Sopa de Pollo- Inspiración asiática

File Apr 25, 12 18 32 AM

Hay ocasiones en que sabes con exactitud que cocinar y buscas los ingredientes necesarios para preparar la comida. Otras, lo que sea que hay en el refrigerador (nevera) lo determina.

 

Eso me ha estado pasando mucho últimamente.

 

Hoy, abrí el refrigerador y chequee entre los compartimentos tratando de pensar en que cocinaría para la cena, de pronto, note que en el fondo de una de las repisas había dejado olvidado algo que compre la semana pasada en el mercado – una cabeza de “Bok Choy” (conocido también como Taisai, col china, repollo chino).

 

Inmediatamente, mis pensamientos se transportaron a Asia, en donde recuerdo que lo probé por primera vez; y particularmente en Malasia, en donde seguido comí esta verdura en sopas.

 

Hace unos siete años, estaba viviendo en Singapur y un día estaba fuera de casa en la noche, ya muy tarde, y fui a un “Hawker Centre” (un lugar de comida con muchas opciones). Tenia hambre, pero como era tarde, el único lugar abierto en la sección de comida era un sitio en el que servían sopas.

 

En este tipo de lugares, el cliente elige, coloca los vegetales y carnes que desea en una bandeja, creando así su propia versión. (Para aquellos en el nuevo mundo, es similar a los sitios en donde uno elige los ingredientes de su propio sándwich, pero en sopa).

 

Vi el estante lleno de vegetales – hermosos colores vibrantes y diferentes fragancias – Enseguida, me di cuenta de que la mayoría de los productos mostrados en ese estante no me eran familiares. De hecho, eran incómodamente muy poco familiares.

 

Así que hice lo que había aprendido a lo largo de mis pocos años como viajera – un truquito que sigo aplicando de vez en cuando, cuando me encuentro en lugares poco familiares – Simplemente, pido lo mismo que pidió la persona que esta adelante de mi en la fila.

 

No estaba segura de los nombres de los ingredientes de la sopa, aun en este momento no los se, pero recuerdo que tenia colores vibrantes: verde, blanco rosado, amarillo, morado y rojo.

 

Aunque no me acuerdo de todo lo que tenia esa primera sopa, recuerdo que me gusto en un 90 por ciento.

 

Fue hasta unos meses después, que una de mis mas queridas amigas en Singapur, Anne, me enseño que era cada uno de los vegetales/carnes que estaban en el aparador. Me dijo también cuales seleccionar para hacer una sopa deliciosa. Al final de su selección, mi sopa fue excelente.

 

Viajé a través del Sureste Asiático a lo largo de muchos años. Una vez, durante una visita a Malasia, vimos a una amiga quien cocino una cena para nosotros.

 

Me asombre en descubrir que la sopa que hizo era muy familiar en sabores a lo que recordaba de aquella experiencia con mi sopa en Singapur. Tenia brotes de soya (bean sprouts), espinacas, Bok Choy, huevos cocidos, un tipo de salchicha, albóndigas de pescado, tallarines, tofu, y otros ingredientes que ahora no recuerdo.

 

Por alguna razón, el sabor mas memorable de la sopa que hizo mi amiga fue el Bok Choy.

 

Y aunque la primera vez que lo probé fue en Singapur, Bok Choy es uno de los sabores que relaciono con Malasia.

 

Así que cuando abrí el refrigerador hoy, y encontré el Bok Choy, me sentí abrazada por aquel amor y cariño que me une a la gente de Malasia, que visité tan seguido durante mi tiempo allá.

 

Malasia es un país acogedor, del que me enamore casi inmediatamente. Su gente es amable, la comida es deliciosa y el malayo (su idioma), se pronuncia muy similar al español, que es mi lengua nativa.

 

Por todo esto, termine pasando mucho tiempo ahí, haciendo muchos amigos, comiendo mucha comida… en Malasia. De hecho, los amigos que hice allá se han convertido en mi familia a lo largo de los años.

 

Vi el Bok choy, y junto a el un par de zanahorias, una raíz de jengibre y un pollo desmenuzado – en ese momento supe que los ingredientes en mi nevera, y esa memoria latente de sabores, habían decidido que prepararía para la cena.

