Cooking with Alison

Archive for the ‘Soups’ Category

Korean Pork Bone Soup Recipe (Gam Ja Tang)

In Asian, Soups on May 17, 2016 at am


Korean restaurants and food courts put too much salt and MSG in their pork bone soup, so, naturally, I started making my own. It’s really easy to make and it’s freezer-friendly. The broth is spicy and salty with a hint of fermented flavour from bean paste. You really need to use your hands to get to the flavourful meat and soft bone between the pork neck bones. So this dish is usually only served to family and close friends. But sometimes I will remove all of the meat from the bones prior to serving it. That way, it’s easy to eat, it’s not messy, and no one feels embarrassed.

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Chinese ‘Winter Worm Grass’ Soup Recipe

In Asian, Soups on October 23, 2014 at am

Cooking with Alison’s Mom (Part 5)


According to Chinese medicine, “dong chong cho” or ‘winter worm summer grass’ or caterpillar fungus (ophiocordyceps sinensis), has many health benefits.  Despite its high price tag, many Chinese families will boil it in a soup to improve their health.  After being boiled, the “dong chong cho” does not really taste like anything, and it has a nice slight crunch in texture.  This is how my mom makes “dong chong cho” soup.

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Favourite Fish Broth Recipe

In Asian, Fish / Seafood, Rice and Noodle Dishes, Soups on March 10, 2014 at am

This recipe is a recreation of my family’s favourite fish broth.  We surprisingly found the best fish broth at one of the food court vendors in First Markham Place in Markham, ON.  My family and I have never had such a delicious and strongly flavoured fish soup.  The best part is that they don’t use MSG!  Our cousin took us out in Malaysia for the “best” fish noodle soup, and we didn’t have the heart to tell him that our local food court vendor does it much much better.  This fish broth will fill your house with a fishy smell, but if you can get over that, you’ll love the broth.  I like to use this fish broth when I’m making seafood paella and Chinese noodle soups (see recipe here).

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White Daikon Radish Soup Recipe

In Asian, Soups, Soups and Salads on October 29, 2013 at am

When white daikon radish went on sale for only 9 cents per pound, I made soup, among several other dishes (see a list of daikon radish recipes here).  My family, John, and John’s mom really liked this soup.  This soup is mild, light, and very versatile.  I’ve included a few variations of the recipe below.  I made this broth using pork bones.


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What to Cook When Daikon Radish Goes on Sale for 9 Cents per Pound

In Appetizers, Hors D'oeuvres, Snacks, Asian, Dim Sum, How-To, Meat and Eggs, Other Asian Foods, Rice and Noodle Dishes, Soups on October 26, 2013 at am

When white daikon radish went on sale for only 9 cents per pound, I did what I had to do – I bought pounds and pounds and pounds of it, found different ways to cook it, and ate nothing but daikon radish for two weeks.  It was awesome!  🙂  So here is a list of dishes that you can make using white daikon radish.  Let me know if you can think of more items!

  • braised beef dishes (see recipes here and here)
  • Vietnamese beef noodle soup (pho tai) (see recipe here)
  • steamed cake (lo bak go) (see recipe here)
  • pickled condiment (see recipe here)
  • soup (see recipe here)
  • pan fried dish with beef

If you’ve never cooked daikon radish before, I should warn you that the cooking process releases an unpleasant odour.  But once the radish is fully cooked, the smell goes away, and the radish has a mild flavour.

Chinese Hairy Gourd Soup Recipe

In Asian, Soups, Soups and Salads on October 15, 2013 at am

Cooking with Alison’s Mom (Part 2)

Hairy gourd is a Chinese vegetable that resembles a cucumber with fine, white fuzz on the skin.  This hairy gourd soup is light and simple and, like most Chinese soups, it allows the subtle flavour of the vegetable to come through.  We make this soup all year round, because my mother grows the hairy gourd in her garden.  This soup is normally made with a Chinese salted egg, but we recently discovered that this soup is even better when you use drippings from steamed lobster instead.  Both variations have been provided in the recipe below.  [On a side note, according to the teachings of Chinese medicine, this is a neutral vegetable (neither a ‘hot’ food nor a ‘cold’ food), so it is suitable for everyone.]

