I might have bought an oven, a blender and a steamer over the past year or two, but if you ask me what is the ultimate cooking methods that a lazy man can use, I would say that it is boiling, and that remains my favorite cooking method so far.
Of course, the easiest thing to cook when it comes to boiling is instant noodles. But I’m here to encourage you into (somewhat) healthier eating and instant noodles doesn’t fit into that. I mean, sure, everybody loves a good steaming bowl of instant noodles (especially if you are Asian), but the fact remains that it is incredibly unhealthy to constantly have that as your meals. So, I prefer to boil soup.
Now in my vocabulary, there are two types of soup:
- Herbal soup – extremely easy to cook, nowadays there are all sorts of pre-packaged herb packets that you can buy from the supermarkets. You basically just bring a pot of water to boil, chuck the herbs and a slab of meaty bone in, turn down the heat and wait for an hour or two. That’s it. But I hate the cleaning up, because there will be leftover herbs that are wet and mushy and you need to wrap them in layers and dispose of them quickly. I personally don’t really fancy cooking this kind of soup too frequently.
- Non-herbal soup – still easy to cook, but involves a bit more preparation work. You basically prepare the ingredients that you need (wash, cut, chop, etc), then chuck them all into a pot of boiling water, turn down the heat and again, wait for an hour or two for nature to take its course. Although there are some conventional recipes like ABC soup, tripe soup, lotus root soup etc, there is really no specific recipe. Basically you add what you like and omit what you don’t like. And the best part of this soup is, you consume everything in the soup and there’s no troublesome cleaning up to do.
Today I am going to show you one of my non-herbal soup recipe. Of course, like I said, these are my preferences, you can develop your own freestyle soup.
- 1 tomato
- Quarter of a pumpkin
- 2 pieces of Chinese pickled cabbage (咸菜 ham choy)
- a bit of pork belly (I purposely saved a small chunk from my braised pork belly dish for this soup)
- some green leafy vegetables and mushrooms
You can use whatever meat you want or none at all. I happen to have pork, so I used pork. A pair of chicken drumsticks work just fine. Ideally, to make the soup even more flavorful, you need a piece of chicken/pork/beef bone, but I don’t have any so I’m going to omit it.
- Cut up and wash all the ingredients.
- Bring a pot of water to boil.
- Throw the pork, pumpkin, tomato and pickled cabbage in and wait for the water to boil again. Add lots of pepper if you like your soup to be hot and spicy.
- Turn the heat down to low heat and let the soup cook for two hours / Turn the heat down to medium heat and let the soup cook for 30 minutes.
- Throw the leafy vegetables and mushrooms in and let the soup cook for another 5 minutes.
That’s it, the soup is done and ready to be served. This portion will feed two people if served with rice or noodles, or if you are like me and (sometimes) prefer not to have rice for dinner, then you can wallop all the soup by yourself.
This soup is so simple to make, an idiot can do it. Basically the ingredients will ensure that the soup is tasty by themselves, you just need to throw them into a pot and let the magic happen. There’s the saltiness from the pickled cabbage, sourness from the tomato and sweetness from the pumpkin. And the meat sort of binds everything together.
Let me import a term that Jamie loves to use: The soup is bursting with flavors, and so so delicious! You’re gonna love it!