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As a Chinese, we love our soup. Herbal soup, vegetable soup, pork, chicken, anything. While growing up, we always have some sort of soup, a vegetable dish, and a fish/meat dish for every meal. Now that I’m kinda all grown up and sometimes cook for myself, I try to replicate the same as well.

Here’s a super simple recipe for radish soup with pork ribs (feel free to substitute with chicken) that you can make at home fairly fast, and with ingredients that are fairly cheap, this dish was about RM 12 in ingredients.

ingredients - radish, pork ribs, dried cuttle fish, wolf berries
ingredients – radish, pork ribs, dried cuttle fish, wolf berries

Ingredients (serves 4 bowls):

  • 1 radish, skinned and cut in bite size chunks
  • 400 –  600 gram pork ribs (or chicken carcasses/chicken wings/legs)
  • wolf berries (optional)
  • 1 piece dried cuttle fish (or dried scallops, optional)
  • 5 bowls of water
  • salt and pepper to taste

remove the impurities from the pork with a sieve or ladle remove the impurities from the pork with a sieve or ladle 

Cooking instruction:

  • heat up water and add pork ribs, bring to boil for a bout a minute or two
  • remove impurities with a sieve or ladle, if you want a clearer soup, remove pork and start over with another pot of water
  • allow pork to cook in low heat for 30-45 mins
  • add cuttle fish, wolf berries, and radish
  • boil for another 30-45 mins
  • ready to serve, add salt and pepper to taste

simple homemade radish soup with pork ribs
simple homemade radish soup with pork ribs

The addition of dried cuttle fish really enhances the taste of the soup, and boiling the pork long ensures that you get it well soft and tender without also overcooking the radish.

Since there are only two of us and this recipe serves about four bowl, I tend to cook this for dinner and then have them again the next morning, be sure to boil it again before going to sleep (or keep it in the fridge) to prevent the soup from going bad overnight.

For more simple recipes from yours truly, click here.

One of the activities we participated in while at The Datai Langkawi (see blog post) was a fun session on cooking conducted by the two chefs who are specialized in Thai cuisine at the beautiful hotel.

The session took place at the Thai Pavilion, a semi-open air restaurant that’s built on stilts and situated by the main swimming pool.

learning some tricks from the chef
learning some tricks from the chef

Here are the two recipes you might fine useful to add to your cooking repertoire.

Our first dish was goong phad keemao, or fried drunken prawn. While the name might suggest that this dish involves alcohol, it actually wasn’t the case. Here goes:

Ingredients:

  • prawn (250 gram)
  • fresh cili padi (8 gram)
  • onion (20 gram)
  • tomatoes (20 gram)
  • galangal (20 gram)
  • lemongrass (10 gram)
  • cooking oil (30 ml)
  • garlic (10 gram)
  • kaffir lime leaf (2 gram)
  • thai basil leaf (5 gram)
  • oyster sauce (30ml)
  • fish sauce (15ml)
  • pepper powder to taste

the drunken prawn doesn't use any alcohol, halal version
the drunken prawn doesn’t use any alcohol, halal version

Cooking instructions:

  • heat oil in wok, then add garlic, chili, onion, and stir together
  • add prawn, galangal, lemongrass, pepper, stir till prawn is half cooked
  • add oyster sauce, kaffir lime leaf
  • add chicken stock (or plain water if you don’t have chicken stock) and Thai sweet basil
  • adjust saltiness with fish sauce
  • serve while hot

you can cook the tomyam in either clear or "red" version
you can cook the tomyam in either clear or “red” version

Next is arguably the most famous Thai dish of all time – tomyam gai. We made the chicken version here, but you can substitute with prawn, squid, or other seafood as well.

Ingredients:

  • chicken breast sliced (60 gram)
  • galangal (10 gram)
  • lemongrass (10 gram)
  • kafir lime leaf (5 gram)
  • abalone mushroom (20 gram)
  • tomyam paste (10 gram)
  • fish sauce (10 ml)
  • lime juice (10 ml)
  • chicken stock (150 gram)
  • coriander leaf (5 gram)

Haze, KY, and WeiZhi showcasing our dishes
Haze, KY, and WeiZhi showcasing our dishes at The Datai Langkawi

Cooking Instruction:

  • boil chicken stock with galangal, lemongrass and tomyam paste in small pot (leave out tomyam paste if you want clear version)
  • let the ingredients reduce a little, then add chicken, abalone mushroom, and kaffir lime leaf
  • let cook for another 3-4 minutes
  • season with fish sauce and lime juice
  • add coriander leaf before serving

After the cooking session, we sat down and had our dishes with some steamed rice. There was also some Thai dessert and white wine to complete the course. It was pretty fun and now I do think I should slot in cooking classes whenever I travel to other places. These recipes are pretty easy to follow, I’m pretty sure I’ll make them at home.

Datai was such an awesome experience, I miss it already.

