SANITY | CHINESE WHITE RADISH SOUP WITH DRIED SEAFOOD

Hello everyone! Amidst of adapting to the new work environment, reminding myself to buck up and deliver my work to meet others' deadlines, I neglected my own sanity. Unsurprisingly, I spent most of time dealing with people's expectations, to impress, to prove my self-worth, and why I was hired for the right reasons. The constant battle of doing things that helped me survive but not thrive have became more evident whenever family and friends started asking me how have I been. It's scary and fatiguing when I realised I began to lose a little part of myself with a slightest change in my lifestyle within two weeks. 

My usual weekends weren't the same anymore, I desired for sleep-ins to recharge and I stepped away from the kitchen *Yawns*. Thus, leaving this space untouched. Then again, the only person given the power to control one's happiness is ourselves. Whining and self-pity aren't corrective actions to cheer me up, but cooking does! Going grocery shopping, planning the preparation, hearing the crisp when I slice vegetables and taste testing are ways of interacting with food and definitely therapeutic. Intuitively, when I want to indulge in comfort food, I immediately look up for Mama Chow's everyday soup recipes; the remedy she uses when someone in the family is yearning for some TLC on a bad day😌 ❤️

And according to Diana Henry, a chef and food writer, people take soup when they're having tough times, its something you give them in times of troubles, in times when they need to be comforted. Understanding, here, soup signifies an enormous care and attention someone can receive inside out. Certainly, I am one of those soup lovers who gets perk up by a bowl home cook soup, knowing that I'm getting essential nutrients for recovery. 

If you are having a rough day, embrace the challenges at work, but filter them at home, well at least during dinner time. Distract yourself by preparing this Chinese white radish soup. I can guarantee you that those blues held inside will evaporate once your tummy is warm and truly satisfied. Then, lift your chin up, let go of those dull feeling, and tackle today's challenges. Continue to be the long-standing warrior and fight your own war. Remember to find your zen in the state of being a busy 🐝 

So I'm sharing one of my favorite soups prepared by Mama Chow- Chinese white radish (Daikon) soup, commonly served for meals in Teochew households. It's perfect for lazy cooking- putting all ingredients in a pot and let it simmer for at least 4 hours. 

Pork ribs lay the sweet foundation for the soup base. The key character -Chinese white radish softens over hours of simmering and accentuates the soup flavor. Not forgetting the side characters (dried oysters, squid and red dates), they enhance the richness to the soup, saving us from adding additional seasoning. While chewing onto the dried seafood, they alerted my sense of smell as the aroma surfaced gradually, the longer I chewed. 

Ingredients

  • 1 Chinese white radish
  • 500g soft pork ribs
  • 15 red dates (available in Chinese medical hall)
  • 1 dried squid (available in Asian supermarket)
  • 12 dried mussels (available in Asian supermarket)
  • White Pepper

Kitchen Equipment

  • Large stockpot
  • Small pot
  • Chopping board
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Knife
  • Kitchen scissors

Preparation

  • To blanche soft pork ribs (to remove excess fat and bacteria), fill up 3/4 of the small pot with water, let it boil over medium heat. Pour in pork ribs and let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat and scoop them up. Run them over water again.
  •  Fill up 3/4 of the large stock pot with water, let it boil over high heat. 
  •  Meanwhile, peel white radish and chop them in large chunks. As it softens and shrinks over hours of simmering, it is important to have it in large pieces for visibility and soft crunch.
  • Remove the pen (bone-like) of the dried squid. Wash and rub away salt and dirt of the dried squid and mussels gently with your thumb. Use the kitchen scissors and cut only dried squid in small pieces. 
  •  We don't want to remove all the rich sodium of these dried ingredients that contribute richness to the soup. So let them soak in water for 5-10 minutes to soften.

Cooking

  • Once water starts boiling in the large stock pot, gently add in pork ribs. Then, add the radish chunks, dried seafood (including the water they were soaked in, you don't want to throw it away) and red dates. Cover the pot, let it boil over 20 minutes.
  • Be mindful to check the soup every 15-20 minutes. Open the lid on the pot and check the water level. If it is reduced, fill up more hot water till it covers the ingredients. Having proper control of the heat from time to time will affect the taste of the soup. Once the soup has boiled up to the surface of the pot, turn down to low heat immediately. Half cover the pot with the lid and let it simmer for the next 2-3 hours.
  •  Turn off the heat first if you're serving in a few hours time. Heat up the soup and season with a pinch of pepper for an extra kick to the taste. 
  • Serve it with rice, flour noodles or just the soup as a main dish will be superb for your taste and tummy!

Enjoy! Xx