My fond memories of the lunch boxes prepared by Mummy Chow were simply earthy and nutritious back in primary school days. I would regard it as a purposeful box, it has the greens, meat and small portion of brown rice I needed to fuel me through the entire afternoon class. With the touch of her magic, anything uninteresting yet healthy like bitter gourd, egg plant and tofu were polished within my gobbling ability, heh! Therefore a nutritional meal and a tasty, flavorful meal aren't mutually exclusive to my knowledge, it's just how they are prepared creatively. Now that my dietary preferences have changed to be selective; having no rice for lunch (to avoid lunch coma), and cutting down red meat for health reasons, I started making my own lunchbox for work!
To get things started, I go easy. This green giant soup recipe is adapted from Donna Hay's Fresh & Light issue, with a little twist for more Asian taste. It's simplicity to prepare the soup like a smoothie did not take too much time. With the absence of a stick blender in my kitchen, I waited for the pot of soup ingredients to cool down for 15 minutes before pouring them into the blender and blitz. This is to avoid the risk of damaging or expanding the blender.
As I was down with a cold all week, I've used ginger, cilantro roots, garlic and black pepper as the stock for their bone-warming properties. The sharp and spicy taste of this blend really soothed the sniffy blocked nose, and helped fought away drowsy blues. Not forgetting the part when I perspired in my cosy outfit whilst slurping the soup bit by bit, oops.
Don't underestimate the green giant by its looks, the biggest source of protein to boost my immune system at my weakest state are chickpeas, rockets and Sutchi fillet. They contains nutrients like Vitamin B6 and B12, both of which help the body to build strength and resilience against infections.
The restorative soup and the pan-fried Sutchi fillet have to be stored separately in a freezer for up to 2 days. Avoid keeping it longer as the soup will turn darker and lose it's freshness.
Though it took me an hour's time to prepare the night before a working day, I am glad that the decision to cook something what my body needs and what aids to relieve the symptoms of my cold throughout the day was absolutely right.
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 small purple garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
- 400g can chickpeas (garbanzos), drained and rinsed
- 1 bunch rocket, chopped
- 2 zucchinis (courgettes), chopped
- 2 cups (500ml) water
- 200g sutchi fillet
- 1 tablespoon grass-fed butter
- sea salt, cracked pepper, cayenne pepper
- 1 courgette, extra, spiraled to serve
- Handful of coriander leaves, to serve
- 2 coriander roots, washed
- 1 small ginger
- 1 teaspoon pepper corns
- 1 garlic clove
- Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat, add the garlic and coriander. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes till garlic turns light brown. Add chickpeas and zucchinis and stir fry for 1-2 minutes till all are combined.
- Pour water over the mixture and add stock and rockets. Lower the heat, close the lid and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes or until the zucchinis turn tender.
- Meanwhile, season sutchi fillet with sea salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Drop butter in a frying pan over medium heat, gently lay fillet on the pan. Flip fillet over to other side after 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Repeat the step and scoop fillet up when both sides are cooked. Cut the fillet in flakes using a fork, side aside.
- Season soup with sea salt to taste and remove from heat. Let it cool down for 10 minutes before pouring soup into blender. Blend till smooth and divide soup between bowls. Top with fish flakes, spiraled zucchini, coriander and pepper to serve.