It’s been a while since the last recipe post, so for this 1,500th post on this blog, lets take a look at the lotus root soup recipe, one of the easiest, homey soup to prepare. This is the same lotus root soup you often get at steamed soup & clay pot chicken rice places.

pork (or chicken), lotus root, dried red dates
ingredients: pork (or chicken), lotus root, dried red dates

This recipe is for 2-3 bowls of soup, increase/decrease everything to suit your need.

Ingredients:

  • one section of lotus root, shave off the skin
  • 8-10 dried red dates
  • 150 gram of pork (or bones, or chicken carcass)
  • water, salt & pepper for seasoning

cut into slices and serve
cut into slices and serve

Instruction:

  • separately boil the pork for a minute or two to remove impurities
  • have enough water in the pot to cover all ingredients, boil in slow heat for 1-2 hours
  • retrieve lotus root, slice 1/2 cm thick
  • add salt & pepper to taste
  • ready to serve!

 

Simple meal for two of bacon fried rice and red spinach soup. This is something that I cooked up last night because bacon was calling my name, and at the same time I wanted to fix something real quick instead of making elaborate dinners.

a complete meal - bacon fried rice and red spinach soup
a complete meal – bacon fried rice and red spinach soup

Total preparation and cooking time is about an hour, but that is because you need more than half that time to boil the chicken bones (for soup) and making rice in the first place. Actual active cooking takes place in less than 20 minutes.

The result is a satisfying meal that has has all your essential dietary needs (I think). There’s meat, egg, vegetable, soup, and rice. As an Asian, that’s all I need. :D

bacon is the key ingredient here, obviously
bacon is the key ingredient here, obviously

Recipe for two plates of bacon fried rice, ingredients:

  • streaky bacon (150-200 grams), cut them in squares
  •  half a bulb of garlic, chop em up
  • 2 eggs
  • rice for two person (I cooked 1.5 cups)
  • chili padi (optional)
  • 1 table spoon of dark soya sauce
  • 2 stalks of spring onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • minimal cooking oil

open up the rice and crack a couple eggs in there, stir
open up the rice and crack a couple eggs in there, stir

Instructions:

  • heat up a table spoon of cooking oil (you don’t need much since bacon will release more oil)
  • fry bacon, garlic, and chili padi at the same time till bacon is cooked and garlic is fragrant
  • add rice, dark soya sauce, stir
  • after 3-4 minutes, open up the fried rice at center, add half a spoon of oil and crack the two eggs into it
  • let the egg cooked for a bit before stirring it with fried rice for another 3-4 minutes
  • add spring onion, salt & pepper and keep stirring for another minute or two
  • serve while hot

spinach soup is about the simplest soup you can make
the red spinach soup is real simple to prepare

Ingredients and instructions:

  • wash red spinach with plenty of water and pluck off the stems
  • boil 3 bowls of water with chicken bones, wolf berries optional (you might want to pre-boil once to remove impurities, I use chicken bones from chicken chop cut)
  • I boil it while rice is cooking, that took about 45 minutes
  • add red spinach, keep boiling for another 15 minutes (while frying rice)
  • add salt and a bit of pepper and it’s ready to be served

Do check out other recipes if these are thing stuff you like to eat, they are usually pretty simple to prepare. Good eating!

This is one of the fastest soup to prepare that is perfect to clear up sinus problem – the mint and egg soup. Everything can be done in about 10-15 minutes, and makes a perfect companion to another dish, or even to be consumed just by itself.

I’ve always thought that making the mint and egg soup means chucking everything into the pot and just boil away. As it turns out, the process involves a few more steps in between, and here’s how you do it:

the two main ingredients - mint leaves and egg
the two main ingredients – mint leaves and egg

Ingredients (for two as companion dish):

  • a bunch of mint leaves – pluck and use only the leaves
  • 1 egg – lightly beaten
  • ginger – in strips
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • half a chicken cube (or soup stock if you have)
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

with some oil, fry ginger, garlic, then the mint leaves
with some oil, fry ginger, garlic, then the mint leaves

Cooking instructions:

  • with a pot, heat up cooking oil then fry ginger as it takes longer to cook
  • a minute or two later, add in garlic
  • when garlic is fragrant, add mint leaves, stir till you can smell the mints, around 1-2 minutes
  • add egg, and cook it to the consistency of soft scrambled egg
  • add 1.5 bowl of water and chicken cube (or soup stock)
  • bring to boil, add salt and pepper  according to taste

make a scramble egg, almost, then add water and chicken cube
make a scramble egg, almost, then add water and chicken cube

So there you go, 2 small bowls of mint and egg soup ready to serve. The frying process, together with the addition of ginger and garlic really brings out the flavor of the soup. The only little tricky part with the mint soup is that mint leaves generally doesn’t last very long in the fridge before turning black and bad. You should always cook it at the lastest 1-2 days after purchasing for best results.

Get cooking! There are more recipes here.

and it's ready to serve after boiling for a couple minutes
and it’s ready to serve after boiling for a couple minutes

P/S: the recipe for prawn dish on the photo above is here.

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