Ddeokguk / Tteokguk / Korean Rice Cake Soup

soup

This soup is one of my go-to Korean dishes that the whole family loves. If you’re gluten-free, look for the rice cakes/ovalettes that are made without wheat. They look like this and usually come vacuum-packaged in the refrigerated section of your Korean or Asian store. There are many ways to make the soup; this is my favorite.

To make it, you’ll need

1 pound of sirloin or tenderloin or rib-eye meat, sliced thinly across the grain, and then into bite-sized strips

It’s easiest to slice meat in semi-frozen state; you can also purchase pre-sliced bulgogi beef at your Korean store, they usually come in 2-pound packages, at least where I live, so if not making straight up bulgogi I divide the package into 1-pound packages to incorporate into stir-fries or soups.

Marinate the beef in a bowl, at least 30 minutes or up to several hours in the fridge, with:

4 large cloves garlic, crushed, peeled and mashed to a paste with a pinch of sea salt
1 inch piece gingerroot, peeled and minced
2 scallions, chopped, plus additional if using for topping
3 tablespoons soy sauce (or use wheat-free tamari
if you’re gluten-free)
2 tablespoons sugar (regular granulated or brown will work here)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
several grinds freshly ground black pepper

To make the soup:

1 1.5-lb. package rice cake ovalettes
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
cooking spray or additional oil for making omelettes and stir-frying beef
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 sheets toasted gim or nori
Fish sauce and/or soy sauce/tamari, to taste
2 scallions, sliced thinly
Storebought or homemade kimchi for serving
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Shichimi togarashi
for serving, to taste

In a large bowl, soak the rice cakes in tap water for 30 minutes.

While the rice cakes are soaking, heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. When hot but not smoking, add marinated beef and stir fry a few minutes over high heat until it has turned color. With a slotted spoon, remove half the beef into a bowl. Add 7 cups water into the saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling lower heat to a simmer, 20 minutes or so.

While broth is cooking, heat skillet and coat bottom with cooking spray or oil. When hot, pour in enough of the beaten egg to cover bottom of pan. Cook briefly, just until set, and remove to a cutting board. Repeat with the remaining egg, coating bottom of skillet with spray or oil each time, until all the egg is gone. Julienne and set aside.

Cut nori with scissors into thin strips, or crush into pieces with your hands.

Add scallions to the broth. Taste for seasoning and adjust using fish sauce and/or soy sauce. Add the soaked rice cakes and cook 7-8 minutes or just until tender. Do not overcook.

While rice cakes are cooking, heat skillet and coat with a bit of oil. Over high heat, return the beef that was set aside and stir-fry a few minutes or just until heated through.

Ladle broth and rice cakes into bowls, top with beef, julienned egg, and gim/nori strips. Sprinkle with (optional) chopped scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with shichimi togarashi and kimchi on the side.

Hot and Sour Soup

It’s supposed to be spring! It’s 37 degrees F outside. I want my salad and my fruit and my cold soups. Instead I’m back to this. But at least I can eat it by a sunny window. Gotta be thankful for the little things.

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Hot and Sour Soup, adapted from a favorite, Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook

This is pretty much an assembly job. You work in steps and groups of ingredients, and then combine everything in the end, when they come together beautifully.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, about 7 cups. While waiting for water to boil, put the following into separate bowls:

1/4 cup black fungus, aka dried tree ear or cloud ear fungus
1/4 cup dried lily buds
1/3 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1 or 2 dried Chinese hot peppers (optional)
1/2 lb. pork meat (I like lean cuts here, so loin or tenderloin will do, as will boneless pork chops), cut into thin strips/shreds

When water is boiling, add about 2 cups total to the black fungus, dried lily buds, shiitake mushrooms, and hot peppers, just enough to cover. Let soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, about 20 minutes.

To the remaining boiling water, add 2 tablespoons of the shredded meat, decreasing the heat and letting it simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add the following to the remaining pork in the bowl:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Whisk together in another bowl (I know, this calls for a lot of bowls, but it’s worth it, trust me):

2 eggs
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water


While things are soaking and simmering, prepare:

1/2 package firm tofu, julienned
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 green onions, trimmed sliced thinly
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

When tender, remove hard twiggy parts from the black fungus and de-stem the mushrooms. Slice fungus and mushrooms into thin strips. Tear the lily buds into long shreds with your fingers. Leave red peppers whole or slice into strips if you want your soup hotter.

Add the black fungus, lily buds, and mushrooms into the soup. Let simmer a few minutes, then add the julienned tofu, along with the salt, rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce. Increase heat and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 7 minutes.

Give the marinated pork a final stir, then add to the soup along with the green onions, stirring well to prevent the pork strips from sticking to each other. Simmer 5 more minutes.

Give the egg-and-cornstarch mixture one last good whisk. Pour slowly into the soup, stirring gently to form shreds. Increase to heat to medium and let boil a few more minutes to thicken and clear. Add black pepper and stir once more to flavor.

Taste and add more black pepper and rice wine vinegar if necessary, or serve and let diners adjust seasonings at the table.