 


 

Sopa de Pollo- Inspiración asiática

(2 Personas)

3 Tazas de agua

2 Cucharas de raíz de jengibre fresco bien picadito.

2 Tallos de cebollines bien picaditos. (cebolla de cambray)

4 Tallos de Bok Choy picado (Tiras de alrededor de 3 cm de espesor)

2 Dientes de ajo

1 Cucharadita de Tahini (Pasta de sésamo) (Opcional)

½ Pechuga de Pollo

1 Zanahoria, pelada y cortada en finas tiritas

1 Paquete de Fideos de huevo (Tallarines)

Sal, al gusto

Pimienta, al gusto

Opcional: Salsa de soya y/o Sriracha (salsa picante). (Añádelo en los platos ya servidos). En lo personal me gusta con Sriracha. No me gusta con salsa de soya, porque siento que el sabor de la salsa de soya es muy fuerte y cubre todos los demás sabores del platillo

 

INSTRUCCIONES

 

Hierve el pollo en las 3 tazas de agua (o hasta que el pollo esté cubierto)

Retira el pollo para que se enfríe después de que esté cocido y desmenúzalo.

En el agua restante (que ahora es caldo de pollo), agrega el ajo, los cebollines, el jengibre y el Tahini, lleva a punto de ebullición.

Reduce el fuego a medio-bajo, tapa la olla y deja cocinar por 10 minutos.

En una olla separada, hierve agua para los tallarines/ fideos de huevo y cocínalos.

Pasados los 10 minutos, destapa la sopa. Agrega sal y pimienta.

Prueba. (Agrega más sal y pimienta si es necesario)

Retira la sopa del calor y cuidadosamente, usa un colador para retirar los pedacitos de jengibre, el ajo y la cebolla, dejando solo el caldo. Si te gustan los trozos de jengibre, ajo y cebolla verde en la sopa, puedes saltarte este paso con libertad y continuar con el resto de las instrucciones.

Después de colar el caldo, añade las zanahorias y Bok Choy.

Transferir los tallarines/fideos de huevo ya cocidos de su olla a la olla de sopa y dejar cocer a fuego lento 5 minutos.

La intención es cocer la sopa en esta ultima etapa para fusionar los sabores, pero no por mucho tiempo para que el Bok Choy no pierda sus propiedades crujientes, y su color verde vibrante.

Prueba. Si se necesita mas sal y pimienta, agrega.

Sirve la sopa en el tazón y agrega el pollo desmenuzado.

Añade Sriracha a un plato de sopa para añadir más sabor.

 

Nota: Si quieres cocinar esta receta con tofu. Sofríe los trocitos de tofu en un sartén hasta que esté dorado por todos los lados, agrega al caldo después de que lo colaste, y cocina durante 5 minutos, antes de añadir Bok Choy. Después de añadirlo, cocina a fuego lento 5 minutos más.

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Asia-inspired Chicken Soup

Sometimes you know exactly what you want to cook and you get the right ingredients for that meal. Other times, the contents of your refrigerator dictate what your next meal will be.

That’s been happening to me quite a bit lately.

Today, I opened up my refrigerator door and browsed up and down the shelves wondering what would be our next dinner, and I took notice of something on the bottom shelf that I had nearly forgotten I had purchased a week earlier – a head of Bok Choy.

Immediately, my thoughts were transported to Asia, where I first tasted Bok Choy; and Malaysia in particular, where I would often eat the leafy-green in soups.

About seven years ago, I was living in Singapore and was out late one night at a Hawker Centre – or food court. I was hungry and, because it was late, there was only one restaurant opened at the food court. And they served only soup.

At this particular facility, patrons would choose their vegetables and meat, and a soup would be created to their taste (for those in the West, this premise is much like a sandwich shop, but with soup).

I looked down at the array of vegetables on display – the beautiful bright colors and fragrances – and saw a lot of items with which I was very unfamiliar. Uncomfortably unfamiliar.

So I did what I had learned to do in my few years as a world traveler – It’s a little trick I will still do from time-to-time, when I find myself in unfamiliar surroundings – I simply ordered the same thing as the person ahead of me. J

I wasn’t sure at the time, and I’m still unsure, of the names of each of the ingredients, but I can remember the soup I ordered was brightly colored with green, white, pink, yellow, purple and red contents.

And though I cannot recall everything my first soup had in it, I do remember that it was about 90 percent delicious.

It was months later that one of my dearest friends in Singapore, Anne, taught me what each of the vegetables and others items on display were. She showed me how to successfully order a great soup. And my soup orders grew tastier.

For several years I traveled throughout Southeast Asia. During a visit to Malaysia, I was visiting a friend who decided to cook a meal for me.

