How to make a delicious Cantonese-styled Tomato Fish Soup (with vegetables)

How to make a delicious Cantonese-styled Tomato Fish Soup (with vegetables)

How to make a delicious Cantonese-styled Tomato Fish Soup (with vegetables)

Soup Name: Cantonese-styled Tomato Fish Soup (with vegetables)

Traditional Chinese Name: 番茄魚湯 (fān qié yú tāng). The literal translation of this is Tomato Fish Soup. However, this is such a generic name for the soup base (consisting usually of fish and tomatoes), but the soup also usually has other vegetables such as potatoes, which are most common.

Nature:  Slightly cooling (due to the seafood, but I’ve added both ginger and red dates to warm it slightly)

Taste: Sweet and savory

(You can read this article on the impact on your body of different food tastes!)

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

This soup eats like a meal!  So you can serve it with rice or noodles for a complete, health, meal for the whole family!

I did my first LIVE production (on YouTube instead of Instagram) and this is the condensed version of it with narration.

You can watch the full soup production here.

The soup design is simple. The soup base is basically ginger, fish (the freshest ones I could find at the supermarket), and tomatoes.  I then added vegetables that compliment this type of soup such as potatoes, celery, white onions, leeks.  You could add your choice of vegetables as well with the condition that it’s really designed as a quick-boil (and not a long boil).  A quick boil Chinese soup tends to be about an hour max on boil. 

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 90 mins

Total time: 120 mins

Serves: 6 large bowls

Ingredients
  • Your choice of fresh fish.  I like red snappers, small fish are also good. Fish heads like salmon or carp are also nice.  Experiment, try, taste!
  • 5 slices of fresh ginger
  • 1 fresh white onion, peeled and largely sliced
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and largely sliced
  • 4 stalks of celery, deveined and largely sliced
  • 4 fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • 10 dried baby scallops
  • 5 dried red dates
  • 10 cups of water

Prep Instructions

  1. You can follow along in the YouTube video as well.
  2. I will first prep my fish.  This includes descaling (whatever remains from the fish butcher) and thoroughly cleaning the stomachs.  I’ll use a flat knife to remove any extra internals and wash the insides and outsides.  If I’m steaming, I will use a bit of salt to rub the stomach clean and do a full deep cleaning.  The stomach is the bitter part of the fish and if not cleaned properly, you can taste it! I won’t cut off the fins for soup as it’s all going in together.
  3. Half the fish for easier frying and so that it fits into the fish soup bag.
  4. In your soup pot on medium heat, add some oil and fresh ginger.  Once that is warm, pan fry your fish until it’s beautifully browned on both sides.
  5. Using a clean fish soup bag, add your whole fish into it and pull the strings and seal. Set that aside for later.
  6. In the same pot, add white onions and prepared potatoes.
  7. On medium heat still, you’ll want to brown both of these nicely, tossing as needed as not to burn any of them.
  8. I will also add in the leeks and dried scallops at this time to blend the flavors.
  9. Once the scallops, onions, potatoes, and leeks are browned, put your fish (in the soup bag) back into the bottom of the pot.
  10. Add you in dried red dates.
  11. Add your water to ensure everything is fully covered.
  12. Cover and allow that to come to a full boil.
  13. Once the soup fully boils, add in the tomatoes and celery.
  14. Cover again and let that boil for an hour.
  15. Salt, serve and enjoy!

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How to make vegetarian green and white radish carrot Chinese herbal soup packs

How to make vegetarian green and white radish carrot Chinese herbal soup packs

How to make vegetarian green and white radish carrot Chinese herbal soup packs

Tea Name: Vegetarian Green and White Radish and Carrots Chinese Herbal Soup Packs

Traditional Chinese Name: 紅青蘿蔔湯 (hóng qing luóbo tang). Literal translation is “red pale radish soup”.  The red means the carrots (usually), the pale means the green radish (usually), but I’ve also added white radish into this vegetarian creation.

Nature:  Slightly cooling

Taste: Sweet and slightly bitter.  The bitter after tones are so slight and come from the dried tangerine peels, dried raw barley, and the radishes.  This is offset by the sweet herbs that include red date and dried longans and the carrots.

(You can read this article on the impact on your body of different food tastes!)

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

I did my first LIVE production (on Instagram).

You can watch the full soup pack production here.

