Soup Name: Ginseng Fruit and Gobo in Vegetable Soup
Traditional Chinese Name: 牛蒡人参果湯 (niúbàng rénshēn guǒ tāng)
A very clear and deep sweet soup that is extremely flavorful and rich in Vitamins. Both the ginseng fruit and the gobo root give this soup all the flavor it needs, so no meat is required. You can add a variety of vegetables to it like carrots, corn, chayotes, onions to make your soup creation. The great thing about using ginseng fruit is that the soup actually smells and tastes like ginseng, but without the hole in your wallet!
To my readers: Project Food Blog is a competition hosted by foodbuzz to find the ultimate food blogger. I am an active participant – here’s my profile and this is my second challenge. I know that this is not a Chinese soup – but the challenge called for something out of my comfort zone so I have decided to venture away from anything Asian and yes, all the way to Africa. Please vote for me on Sept 27, 2010 when voting opens!
Something that is outside of my ethnic comfort zone would definitely have to be a place where I am DYING to go and have NEVER been. How does MOROCCO sound? It’s in the Kingdom of Morocco, located in North Africa. To me, this is foreign, exotic, sexy and new.
Because I am the Chinese soup lady and while being true to my passion for soups, I decided to try and make a Moroccan Sweet Potato, Carrot and Chickpea Soup.
The challenge of this challenge: I’m in Hong Kong and while it’s supposedly an international city – finding non-Asian ingredients aren’t always easy. Lucky for me (after 2 rounds of local supermarkets), I went to an international supermarket and paid an extravagant amount of money (as compared to my normal soup fare) for organic and imported goods. The interesting thing about this soup is that you almost start it like cooking a meal, but the end result is a delicious and fragrant soup. The Chinese don’t use such fragrant spices (in fact, a majority of the Chinese herbs are quite smelly), so my house immediately became an exotic place as soon as I added the spices with my husband coming home to say that the hallway of our apartment smelled “different”. Ah-haha… right. If he only knew how different dinner would be tonight! Ah-hahahaha…
The end result? I loved it and my husband compared it to a borscht, but he still downed 1 giant bowl. I then brought over a container full for my family the day after and my mom had 2 bowls, my pregnant sister had 1 bowl and even my sister in confinement (a Chinese postpartum methodology) had to sample some. You see, I could totally be an everything soup lady! The only damper to this experience was that my kids didn’t seem to appreciate it like the adults did (after experimenting the soup on 4 kids). I suspect that I will need to help broaden their horizons in the culinary arena by introducing more new and exciting flavors to their relatively limited Asian cuisines.
Add onion and garlic, stirring, cook for 5 minutes.
Stir in coriander, cumin and chili powder. Cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Add in sweet potato and carrots. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes.
Add chicken stock and cover.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
Add chickpeas, stir and cover. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes or until chickpeas have softened.
Blend in batches and return to pot, simmer for 5 minutes, stirring.
Ladle to soups, top with croutons and serve!
See, it looks like a meal….but I love the colors, smell and these are some of my fav ingredients.
Like I said in my previous challenge, my palette prefers a little more H2O.
Getting up close and personal to the soup.
The great thing about making this soup is that it is a complete 180 degree of what I normally make and eat. To put this into perspective, it’s probably near impossible to find a Moroccan restaurant in Hong Kong – so instead of going there now, why not bring Morocco to Hong Kong? And no honey (this part dedicated to my husband), it doesn’t mean that I no longer want to go there, it makes me want to go there MORE!
Introduction: With Spring just around the corner, this simple and hearty soup is a perfect way to welcome in the warming weather. This soup, along with a simple bowl of brown rice, served as dinner for my whole family, including our two-year old daughter. Water chestnuts add a delicious sweetness, a crunchy texture and creates a “cool” soup perfect for the season. Add in some hearty beans and vegetables to round out the meal.