I was slightly dumbfounded to discover that the soup she made was extremely similar in flavors I remembered from my first soup experience in Singapore. It had Bean Sprouts, Spinach, Bok Choy, boiled eggs, sausage, noodles, fish balls, tofu, and a lot of other items that escape my memory at the moment.

And for some reason, in my friend’s soup, the flavor that stood out to me the most was the Bok Choy.

Even though I first tried it in Singapore, Bok Choy is a flavor I relate to Malaysia.

So when I opened my refrigerator today and found the Bok Choy, I got an overwhelming feeling of love and goodness that reminded me of the Malaysian people that I so often encountered during my time there.

Malaysia is an extremely welcoming country that I fell in love with almost right away. The people are friendly, the food is delightful, and the Malay language has pronunciations that are very similar to Spanish, my native tongue.

Albeit to say, I ended up spending lots of time, gaining lots of friends, and eating lots of food, in Malaysia. Actually, the friends I have there have become like family to me over the years.

As my eyes shifted from the Bok Choy, I spotted carrots, ginger root, shredded chicken – and I knew that the fridge’s ingredients and my flashing memories had just decided for me what was for dinner.


 

Asia-inspired chicken noodle soup

(2 People)

3 cups water

2 Tbsp finely chopped Fresh Ginger Root

2 Stalks chopped Green Onion

4 Leaves chopped (about ½ inch) Bok Choy

2 Cloves Garlic (whole)

1 tsp Tahini (optional)

½ chicken breast

1 Carrot, peeled and cut into fine strips

Egg Noodles

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Optional: Soy sauce and/or Sriracha (add in individual bowl). I personally like Sriracha, but not soy sauce. I thought soy sauce was overpowering to the dish.

 

  • Boil chicken in 3 cups of water (or until chicken is covered)
  • Remove chicken to cool after it is cooked through, and then shred chicken.
  • In remaining water (which is now chicken stock), add garlic, green onion, ginger and tahini and bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
  • In separate pot, boil egg noodles in water
  • Uncover soup after 10 minutes has passed and add salt and pepper.
  • Taste. (Add more salt and pepper if needed)
  • Remove soup from heat and carefully strain to remove ginger, garlic and onion. This step will reduce your soup to a stock. If you like chunks of ginger, garlic and green onion, feel free to skip the straining step.
  • After straining, add carrots and Bok Choy.
  • Transfer cooked egg noodles from its pot to the pot of soup and allow to simmer 5 minutes.

You want to cook it, but not too long. If it’s cooked too long, the Bok Choy will lose its vibrant green color, flavor and crisp.

  • Taste. If salt and pepper is needed, add.
  • Ladle soup into bowl and add shredded chicken.

Add Sriracha to bowl of soup for added deliciousness.

Note: if you desire to use tofu, sauté the tofu until golden brown and add to broth after straining and cook 5 minutes, before adding Bok Choy and simmer 5 more minutes.

Tacos Dorados (Taquitos)

During the Easter season in most Latin American countries, many people refrain from eating meat. The month leading up to Easter is the Catholic season of Lent – and most Latin American countries have deep rooted Catholic backgrounds.

This is a time when lots of seafood is consumed.

Growing up, though, my family wasn’t Catholic. So during the Lent season, we were one of the only families around that was eating meat regularly. (Also, my mom didn’t like cooking seafood because of the lingering fishy scent.)

Last week, as I was thinking about Lent and seafood, and the fact that my family continued eating meats throughout the season, I was reminded of a time I was served some of the best fish soup I’ve ever eaten.

Before you get your hopes too high, I’ll tell you that this post is not about that delicious soup – though I am going to track down that recipe for a later date. Now, in Mexico we eat tacos dorados with soup, much like in many places soups are served with sandwiches or loaves of bread. Today’s post is about that delectable, crispy bite of comfort that’s often served with a soup and can stand alone just as well – Tacos Dorados.

It was a few weeks before Easter in the early 2000’s when a college classmate and friend looked over at me and said, “Hey, let’s get a group together and go to Acapulco.”

So, naturally, as I am full of spontaneity I said, “Yeah! That would be fun. Let’s do it!”

Within 24 hours, a group of five of us were on our way from Mexico City to Acapulco – about a 4-5 hour drive. In the group were my friend and his brother and sister, and my brother and me.

