Guess who just turned 24 this week? It’s……….ME💃🏻 There ain’t no confetti, partying or drinking this time, just purely spending quality time with loved ones over scrumptious meals, and feasting on home cook dinners by special ones. It’s a day where blessed wishes from friends made me feel special and valued in their lives. Yet I did feel a sense of guilt when I received birthday messages on my WhatsApp, from people that I have forgotten their birthdays. Truthfully, I am bad with remembering birthdays, maybe I can only remember...let me count…less than 10 people birthdays?😔 I know, it’s awful, but that’s something I should put more attention by checking my Facebook birthday reminder this year.
Speaking of relishing my birthday joy over scrumptious meals, many of which I ordered were absolutely marvellous and sinful. From wasabi calamari to lobster cheese fries and pork belly yakitori, oh nom nom… I could feel that my food baby had resurfaced in just three days. So I woke up 7am today, got myself running shoes on and ran for a good 3.2km by redeeming myself. The perspiration has indeed sparked off good, positive vibes that encouraged me to feel stronger and healthier on a cheat week. To repair myself after a normal workout session, I will normally prepare chicken pumpkin soup!
Unlike soups that take 5-6 hours to brew, this warm and comforting bowl takes 2-3 hours-depending on it’s richness. If we aim to savour a thick flavour, the length of time to brew soup over low-heat is key. The trick to serve soup on time for meals while retaining the genuine taste of each ingredient is to stir-fry them before leaving them to slow-cook. If we are serving the soup for dinner, start preparing it early around 3pm. Let it simmer over low heat and we still can get our other things done in the mean time. Dinner still can be ready by 6pm!
Mummy chow and I co-created this hearty chicken pumpkin soup, it is easy and requires 5 steps to complete this dish. This soup serves a balanced amount of protein, anti-oxidant fibre the supports our eye health-especially at this era where we spend long hours on our electronic devices. The diversity of sweetness from the chicken and vegetables married well over hours of slow cooking, and Tuscan herb spice mix was the only herb added towards the end.
In the past, I firmly believed the notion of adding seasonings to enhance flavours of a dish, otherwise everything tastes bland and meh. Then in recent months, seasoning becomes optional when I purchased great quality ingredients and started simple cooking. It is all about simplicity, and that's the key I become more confident in my cooking, and appreciate the natural flavour of each ingredient.
I would say this is an ideal dish for a lazy stay home day also. It serves as a companion whenever I am binge watching episode after episode of iZombie alone in this rather chilly weather🌧🍵😌.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 4 chicken legs
- 4 celery sticks
- Celery leaves (for garnishing)
- 200g Japanese pumpkin
- 1 carrot
- 1 sweet onion
- 1 packet of flour noodles (mee sua)
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Vegetable knife
- Vegetable peeler
- Chopping board
- Small pot
- Big stock pot
- Fill up half of the small pot with water, turn on medium-high heat and bring to boil. Add chicken legs and let it boil over 2-3 minutes to kill the bacteria active at that time. Scoop up, side aside to cool, and pour away water. It’s an important step for food safety.
- Peel carrots, pumpkin, celery sticks and onion. Cut them all in thick chunks.
- Chopped celery leaves into small pieces
- Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil in large stock pot over high heat. Add carrots, pumpkin, celery sticks and onion. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes till they turn slightly golden brown.
- Fill up ½ of the large stock pot with water, add in chicken legs, let it boil for 10 minutes. When the soup brings up to its boiling temperature, scale back the heat and bring it to simmer for 3-4 hours. It ensures even cooking, which gives you more control knowing that the ingredients are all cooking at the same steady rate.
- Check on the soup from time to time and give it a stir using a ladle. Make sure all ingredients soften and the colour of the soup has turned from clear to light orange. Sprinkle Tuscan herb spice mix to taste before turn off heat.
- Before serving, boil the flour noodles in a small pot. Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in each plate. Scoop flour noodles on plate and toss them evenly.
- Scoop up 2 ladles of soup and pour over flat rice noodles. Place chicken leg and vegetables over and around the noodles. Sprinkle chopped celery leaves on top.