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Happy Chinese New Year folks! I think it is fitting to enjoy ene bon ti bol mee-foon during this rather rainy season. This delicious chicken and rice vermicelli soup, derived from traditional Chinese cuisine, is a well loved entrée in many Mauritian households. Packed with as many vegetables as you would care to add, the bouillon is a nutritious start to the heavier calorie-laden dishes to be served for the festivities this Monday. I sincerely hope that the Year of the Monkey brings happiness and prosperity to everyone throughout 2016 and well beyond.

BOUILLON MEE-FOON

Ingredients:

200g thin rice noodles/meefoon

200g chicken breasts, deboned

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

1 bunch brede tom pouce

1 carrot, thinly sliced

1/2 cup sweet corn kernels

1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms

4 cups warm water

1 cube chicken stock

4 eggs, fried sunny side up

Method:

  • Clean chicken and into medium size cubes. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt, pepper, chili and oil.

  • Mix well, cover with cling film and leave chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

  • Remove marinated chicken from refrigerator and place in a medium cooking pan. Cover and simmer.

  • Cook over low heat for 15 minutes until chicken is tender and half cooked. Add the carrots and steam.

  • Soak the shiitake mushrooms in boiling water till softened and add to pan. Throw in the corn kernels.

  • Add the brede tom pouce and uncooked mee-foon and stir. Dissolve the cube of chicken stock in water.

  • Pour the chicken stock and remaining water over the vegetables and bring to the boil until it thickens.

  • Add salt and pepper to taste. Scoop into serving bowls and serve with fried egg as topping. Serves 4.

Bouillon Meefoon

For the past few days, I have been sick with sore throat, low grade fever, headache and very little appetite. Even my favourite foods could not tempt me to join the dinner table at meal times and the only comfort I had was to sip on hot lemon tea, generously flavoured with honey and sweet spices. The other classic remedy for cold and flu which works well to this day is chicken soup. On a more scientific note, chicken soup is believed to be endowed with anti-inflammatory properties which help in alleviating the flu-like symptoms. This simple recipe, adapted from Taste.com.au, works wonders in fighting off the effects of viral illness and restoring the desire for healthy, homemade food.

CREAMY CHICKEN & CORN SOUP

Ingredients:

4 cups chicken stock/broth

400 g single chicken breast fillets

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon corn flour + 1/4 cup water

300 g can corn kernels, drained

400 g can creamed sweet corn

2 egg whites, room temperature

1 teaspoon sesame/vegetable oil

6 green shallots, thinly sliced

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Method :

  • Place the stock and chicken in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a heatproof bowl.

  • Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Finely shred. Add the soy sauce and ginger to the stock mixture.
  • Place the corn flour in a small bowl and gradually stir in the water until it is smooth and well combined.

  • Gradually stir corn flour mixture into stock mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes until it thickens.
  • Add the chicken, creamed corn and corn kernels and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until it is hot.

  • Use a fork to whisk the egg whites in a small bowl. Gradually pour egg whites into the soup, stirring constantly.
  • Cook for 2 minutes until white ribbons swirl though the soup. Remove from heat. Add the sesame oil and stir.

  • Add half the green shallot to the soup mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper as per taste.
  • Ladle the soup among serving bowls and sprinkle with the remaining green shallot. Serve soup immediately.

Chicken Soup for the Soul

My apologies if this blog is turning more into a cooking blog than as baking one [as the name leads you to believe]. While it’s true that I dnt bake every single day, my excuse is that I also feel like sharing these everyday dishes with you.

It’s just as important to know how to put a simple meal together as to whip up a fancy dessert. Bouillon is one of my fave things to make if I need to get lunch/dinner ready within 1/2 hour.  Something I call a genuine comfort food, bouillon can be as versatile as you care to make it.

Throw in carrots, mushrooms and bits of shredded chicken to make a wholesome meal. Or combine your fave mine apollo with bouillon cresson.  Whatever you chose to do, bouillon remains a light healthy and flavourful dish that I bet you’ll make over and over again.

BOUILLON CRESSON – WATERCRESS BROTH

Ingredients:

2 bunches watercress/ brède cresson

2 cups rice water

2 cups water

1 tsp salt

1 small red onion, sliced

1 medium tomato, sliced

1 tbs vegetable oil

Method:

  • Clean watercress to remove grubs and dirt. Shred into 2 inch pieces.
  • Wash several times in a colander to remove impurities. Drain.
  • Cnt find brède cresson? Substitute with any available brède.
  • Heat oil in a large pan and sauté onion and tomato over medium heat until onions become transluscent for about a minute.

  • Pour rice water slowly into pan and dilute with an equal amount of plain water. To collect rice water, you should obviously cook rice and drain before you start with your bouillon.
  • If you dnt have rice water, dnt fret. Simply use plain water or substitute with water + 1tbs thickening agent like cornflour.
  • Season with salt and bring to a boil. Do not cover pan.

  • Dump watercress in bouillon and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot in small soup bowls as entrée or part of a main dish.

I recommend bouillon with along with boiled rice, rougaille poisson salé [salted fish rougaille] and satini pistas

. This is often featured as part of the menu in restaurants boasting of a cuisine creole but you can very well customise it according to taste and budget.

Health Considerations: The rice water content of bouillion makes it a choice source of nutrients and fluids especially for children. 

 SATINI PISTAS – PEANUT CHUTNEY

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted peanuts, shelled

3 garlic cloves

2 dried red chillies

3 tsp fresh mint leaves

1 tsp tamarind paste

1/2 tsp salt

1 -2 tbs water

Method:

  • Place garlic, chillies, mint leaves and tamarind paste in the bowl of mixer/grinder. Add 1/2 tbs water and grind to a paste.

  • Add peanuts and another 1/2 tbs water. Grind coarsely for a minute or two if you like bits of peanuts in your satini.

  • If not, continue grinding until you have a smooth paste. You may need to add a lil more water for this.
  • Dnt forget to stir in salt before you serve.
  • Can be stored in fridge for a few days.

Sorry for the poor quality of pics in this post. It was a bad ‘camera’ day 😦

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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