We had family friends that owned a house in Acapulco, and were away on a vacation of their own, who said we could use their house during our stay, so we were prepared for a non-expensive miniature beach vacation among friends.

The only expenses we would incur would be food and gasoline.

Then, on our way to Acapulco, I remembered that I had a friend who lived right outside of the city – in El Coloso. This friend, Eli (pronounced Eh-lee), would eventually become my best friend, traveling companion, and maid of honor. (In fact, we always talk about how, in that time, we never thought we’d be living in a Malaysian jungle together, or getting a free flight to Hawaii together, or getting lost together in different parts of the planet.)

I messaged her, and she replied telling me she would be in class on the day of our arrival.

Once we arrived in Acapulco and reached one of the most known beaches, we looked around and were all, frankly, quite disappointed. That’s when I decided to call Eli, who had just finished her college classes for the day.

Eli brought us away from the touristic areas and to the most beautiful local beaches with golden sands and crystal clear water nestled in between two mountain peaks. Needless to say, we were excited to find such a lovely area, and we decided that is where would continue our vacation the following morning.

That next day, Eli’s mother – Mama Berna – sent, with her daughter, some fish soup and tacos dorados for us to enjoy on the beach.

I grabbed a taco and poured some soup in a container and tasted both. As expected, the taco was perfection, but the soup surprised me with its delicate and intrinsic flavors.

Usually, fish soup is strong – it’s aftertaste and smell overpowers

This soup, however, was not that. The fish wasn’t soggy. It’s consistency was pure. The vegetables had a nice fish taste, but didn’t lose their vegetable essence.

I remember thinking a hot soup would not be good for a day at the beach, but it was actually light and refreshing and perfect for a beach day.

Seriously, I will get that recipe and make it for this blog one day.

Maybe the reason I thought the food was so good that day was because Mama Berna did not know us – we were just friends of her daughter – and she went out of her way to show us such love and hospitality.

Mama Berna really became someone very special to me that day – even without knowing her until later. She made that food with love and gave it to us without asking for anything in return.

That day changed all my thoughts on fish. It made me more open to seafood – as my mother didn’t cook seafood and we didn’t live in an area where seafood was fresh and readily available.

My little brother, Jorge, on the other hand, was not as open to anything seafood. He refused to taste the soup and missed out on a real delight. He didn’t care about the soup. So we didn’t care about him.

“Whatever,” I said. “Just eat sand.”

So we ate. We finished the soup and turned toward that heaping plate of about 50 Tacos Dorados, which I had already enjoyed eating one earlier, with my soup.

They were gone.

Jorge had eaten the entire plate of Tacos Dorados.

Still, to this day, when I think of Tacos Dorados, I think of what they probably would have tasted like after that delicious fish soup. And in my dear brother, this is one of his favorite dishes.

All that said, this is a great Mexican dish to enjoy with friends and family, especially with little ones who like to eat with their hands!

 

Enjoy!


 

TACOS DORADOS

The biggest issue of Tacos Dorados is that you must have access to corn tortillas, or at least MASECA corn flour.

Either purchase corn tortillas from your local grocer, or follow the instructions to make tortillas on the package of MaSeCa. I like to make my own tortillas, which is pretty easy.

 

— To make corn tortillas, add water to MASECA corn flour (use amount directed on package) and salt; then knead. Roll into balls and flatten to thin-ness of a tortilla. Place on dry skillet on medium heat and cook both sides. —

 

The tacos, traditionally, are filled with cooked shredded chicken, beef, or boiled and seasoned potatoes.

DIRECTIONS:

  • Heat tortilla in microwave or stovetop, remove from heat, and place line of meat/potatoes in the middle of the tortilla.
  • Take one edge of the tortilla and reach toward the protein, and pull it toward the edge as you roll the tortilla tightly – Be careful not to spill out any of the meat/potatoes.
  • Once rolled, seal the end with a toothpick. The toothpick keeps the taco closed once placed in the hot oil. Use more than one toothpick if necessary.
  • Place oil (vegetable oil, canola oil, etc.) in a pan and bring to medium-high heat.
  • Place tacos into hot oil and fry until golden and crispy on all sides. If you have a fryer, this process is much easier.
  • Put the tacos on a platter with napkins or paper towels underneath to allow excess oil to drain.

At this point, once cooled, remove toothpicks and the Tacos Dorados are ready to be consumed. You can eat them alone as a snack, with a soup, or as a meal topped with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, avocados, salsa and whatever else your heart desires.