot of cool water for at least 15 minutes – or whatever the instructions of the noodles are. You can even use Thai noodles, Chinese rice noodles, or whatever noodles you like. Actually, it doesn’t really matter because you’re eating it!

At this point, I lay out the bowls – layering first the bottom with thinly sliced fresh white onion rings and bean sprouts. Or you can leave it up to your guest to lay their own, kind of like a buffet.

Fresh onions and bean sprouts ready for Vietnamese Pho

Fresh onions and bean sprouts ready for Vietnamese Pho

Put in noodles to the bowl, as much as you’ll eat.  I then blanch the fresh beef slices quickly in the broth and lay them on top as well and then ladle out that heavenly soup goodness so that it covers the beef completely.  Be sure the soup is still boiling at this time.  Top with fresh mint, cilantro, parsley, basil, more bean sprouts, chilli peppers and lime to finish it off. And ta-da! Yummy Vietnamese Pho, made from scratch!

Vietnamese Pho – Beef Noodle Soup
Recipe Type: Vietnamese Pho
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 4-5 pieces of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/fresh-beef-bones/”]fresh beef bones[/url]
  • 2 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/onions-fresh/”]fresh onions[/url], halved
  • 2 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/ginger-fresh/”]fresh ginger[/url] pieces (2″ long each), halved
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp of coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp of fennel seeds
  • 5 whole [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/star-anise/”]star anise[/url]
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup of fish sauce
  • 1 inch chunk of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/rock-sugar/”]rock sugar[/url]
  • 1/2 tbsp of salt
  • additional salt to taste
  • 3 L of water
  • 1 pack of dried Vietnamese noodles
  • 1 pound of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/beef-slices/”]fresh beef slices[/url]
  • fresh limes
  • fresh [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chinese-parsley-or-cilantro/”]cilantro[/url]
  • fresh mint leaves
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh bean sprouts
  • 2-3 fresh chilli peppers, chopped small
Instructions
  1. In a large pot of boiling water, blanch the beef bones to remove impurities, scum and fat
  2. Using an oven, char the halved onions and ginger in a pan until nicely browned, remove from oven and let cool
  3. Start to boil your soup water in a separate large pot
  4. Once your soup water boils, add in the beef bones, onions, ginger and spices (put into a mesh bag), fish sauce, rock sugar and salt
  5. Boil on medium heat for at least 3 hours
  6. Prepare the noodles by soaking them or following the instructions on the package
  7. Taste the soup at this point on whether you need to add more sugar, fish sauce or salt and add accordingly
  8. In a serving bowl, lay the bottom with sliced fresh onions, bean sprouts and noodles
  9. Blanch the freshly sliced beef quickly in the soup and lay on top of the noodles
  10. Ladle enough soup to cover the sliced beef and noodles
  11. Add as desired, fresh mint leaves, cilantro, basil, bean sprouts, parsley, chilli peppers and lime
  12. Serve and enjoy!