Friday, September 30, 2011

Luffa Tomatoes Seaweed Soup - 丝瓜番茄紫菜汤

Throughout summer, I have cooked this soup so many times because of the abundance of fresh Singua (luffa) in my nearby farmer's market. I tried steaming Singua once but the other half at home did not fancy the dish. Why, I ask ? The dish has fresh natural flavors of Singua. Why? I did not get an answer. But when I cook Singua soup, there is never leftovers.

The culprit is not the ingredient (Chinese okra/luffa/singua, in this case). It must be the cooking method that yields a different outcome that appeals to different people. That's the same reasoning for making at least 12 attempts (disguise, hide, cheat, persuade, etc.) to encourage kids to eat the food/ingredient (e.g. bell peppers) they don't like.

Is there any ingredient you dislike but that you gradually embrace because of how it is cooked?


Without the use of chicken stock, this Singua (Luffa/Chinese Okra) Soup with Tomatoes and Seaweed can still be so flavorful and delicious. How?
You start with ginger, onions, and garlic as the aromatics. Start by aromatizing them in a little oil in a soup pot. Note: I usually like to add pinch of ground turmeric and coriander to create some flavor profile but it is up to you. Then two medium-size tomatoes as the key flavoring (tomatoes = umami, did you hear?). Note1: Also fry the tomatoes till the flavors are released BEFORE adding water to constitute the soup. After adding the water, allow the mixture to come to a simmer (make sure the onions are already soft which also means extra sweetness in the soup).

Note2: If you don't aromatize the onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes in a little hot oil till flavors are released but do otherwise by starting with a pot of water, boil, then add the aromatics and tomatoes to cook the soup - the end result of the soup will be completely different.


Singua, also known as Chinese Okra or Luffa

Singua does not take too long to cook (about 8-10 minutes). So don't have to add them too early. It should be added towards the end of cooking. Then with generous amounts of nori seaweed, pinch of sea salt and ground white pepper to taste; cilantro as garnish - a totally delicious vegetarian soup.


Sharing Singua/Luffa with Weekend Herb Blogging #303 hosted by Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen.

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