Chinese seafood soup brings a strong flavour and the scent of the ocean to the dining table.
Seafood can be added straight to soups or they can be processed and added with other ingredients to form new tastes, textures and forms.
And seafood isn't just fish and shrimps. Shellfish such as clams, oysters, crabs are well-liked by the Chinese. Let me introduce 2 slightly more exotic seafood.
1. Sea cucumber
Sea cucumber might be a new ingredient to you. It is commonly sold in dried form and have to be boiled and soaked in water for 1 to 2 nights to fully rehydrate. It can be omitted if it is too troublesome or too weird for you.
1. Seafood tofu soup
I like this seafood tofu soup. It has all my favorite ingredients. The ingredients are diced finely so you can get the freshness of the shrimps, fish, sea cucumber, crab, and silken tofu in every mouthful.
80g fish fillet
80g sea cucumber
50g crab meat
100g silken tofu
750ml soup stock
40g cornstarch solution
Salt and pepper
Wash and dice the prawns, fish and sea cucumber
Parboil the seafood for about 2 minutes
Wash, peel and dice the asparagus
Bring soup stock to a boil, add the prawns, fish and sea cucumber, crab meat and tofu
Bring to a boil
Stir in the asparagus and seasonings
Simmer for 5 minutes or until ingredients are cooked
Slowly pour in the cornstarch solution while stirring the soup. Do not pour everything in at one go
Stir and see if the soup has reached the consistency you want
Remove from the heat
Beat the egg lightly and stream it slowly into the soup
Serve it hot and offer some black vinegar to go with it
Conch is a shellfish. It has a very large shell with unique colours and design and are usually displayed as ornaments and souvenirs from a beach vacation.
It is common in Caribbean cuisine. The most popular conch dishes are conch soup, conch fritters and added raw in salads. Some of you might think conch is bizarre food. Well, it does looks strange and if not cooked well, the texture can be chewy. But it is reputed to be cooling and therefore good for the sweltering summer heat.
2. Conch soup with sweet corn and carrot
This Chinese conch soup is a good summer soup and suitable for both young and old. The Chinese are not fans of cold soups. A good summer hot soup is one that can help dispel heat accumulated in the body and provides moisture.
The recipe here uses the thermal cooking pot. You can replace with the slow cooker or crockpot or a soup pot suitable for long and slow simmering.
2 corn on the cobs
300g lean pork
8 cups water
1 slice ginger
Clean the conch and cut into mid-sized chunks. If you are using frozen conch, thaw and blanch in boiling water. Drain, clean and cut
Wash and parboil the lean pork
Peel the carrot and cut into mid-sized chunks
Peel the corn and wash to remove the silk
Bring the water to a boil in the inner pot of the thermal cooker
Add all the ingredients and bring the water back to a boil and cook for 20 minutes
Remove from heat and insert the inner pot to the outer pot, cover and cooke for 3 hours
Before serving, remove the inner pot and bring back to a boil for another 10-20 minutes
Add salt to taste and serve
If you can find it at your local fishmonger, give the fresh ones a try. Otherwise, I believe there are canned or frozen ones. Here's a selection from Amazon.
Seafood porridge recipes
Fresh seafood also goes well with rice congee. Cook the rice porridge till the rice grains disintegrate into a a consistency like thick soup. The thick consistency coupled with the fresh crunch of fresh seafood makes a nice contrast.