I love plain and simple clear soups. That’s why I do not really like the Malay or Indian soups with all those exotic spices added…and they tend to be rather oily. As for the thick soups at Chinese restaurants, sharks’ fins or sea cucumber or sweet corn to name a few, I do not mind those sometimes for a change but my choice is still the clear ones.
My missus would add this and that when she cooks soups in the hope of enhancing the taste. I would not say that it is not nice but they will all turn out different e.g. her bean curd stick soup would not be like what I’ve always known it to be and loved.
I would break the sticks into bite-sized lengths, boil some water and soak the sticks in it first to soften them thoroughly and then I would drain away the water and rinse the sticks…
My daughter would take the soup but would not eat these as she said they seemed like plastic to her. Chesh! LOL!!!
For the soup base, I would use pork bones or minced meatballs. The other day, I found this chunk of pork bone in the freezer so I used that…
I boiled that in water with four cloves of garlic, peeled and let that simmer for at least half an hour.
This may be the base for any vegetable soup. Bring it back to boil, throw in the cut and cleaned green leafy veg and serve. I do not like the veg if it has been cooked in the soup for much longer than needed especially when it has gone all discoloured. Cabbage and Chinese cabbage may be cooked this way too.
I guess if you’re not into non-halal stuff, you can replace the meat with chicken or use one of those chicken or ikan bilis (anchovies) stock cubes. Using prawns or beef would probably bring the soup to a different level altogether and would not taste the same even though that may be nice as well.
Anyway, back to the bean curd sticks, once the soup base was ready, I added a pinch of salt and msg according to taste and threw in the softened bean curd sticks, allowing it to simmer for a while for the taste to go into the soup. My mother would add a tablespoon of fish gravy for extra flavour but I did not have that in the house so I used chio cheng (light soy sauce) instead.
Garnish with chopped spring onions or daun sup (Chinese celery) and serve…
You may slice some shallots and fry in oil for the garnishing too, if so desired but I would not use those ready-fried ones sold in supermarkets. Somehow, they seem to have a very peculiar and repulsive smell and taste to me and I just do not like it at all.
So, easy, isn’t it? Plain and simple and clear bean curd stick soup – I love it…and I’m sure you’ll love it too!