This would make a great addition to your fall or winter table. It’s particularly appropriate to prepare on St. Gabriel Taurin Dufresse‘s feast day on September 14.

Broccoli “Cream” Soup

brocreamsoup

Really easy soup for the cooler weather. 🙂

1 large onion or 2 leeks, chopped
2-3 small bunches broccoli or one large
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons butter, or extra-virgin olive oil, or 1 tablespoon each
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I use the bone broth which is on 24/7 in the slow cooker)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional enrichment:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt if avoiding dairy)
juice of 1 lemon
handful chopped chives
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano, optional
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

If using leeks, soak in some cold water in a bowl, swish around several times to get rid of any dirt clinging to the leaves, let sit until the dirt settles to the bottom, then scoop out with your fingers or a slotted spoon.

Peel broccoli stem and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Break apart head into florets.

Heat butter/oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion/leeks, and stir until soft, ~3 minutes. Add broccoli, garlic, and broth. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until broccoli is tender 10-15 minutes.

While broccoli is cooking, prepare Greek yogurt mixture in a small bowl by combining ingredients with a whisk. Season with salt and pepper.

When broccoli is tender, transfer to blender and puree until smooth, in batches if necessary. If using yogurt mixture, blend in half and reserve half for use at the table. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Serves 4.

Note: Any leftover yogurt mixture can be used as marinade for chicken breasts or pork chops, OR used as a sauce for grilled chicken breasts or pork chops. 🙂

Summer’s End Vegetable Soup

This is a lovely soup to have on hand those beginning autumn days when the air starts getting chilly, but you still have an abundance of veggies from the summer harvest. Of course, you can always change up the vegetables all through the year and use whatever’s in season.

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1 pound cannellini or other white beans, soaked overnight then simmered with a few sage leaves, or konbu, in water to cover, until tender — drained

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 pound zucchini, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
4 cups chicken broth (more if soup is too thick for you at the end)
1 bunch Swiss chard or kale, or 2 bunches mature spinach, trimmed, washed thoroughly and chopped
1/2 head green cabbage
6 large tomatoes, chopped, or 2 15-oz or 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes (I like the fire-roasted kind, but regular will do)
2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
A leftover cheese rind, if you have one (to make it creamier) — optional
Your favorite cheese, grated — I used Swiss Gruyere for this one, but Parmigiano or Pecorino will do just as well (optional for those avoiding dairy — I’d sub a small bowl of sea salt flakes like Maldon for serving, so people can help themselves)
More olive oil for serving, in a bowl with a spoon, or a pourer so people can help themselves

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring often, until carrots are partly tender, about 10 minutes. Add zucchini pieces and broth. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Once it reaches the boil, bring down to simmer and cover 5 minutes. Add Swiss chard or kale, cabbage and tomatoes, and cover again. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour. If soup looks too dry, add a bit more broth. When veggies are tender, add beans. Season with salt and pepper, and the cheese rind if using. Cook 15-30 more minutes, stirring every few minutes, until all veggies are tender and the entire mixture is creamy. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

Serve hot!

Meatless Soups for Lent

mariscos

Suzanne over at the forum bumped up Nancy’s old thread on meatless soups, so I’m putting together a compilation of old posts here in case it would help.

It’s soup season still, so I’m hoping to update old posts with pictures that got lost when I switched blog hosts and forgot to renew our old image hosting.

Here are some yummy meatless soups:

Black Bean Chili
Sopa de Mariscos
Creamy Forest Mushroom Soup
Lentil Soup with Kale
Filipino-Style Pumpkin Soup
Soupe au Pistou
Greek Shrimp Stew
a rather pricey, not really for Lent type of soup, but it is meatless: Zuppa di Tartufo Nero

and here are some soups that can be adapted for Lent by omitting the meat ingredient or subbing with seafood, or meat substitutes:

Barley Soup Johri’s Talvo
Chickpea Stew with Spinach and Chorizo
Lentil, Kale and Sausage Soup

It’s Soup Season: Barley Soup Johri’s Talvo

Last week it was oxtail soup using the beautiful oxtails from Mohr Animal Acres. Then a “Cheater’s Pho Bo” with canned beef broth, canned chicken broth and a rib-eye steak from Mohr also.

Last night was a hit, Barley Soup, the recipe from Johri’s Talvo in St. Moritz (Switzerland). I didn’t have any Bundnerfleisch so it was additional prosciutto that made it into the soup — lucky for us there’s readily available imported prosciutto nearby.

This was a HEARTY soup, but next time I won’t make it as the recipe dictates, as it is quite meat-heavy. Doubling the barley, cutting the meat content in half and upping the beans would work quite well for us.

barleysoup.jpg

The recipe as given in Gourmet (Dec 1994 issue).