The design of this soup is for the spring time, to eliminate toxins and liquid from the body.  This is aided by the dried raw barley (which is a diuretic) and the dried tangerine peel.

The soup packs are designed for 3-4 bowls and are meant to fit into a small pot or a 5 cup rice cooker.  I am using a Zojirushi 1L rice cooker that has a host of functions and I just press “cook rice” and it does it thing for an hour and then I have a delicious, healthy, ready-to-serve Chinese soup for dinner! 

The business case for making frozen soup packs in bulk!

This use case continues to amaze me!  Literally, this morning, I was like “I feel like soup” and I took out another one of these soup packs (this one to be precise because I made extra for me and my pescatarian friend) and tossed it into the rice cooker, topped up with water, added a few red dates and an hour later, had soup ready for lunch and dinner.

To start, I did a survey when I first initially created these for friends and the time saving is phenomenal.

On average, it takes someone 2-3 hours of time to make a Chinese soup (beginning to end with checking). Compared to using frozen premade soup packs using a rice cooker, it takes 5 minutes of work (and then 60 mins of no supervision) with an upfront investment of 2-3 hours to make 6 soup packs.  So on average, you are saving 14 hours of time over 6 soups.  The math isn’t perfect, but this was my best estimate based on answers from friends.  That’s HUGE!

    What’s involved?

    Prep time: 45 mins

    Cook time: 0 mins

    Total time: 45 mins

    Serves: 3-4 bowls x 5 soup packs

    Ingredients

    This is for 5 x soup packs:

    • 2 medium sized fresh green radishes
    • 1 medium sized fresh white radish
    • 5 small carrots (1 each)
    • 4 x 5 dried red dates
    • 4 x 5 dried longans
    • 5 dried small tangerine peels (1 inch in length)
    • 2 x 5 teaspoons of dried raw barley (or fried barley works)
    • 3 x 5 tablespoons of roasted cashews (salted or unsalted is fine)

    You’ll also need:

    Prep Instructions

    1. You can follow along in the YouTube video as well.
    2. Peel and chop all your vegetables. I tend to peel my radishes deeper as the skin is quite tough and thick and unpleasant to eat. I’ll chop the pieces quite small, about 1-inch cubes so that they boil quick and can fit into my rice cooker or smaller soup pot. I’ve had friends who also have used instapots for this recipe!
    3. Count out your Chinese herbs.
    4. I’ll then pack each soup pack starting with the vegetables first, green radish and white radish on the bottom and then layer the carrots around then finally the Chinese herbs into vacant spaces.
    5. Be sure to leave at least 2-inches from the top of where you’d like to seal.  You can cut the bag as well to ensure it’s fit to size.
    6. Don’t forget to label the soup with the date of production.  I’ll normally do this with a permanent market.
    7. Insert into your soup bag into the vacuum sealer and seal!  TA-DA!
    8. Immediately put them into the freezer.
    9. When making this, simply take out of the freezer, cut open the soup pack, drop into a rice cooker, instapot, or small pot.  Fill waterline to max.  Press cook rice (usually 60 minutes) and wait until it’s finished.  Serve and enjoy.

    Tricks and tips on prepping frozen Chinese soup packs

    • You can follow this YouTube video on “How to make frozen Chinese soup packs”
    • Cut your ingredients smaller so that it will fit into a rice cooker (or small pot or instapot)
    • Fully wash, cut, and blanch all meats so that they can drop directly into the soup
    • Pack the largest ingredients on the bottom of the pack, working your way up to the smallest (I’ll typically put meats on the bottom)
    • Consider what ingredients are best for frozen conditions.  This is usually roots, melons, starchier vegetables (like broccoli, cauliflower).  I don’t use leafy vegetables that often in these types of soups, although now that I think about it, would love to try a watercress and see how that freezes!
    • Prepare these packs for 3-4 bowls worth (also depends on the size of the rice cooker)
    • Write the date of production with a permanent market so that you know when it was produced, especially if you have a selection in the freezer.
    • Always reserve at least 2-inches at the top of soup pack before you seal to allow for more room to make the seal
    • Use a wet + dry vacuum sealer if you intend to use some of the juice or water reserves (such as coconut water, which is delicious and sweet!)

