Monday, October 5, 2015

Spicy Dried Shrimp and Napa Cabbage Soup with Enoki

     A Healthy Soup With A Comfortably Spicy Savory Umami Flavor! 
     Dried shrimp are used in recipes nearly everywhere, except western countries.  Dried shrimp are often used to make broths and sauces.  In China, dried shrimp are sometimes used like a spice, like when dried shrimp paste is added to a ground pork meatball recipe.  Dried shrimp impart a rich umami flavor.
     Dried shrimp are available in Asian food markets.  Tiny dried shrimp that were no bigger than a penny were used to make the broth for today's soup recipe.  The shells do not need to be removed, because tiny shrimp shells are soft and edible.  Dried shrimp create a nice looking pinkish orange color broth.
     Spicy Dried Shrimp and Napa Cabbage Soup with Enoki:
     This recipe yields 1 large bowl of soup.  (3 cups)
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of pure sesame oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
     Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Briefly sauté the garlic and ginger for a few seconds, so it becomes aromatic.
     Step 2:  Add 3 1/2 cups of water.
     Add 1/3 cup of tiny dried shrimp.
     Add 2 to 3 pinches of Chinese chile powder.  (To taste.)
     *The broth should be comfortably spicy, but not super spicy hot level #10!
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt.
     Step 3:  Raise the temperature to medium high heat.
     Bring the soup to a boil.
     Step 4:  Add 1 medium size shiitake mushroom that is thin sliced.
     Add 6 thin slices of peeled lotus root.
     Boil the ingredients, till the soup turns a pink color and the lotus root is tender.  (About 8 minutes.  Allow the broth to reduce to about 2 3/4 cups.)
     Step 5:  Add 1 1/2 cups of napa cabbage that is wide sliced.
     Add 6 thin slices of green bell pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of ground Szechuan Pepper.
     Step 6:  Boil the soup till the cabbage is cooked al dente and it still has slightly crisp bite.  (About 4 to 5 minutes.)
     Step 7:  Pour the soup into a large bowl.
     Float 5 or 6 feather cut snow peas on the soup.
     Float a few thin sliced onion rings on the soup.
     Float 1 small bunch of trimmed enoki mushrooms on the soup.
     Float 1 thin bias sliced green onion on the soup.
     Float 8 to 12 cilantro leaves on the soup.
     Garnish the soup with a large Thai Basil sprig.
     The broth has deep rich dried shrimp flavor.  The small amount of Chinese chile powder adds a mild spicy kick. 

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