2 onions, chopped (I used one LARGE red onion)
white and pale green part of 1 large leek, chopped, washed thoroughly and drained
2 carrots, chopped (shoulda used 4 for more Vitamin A!)
1/2 cup chopped peeled celery root or celery (double this next time as well)
1/4 pound prosciutto, chopped
1/4 pound piece Bundnerfleisch — I used 1/3 pound total prosciutto — bacon or smoked ham hock would be great here too
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (used extra virgin olive oil instead)
1/2 cup pearl barley (used 1 cup)
1/4 cup dried white beans such as Great Northern, picked over (used 2 cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed)
3 quarts beef broth (used 2 cans beef broth + 1 quart chicken broth — this is my standard formula for a copycat veal-y like broth + additional water to keep it soupy)
1/2 pound (about 4) smoked bratwursts or other small smoked sausages, sliced thin (used 3 Aidell’s chicken sausage and 1 Aidell’s Cajun)
1 1/4 cup heavy cream (omitted completely except for moi — I suggested soymilk or almond milk to the family but they were fine with the soup exactly the way it was

My instructions, since I used canned beans:

In a heavy kettle cook vegetables and prosciutto (and Bundnerfleisch if using) in olive oil over moderate heat, stirring, 5 minutes. Add barley and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add broths and simmer, uncovered, 1 1/4 hours. Add beans and sausages and simmer 15 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add cream at table. Makes about 12 cups.

Brazil Exploration: Basic Rice and Sopa de Mariscos

Like most of you know, I’m a rice gal — we have rice most days and we usually feel a meal isn’t a meal unless there’s rice somewhere. So I’m naturally curious about all the different rice preparations that other cuisines have. Like this one from Brazil, which is just like my American friends like their rice. I like mine a little drier though.

From the book Tasting Brazil, by Jessica Harris

Basic Rice

3 1/2 cups water (I’d recommend decreasing this to 3)
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Bring water to boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in rice, salt and butter. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 20 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve hot.

The Sopa de Mariscos recipe also comes from Jessica Harris. A soup that intrigues me because I’ve found it in a few Filipino cookbooks but don’t remember ever having it when I still lived there. Except for the use of olive oil, this could have come straight out of an Asian cookbook, what with the use of coconut milk and cilantro.

mariscos

A Bahian recipe, it includes crabmeat and other seafood — the broth is light but rich-tasting.

1/4 pound bay or sea scallops
1/4 pound crabmeat
1/4 pound mussels, shelled and washed (or use fresh unopened mussels but lengthen cooking time to until they open)
1/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup pure olive oil
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
2 small onions, sliced
1 bay leaf
salt, minced cilantro and freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 cups fish stock (I used a court bouillon I made from a salmon fish head, not my favorite fish to make court bouillon with but it was the only thing available)
1/2 cup thin coconut milk

Heat olive oil in large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add all ingredients except fish stock and coconut milk, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add fish stock and allow it to come to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove any mussels that have not opened if using fresh. Pour in coconut milk, stir, and remove soup from the heat. Miss Harris says to serve this with garlic bread, but we used rice instead.

Simple, easy, and delish.

Zuppa di Tartufo Nero (Black Truffle Soup)


black truffle
tuber melanosporum

parsnips
pastinaca sativa


celery root or celeriac
apium graveolens


Black Truffle Soup
Zuppa di Tartufo Nero

Black Truffle Soup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup chopped peeled celery root
1/4 cup sliced leeks (rinsed well)
3/4 cup parsnips, chopped roughly
1 lb. boiling potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly
1 thyme sprig
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 cup chicken broth, preferably homemade
1 1/2 oz. black truffle

1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add celery root, leek, parsnips, potatoes, thyme sprig, salt and water. Simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until almost all the liquid is gone. Stir in the broth and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Puree mixture in a blender until smooth, or use a handheld blender. Clean and peel truffle(s). Mash in a bowl and add to the soup along with the heavy cream. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

[The thyme garnish shown here is thymus serpyllum, a creeping thyme I wintersowed this year and is growing very nicely in the garden.]

Chicken Tinola

A Filipino soup, flavored with ginger and pepper leaves. The traditional vegetable that goes in it is papaya, but my family prefers chayote squash or christophene (sechium edule). Chayote goes by many names, like mirliton, custard marrow, vegetable pear (probably because of the shape), and mango squash, the last one a bit confusing, since it neither looks like a mango nor a squash and doesn’t taste like either.

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 3-4 lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 large onion, sliced
handful of ginger root, peeled, chopped into rough pieces and crushed
salt or fish sauce to taste
chayote, peeled, de-seeded and cut lengthwise into eighths (or green papaya, peeled, de-seeded and cut into 1″ x 3″ pieces)
hot pepper leaves, or spinach, or other dark green vegetable (cut into small pieces if large)

Heat oil in a casserole over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and saute until onion is limp and garlic is golden (be careful not to burn the garlic). Add ginger and continue to cook a few more minutes until fragrant. Add chicken pieces to the pot, give everything a quick stir and cover. Bring heat down to low and cook 5-10 minutes, or until juices are rendered, stirring every few minutes. When juices have been rendered, add salt or fish sauce to taste, stir again, and cover, cooking another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Bring heat to high and add 6-8 cups water (more if the chicken is large). Bring to a boil quickly, then lower heat to a simmer and cook, covered, about 45 minutes or until chicken pieces are tender. Add chayote pieces (or papaya) and pepper leaves and cook 5 minutes more or until chayote is tender. Serve hot.