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    Strengthen spleen and remove dampness with this warming Chinese herbal tea

    Strengthen spleen and remove dampness with this warming Chinese herbal tea

    Strengthen spleen and remove dampness with this warming Chinese herbal tea

    Tea Name: Spleen strengthening damp removing herbal tea

    Traditional Chinese Name: 健脾祛濕茶 (jiàn pí qū shī chá) – direct translation here is “spleen strength remove damp” tea.  This is also quite a generic name in terms of the function of the tea rather than the ingredients and variations of this exist, it just depends on what herbs are being used.

    Nature:  Slightly warming

    Taste: Sweet and slightly bitter

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    For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

    It’s quite common to consume damp reducing teas and soups in the Spring in Traditional Chinese Medicine and in Asia.  

    What’s involved?

    Prep time: 2 mins

    Cook time: 5 mins

    Total time: 7 mins

    Serves: 1 cup

    Ingredients
      Cooking Instructions
      1. In a cup, add all the ingredients together. 
      2. You can use a disposable tea bag to keep all the ingredients together.  This is because the barley will float and sometimes get in the way! 
      3. Add in boiling water, cover, and steep for 5 minutes
      4. Serve and enjoy!
      Any benefits?
      • This tea is slightly warming and ideal to keep the body warm (which is ideal to support replenishing Qi) with the red dates, astragalus root, and tangerine peel
      • The astragalus root and red dates help replenish Qi in the body
      • This tea is diuretic, meaning it helps dispel water from the body, supported by the barley and the mulberry root (which helps with urination and reduced swelling from water)
      • You can drink this daily
      • It is ideal for the whole family

      For videos, visit us on YouTube.

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      How to make fragrant salted egg soup base with vermicelli, tofu, and napa cabbage

      How to make fragrant salted egg soup base with vermicelli, tofu, and napa cabbage

      How to make fragrant salted egg soup base with vermicelli, tofu, and napa cabbage

      Soup Name: Fragrant salted egg soup base with vermicelli and napa cabbage (optional vegetarian-styled)

      Traditional Chinese Name: 鹹蛋集菜 (xián dàn jí cài tāng) – direct translation here is “salty egg vegetable soup”.

      Nature:  Neutral

      Taste: Salty and sweet

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      For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

      Salted duck eggs were for sale at the supermarket!

      And I haven’t had them for awhile, so what better way to use a whole bunch as a soup base?

      Part of the reason to mash up the salted duck eggs is so that it blends directly into the soup (so the kids can’t see it- lol).  The salted duck eggs create a flavorful, smooth, and milky broth (because they are pretty salty and the egg yolk dissolves).

      This makes for a great soup base so you can add other ingredients on top for a delicious quick boil soup for dinner!

       

      What’s involved?

      Prep time: 10 mins

      Cook time: 25 mins

      Total time: 35 mins

      Serves: 6 bowls

      Ingredients
      • 2 cooked salted duck eggs
      • 3 pieces of garlic, diced
      • 1 fresh whole onion, diced
      • 2 fresh napa cabbage
      • 1 block of soft tofu
      • 2 bunches of dried green bean vermicelli
      • fresh green onions
      • 2 medium sized fresh octopus (optional, I used this as a topping which I pan fried separately in the end.  This just helped keep the soup from tasting a bit fishy)
      • 2 L of water (or 10 cups)
        Cooking Instructions
        1. In your soup pot with a bit of oil, add in your diced onions and garlic and fry on medium heat until slightly browned.
        2. Peel your salted duck eggs and drop into your soup pot.  Using a heat resistant silicon spatula, break up the salted duck eggs into small pieces, especially the egg white.  The yolk itself will begin to melt and this is perfect!
        3. Once most of the eggs are broken up into small pieces, add in your soup water (10 cups).
        4. Cover and allow that to boil on medium heat for 10 minutes.
        5. Add in your chopped napa cabbage and vermicelli.  Be sure to push the vermicelli down into the soup to allow that to be fully covered.  Cover and allow that to boil for 10 minutes.
        6. I’ll then add in the fresh tofu directly on top.  Cover and boil for 5 minutes.  The tofu cooks really fast!
        7. Flavor as needed. I just added a bit of soy sauce and salt, but you can additional add in another 2 fresh duck eggs, halved, so that you can fish them out and eat them with rice!
        8. Serve and enjoy!
        9. I separately fried the fresh octopus because I didn’t want the fishy taste of the octopus in the soup and the family could eat it as a topping with the vermicelli soup dinner!

        Why I love this soup!