Chinese hairy gourd vegetable

Chinese hairy gourd vegetable

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Chinese Chicken and Rice Wine Soup

In Asian, Drinks, Soups, Soups and Salads on June 24, 2012 at pm

Cooking with Alison’s Mom (Part 1)

I have always wanted to learn how to make traditional Chinese soups and health drinks.  So this chicken and rice wine health drink/soup is the first of my new recipe series, Cooking with Alison’s Mom.  (Be sure to check out the Cooking with Alison’s Grandma recipe series.)

This Chinese soup is often served to women who have just given birth as it is supposed to be nourishing and warming.  I particularly like drinking this healthy soup in the winter.  It’s also a great way to enjoy/use up homemade glutinous rice wine.  This soup could be made using only 2 ingredients – chicken and glutinous rice wine, but my mom likes to add a few more ingredients to enhance the health benefits and flavour.

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Chinese Borscht Recipe (Lor Sung Tong)

In Asian, Soups, Soups and Salads on June 2, 2011 at am

Originating from Ukraine, borscht is a soup that is made with beets as the main ingredient.  Surprisingly, you may find borscht or even Russian borscht (“loh sung tong” / “lor sung tong”) on the menus of some Hong Kong style diners.  The borscht served in these Chinese restaurants is more like a hot and sour vegetable soup with tomatoes and/or tomato paste as the main ingredient(s).  It’s delicious and my siblings and I love it.  In fact, every time my brother sees me, he asks me when I’m going to make more of this soup for him.  I made it for my housemate recently and she asked for the recipe.  Every Chinese restaurant makes their borscht slightly differently, so feel free to add whatever vegetables you like.  The following recipe was created to taste just like the soup that’s served at our favourite Hong Kong style diner in Markham, ON.

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Miso Soup Recipe

In Asian, Soups, Soups and Salads on January 4, 2011 at am

Miso soup is a simple Japanese soup that consists mainly of dashi stock and miso paste.  Miso paste is available in a variety of colours (ie. yellow or red) and flavours (ie. salty or sweet).  Additional ingredients, such as seaweed, tofu, mushrooms, and/or pork, are often added to this soup.  Although instant miso soup powders are widely available, this soup is very easy to make (minus the MSG and preservatives).  Traditionally, wakame is the seaweed of choice, but this time, I used dulse, a red seaweed that I bought in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (photo below).  See my post on how to use dulse here.

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Bok Choy Soup

In Asian, Soups, Soups and Salads on October 19, 2010 at am

This soup takes less than 10 minutes to make.  When my mom makes this, she only uses broth, water, baby bok choy, and ginger.  So it can be as simple as that.  Just be sure to wash the vegetables very very well, especially if you’re using shanghai bok choy because a lot of dirt and bugs collect between the leaves.  Although full sized bok choy will work, I much prefer the taste and texture of baby bok choy.  

Note:  I used baby shanghai bok choy for the soup in the photo below. 

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Vietnamese Pho Tai (Beef Noodle Soup)

In Asian, Rice and Noodle Dishes, Soups on March 6, 2010 at pm


I love Pho Tai – Vietnamese rare beef and noodles in soup.  But I’m too often disappointed by the unauthentic, MSG and chicken broth, cheap imitations that most restaurants serve.  So I finally decided to try making it myself.  I can’t even describe how excited I was when I tried the Pho recipe from the cookbook, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nguyen.  I could tell from the smell of the broth, even before I tasted it, that I had found the perfect recipe.  This is an authentic, delicious, and easy to make broth that is so good, that I’ll never be compelled to order Pho from a restaurant again.  If you have leftover daikon radish, see here for a list of other recipes.

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Hot and Sour Soup

In Asian, Soups, Soups and Salads on February 27, 2010 at pm

Hot and sour soup originated in Szechuan, a region in China.  It’s one of my sister’s favourite foods and unfortunately, it’s incredibly difficult to find a restaurant that serves a truly authentic (and delicious) hot and sour soup.  Luckily, it’s very easy to make at home.  My family loves it when I make this soup and they can’t get enough of it.  🙂  You could easily make this a vegetarian or vegan soup by omitting the pork and egg, and by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

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