Tuesday, February 27, 2007

美人汤 . Beauty soup. Wakame soup

After all the Chinese New Year gulping and gulping, it's time to go light and easy. Soup's On!

Other than the words "healthy sea vegetable" on the packaging, I can't understand a single word of Japanese on the package. It was until I reached home and saw the word "美人" on the package. Hmmmm...does that mean only beautiful ladies (美人) can eat this or maybe consumption will lead to a more pretty you? (Hail hail, beauties all of you, uncover the Beauty Mystery, at bottom of this post). But I got this product simply because it seems easy to prepare; and has a longer shelf life than fresh vegetables that may serve me in need if my fridge is empty with fresh veggies. Let's try it! This is not instant soup. I still have to start from scratch to make my own soup base. This vegetable will be just one of the ingredients.

It says sea vegetable, I'm not sure if it's wakame - a kind of kelp (edible seaweed), edible kelp. But it should be, it looks like it. In Japan, wakame is distributed either dried or salted, and often used in soup, particularly miso soup, and salads. In Korea, the wakame soup version is called miyeok. This is the Miyeok or Miyuk guk I made, with many many more ingredients. It might have lost its authenticity as Miyuk guk, after all the other ingredients, but it still tastes very good.

Chinese-style miyuk guk- wakame soup (serves 2-3)
-less than 1 handful/palmful of dried vegetable, soaked to hydrate(one handful dry yielded so much)
-1 small block silken tofu, drained and cut into strips
-4 fresh shitake mushrooms, wiped with damp cloth, stalks removed
-half a bunch of enoki mushrooms
-1/4lb(or slightly less than 1/4lb) ground pork (just to flavor the soup, add some sweetness). (Note: The real Miyuk guk has beef in it)
-1 egg, lightly whisked
-1tsp shaoxing wine
-1tsp cornflour
-3tbsp black vinegar(option)
-300-400ml water
-dashes of pepper, to taste

1.Add wine and cornflour into the meat to lightly marinate and flavor
2.Boil water in a small soup pot. When boiled, add the meat, assorted mushrooms, and tofu; cook and return to boil for 5-7mins
3.Add the hydrated wakame to the soup, and cook for 2-3mins
4.Add in the beaten egg slowly
5.If you like the sour taste of Szechuan Hot and Sour Soup(四川 酸辣汤), you can add some black vinegar to the soup, at this time. I did, because the truth is... (...I was craving for 四川 酸辣汤 but did not have all the ingredients at hand, so I made this soup as a substitute instead. There is no "Hot" portion of the Hot and Sour Soup in this "beauty" soup, but it was good enough for me.)

Uncover the Beauty Mystery - Why is it called Beauty soup ?
1.A compound in wakame known as fucoxanthin can help burn fatty tissue
2.Chock-full of protein, calcium, iodine, magnesium, iron and folate, so it's really good for you!
3.Wakame is rich in calcium and B-vitamins, excellent for skin, nails & hair
4.Wakame has diruetic properties, so can help to relieve water retention
5.Traditionally used in Japan to purify a mother's blood after childbirth, and to "stimulate" milk production
6.Has sufficient iodine to reduce the swollen body after childbirth, and calcium to help build strong bones, both for mother and child

Hail hail, beauties all of you, which beauty element would you choose ?

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