        • There are so many reasons that this is absolutely an amazing soup that I will continue to make more of going forward!  It’s quick, easy-to-make, and you don’t need a lot of ingredients.
        • You can’t even taste the salted duck eggs unless you really knew what you were looking for!  It’s smooth, even, and milky in texture and absolutely delicious!
        • LOL, yes, I love my fun salt star wand.  Now I am a fairy… I’ve been using this thing for all my cooking now!  You can also put garlic salt or pepper into these things.  So cute!  So fun!

        For videos, visit us on YouTube.

        • Some or all of these links may contain Amazon product referral links; as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. If you decide to use them, I would be grateful. If not, I am always thankful for your continued support! ❤️

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        What to eat in Taiwan… here’s to cycling and eating my way through Taiwan!

        What to eat in Taiwan… here’s to cycling and eating my way through Taiwan!

        What to eat in Taiwan… here’s to cycling and eating my way through Taiwan!

        If you’re planning to visit Taiwan, here are a few key things you should look for during your visit.  I’ve been to Taiwan many times and every time, it feels like the first time!  The food options are many and continue to evolve and change with every visit!

        For starters, it’s a great that we are cycling through Taiwan at the same time.  This means, we can travel to different cities and we can eat way more than I usually do because we’re doing massive rides (or elevation) here.

          Some of the food highlights in Taiwan!

          There is never a shortage of food or things to try, eat, or drink in Taiwan. I must admit, I didn’t cover everything, we actually missed quite a bit, but at the same time… I’m so happy with this trip!💗💗💗

          • As a cyclist, it’s got to be the 7-11’s.  A lot of our midday lunches and snacks are done in 7-11’s.  This is because they are fast, easy, they dot most of the major routes we ride, have both drinks and foods (especially stuff with electrolytes) and have washrooms. Versatile, cheap, variety packed, and one of the best stops for cyclists!  So in 7-11’s, we basically cleaned out their tea and soy soaked eggs. These deliciously soft and protein packed snacks are highly coveted by cyclists and amazing cheap at 70 cents CAD per egg.  I’ll take them!
          • Taiwanese breakfasts!  Traditional, simple, affordable.  There are all sorts of breakfast options that include fried turnip cake, egg pancakes, green onion pancakes, glutinous rice wrapped with Chinese donuts, fried pork dumplings, beef stuffed buns, sweet or savory soy milk, all sorts of egg pancakes with ham, cheese, pork floss, onions, green onions, etc… SO YUMMY!

           

          • These breakfasts are so commonplace in Taiwan you can find so many of these shops along most streets as corner shops. They open super early at 6:00 am and often the best of the tastiest shops have line ups out the door.

           

          • Taiwanese desserts!  Especially their iced desserts loaded with a billion toppings of choice.  We also soft served fresh tofu fa with shaved brown sugar and a sweet hot soup dessert filled with mochi, tapioca, and red beans.  Here, I am enjoying the works.  It’s basically a fully loaded bing sha with grass jelly, tapioca, mochi, red bean paste, taro paste, and topped with a black sugar syrup and condensed milk.  It ate like a meal.  I was so full afterwards!  But so yummy! 

           

           

          • Taiwan bed and breakfasts!  There are so many CUTE! CUTE! bed and breakfasts in a lot of rural and Eastern coast of Taiwan, near Hualien and into Kenting.  These places are like the Taipei get aways and tend to be coastal, easy-going, resort places!  
          • They serve the cutest, most complete and healthy breakfasts here!  Some have a buffet styled meal with soy sauce fried eggs, more buns, a selection of local fruits, pan fried radish cakes, and a healthy selection of fresh local vegetables fried in garlic, often served with rice or congee and all the toppings like pork floss, marinated cucumbers, fried gluten, spiced bamboo, seaweed and sesame flakes, fried baby shrimp, and so many others!  It’s yummy! 
          • Night markets.  A must visit in any Taiwan city.  You’ll find food, shopping, gifts, games, desserts, and drinks.  And then, lots of people!  Each night market has its own variety of specialty dishes. I found the ones along the coast had more seafood, while the ones in Taipei had more unique custom blends and fusion of foods.  A majority of the foods are grilled or pan fried, and the drinks tend to be cold.  Every time I visit Taiwan though, the night market variety changes.  You will always have your staples such as hawker styled noodles, rice, and meals.  I love these!  Try them all!  So be sure to share!  Like literally, buy one of each so that you can eat many!

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