Saturday, March 12, 2016

Lemongrass Winter Melon Soup with Periwinkles, Ginkgo Nuts and Vietnamese Perilla

     More Winter Melon Soup Ideas! 
     Periwinkles are a nice tasting small sea snail.  The flavor is very clean and not muddy at all.  Periwinkles add a light savory seafood flavor to Winter Melon Soup.  
     Vietnamese Perilla is in the mint family of plants.  This herb has a complex basil flavor.  Vietnamese cuisine makes use of a wide variety of fresh herbs.  The herbs can be part of the recipes or they can be used as an integral garnish.  Often a fresh herb garnish for soup is meant to be stirred into the soup at the table, to add a fresh crisp herb flavor.
     Ginkgo Nuts have a nice delicate flavor of their own.  Ginkgo Nuts are a strong antioxidant and they boost the immune system.  Lemongrass is a classic choice for flavoring light savory broth soups and this herb compliments the flavor of Winter Melon.  Put it all together and this is a very tasty healthy Winter Melon Soup!
     Lemongrass Winter Melon Soup with Periwinkles, Ginkgo Nuts and Vietnamese Perilla:               
     This recipe yields 1 large bowl of soup!   (About 2 3/4 cups)
     Poached shelled periwinkles can be purchased at Asian food markets.  Fresh live periwinkles in their shells are sometimes available too. 
     Step 1:  Tie 1 shoot of fresh lemongrass into a simple knot.
     Place the lemongrass knot in a small soup pot.
     Add 2 3/4 cups of light chicken broth.  
     Place the pot over medium high heat.
     Bring the broth to a gentle boil.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Simmer the broth for 10 minutes, so the lemongrass flavor infuses with the broth.
     Step 3:  Add 1 3/4 cups of winter melon that is cut into 1/2" cube shaped pieces.
     Add 4 ounces of poached periwinkles that are sliced into bite size pieces.  
     Add 6 peeled fresh ginkgo nuts.
     Step 4:  Simmer the soup till the winter melon is tender and the volume of the soup is 2 3/4 cups to 3 cups.  (The winter melon will be opaque at first, then it will be a translucent color when it is tender.)
     Step 5:  Remove the lemongrass knot.
     Ladle the soup into a bowl.
     Float a few very thin slices of onion on the surface of the soup.
     Line the rim of the soup bowl with whole fresh Vietnamese Perilla Leaves.

     This soup has a delicate flavor that brings on a smile!    

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