So the weather is getting all wonky again with rain, rain and more rain. It is flooding randomly on all places in KL. I look to soups again to ‘weather’ through this state…(pun intended). This soup is very much in touch with my childhood, I don’t know if Mom got the recipe from elsewhere but she was a genius to keep making it at home. The flavour of the soup very much lies on this pickled vegetable simply known as Szechuan Preserved Mustard Root or Vegetable. The said vegetable involved is similar to a kohlrabi, from what I gather from this site. It has a very distinct taste, kinda like a kimchi, because the pickling mix is very similar; garlic, salt and chilli powder. These roots are then left to ferment for long periods of time until they become soft and take on that salty, sour and spicy taste.
When you purchase them, they are packaged
still in the red fermenting liquid. This is what they look like out of the bag.
I do admit it’s not the prettiest sight but you’re rinsing away the red stuff
anyway so don’t fret.
Just throw all ingredients into a pot and let it simmer away until you have somewhat a ‘thick’ soup. The taste is warming with just a hint of spiciness, but there’s something very calming in all that. The preserved vegetable also goes well with stir-fries and noodle dishes. I was told…(and I don’t know if this is true)…that elderly people with kidney problem should not eat this, or any other dishes that has gone through that salty fermentation process. But when I made this for my sick MIL last time, it made her very happy because the soup opened up her appetite. She was throwing up a lot at one point so food was kinda dull to her but I’m glad at least this helped to uplift her spirits towards meals, even if it was just for that moment.
SZECHUAN PRESERVED VEGETABLE WITH PORK RIB’S SOUP RECIPE
(for 3 people)
Pork spare ribs, bout’ 7 or 8
250 – 300 gm Szechuan preserved vegetable
3 medium tomatoes
1 block of soft tofu
A pinch of salt
1. Par-boil the ribs first in hot boiling water. Plunge them in and turn off the heat. Drain when they’ve lost their red colour.
2. Rinse the preserved vege but don’t be fastidious about it. Just rinse away the thick clumps of red. Slice them up.
3. Slice the tomatoes into wedges too.
4. Drop the par-boiled ribs and sliced vege into a soup pot. Cover with water until just 3 inches above the ingredients, give or take.
5. Let it come to a rolling boil, then add the tomatoes. Season with the salt and pepper. Watch the salt because you might need less.
6. Cover with a lid, turn the heat down to simmer and give it 2 hours at least.
7. Just before serving, add the tofu, broken up into chunks with a spoon.
8. Eat with plain rice.