Some years ago, I wrote a post featuring the Japanese soup stock known as Dashi. In that post, I mentioned that Dashi could be a simple mushroom stock, or a stock made using just the seaweed called Kombu, or, more commonly, a more complex stock combining Kombu and the dried, smoky tuna known as Katsuobushi
Anyway, in my Katsuobushi post (see the above link), I showed several varieties of the proper fish product and one the ‘instant’ powdered versions. I was, it must be said, a bit scathing of the latter, indicating that it wasn’t, for several reasons, as good as the ‘real’ thing, but, while that is generally true, the same can be said for homemade chicken stock versus one made using bouillon cubes or extract. One uses homemade if that is practical but, sometimes, especially if only a little stock is needed, using an ‘instant’ substitute is perfectly acceptable…
Today, I thought I would take a little more detailed and closer look at the basic product, and also do a bit of a comparison of a few different brands. There are literally scores and scores of different instant dashi products to be found but the ones you see pictured here are three of the bonito tuna based ones that I have most commonly come across in my part of the world… Continue reading “Ingredient: Instant Dashi Powder”
Well, this particular creation of Wasabi in Ottawa was pretty interesting in concept but not, unfortunately, in execution…
The menu described this being ‘Shrimp, scallop and fish in light miso’ but it was pretty hard to see how what I was served matched that description in any material fashion. Firstly, I was rather expecting that the chowder would be a dashi based miso soup lightly thickened in some fashion to make it a ‘chowder’ of sorts. Here though, the medium was definitely a chowder that had been thickened, as far as I could tell, with potato, as is the case with many western chowders. There was, however, no dashi flavor, nor (more to the point) any hint of miso at all. Basically, the only real taste was something akin to a cross between potato and mushroom soup.
The promise of actual seafood in the dish was also pretty optimistic. I could tell that a few of the chewier pieces were fish, and there were some tiny pieces of shrimp, but neither was in abundant supply and there was no scallop as far as I could tell. Indeed, the majority of solid pieces in this brew were actually potato.
The only real Japanese aspects to this dish were the strip of Wakame floating on top, and the Panko on the side. The Wakame was alright, I suppose (but added more for garnish than anything substantial), and the Panko was somewhat interesting. Normally, crackers or the like are provided with soups so they can be crushed and added in for a thicker heartier result. Thickening was hardly needed here but, if a little was sprinkled on each spoonful, it did lend a slightly enhanced texture.
Unfortunately, I can’t say I really enjoyed this all that much, but I still think the idea is good. An actual miso style soup thickened with potato, and with lots of good seafood added, would be very good. I guess though, I will have to do it myself …
A while ago, I introduced you to Beef Marrow Bones and included a short recipe illustrating an appetizer in which the marrow form certain can be enjoyed as a delicacy by itself. I also mentioned, in that post, that the primary use for beef marrow bones is generally for stocks. As such, as most of my readers will immediately recognize, they are equally useful in the preparation of soups.
One could certainly braise large number beef marrow bones in a suitable liquid, along with other ingredients, and make a great soup that way alone, but, while the result would be very hearty indeed, it would also be necessarily, well… ‘rustic’ in appearance (not that there is anything wrong with that, of course)
Anyway, it is possible to make a soup that has a slightly more ‘elegant’ presentation, and which also allows one to enjoy the pleasure of extracting the marrow separately (rather than have it dissolve in the stock). I did this for the soup you see pictured above by using some pre-roasted marrow bones as follows:
First, I roasted 8 marrow bones and then used five them to make a stock by simmering them at very low temperature (to prevent cloudiness). I also added some vegetable trimmings and a little white wine. I then blanched some bok choy, and grilled slices of mushroom and set these aside. For the final cooking … I sautéed onion in a pot, added my remaining three marrow bones and simmered them in the strained stock for a half-hour or so. Finally, I added the bok choy and mushrooms, seasoned with salt and pepper, then simmered for a just a little while longer and served…
Of late, our supermarket has stocked quite a wide variety of spice and seasoning blends for all sorts of International dishes. This product is made in the Philippines and is meant to result in a Tamarind soup to which you add your own seafood ingredients. For those unfamiliar, Tamarind is used in many dishes to produce a natural sour flavor… However, in looking at the ingredient list, I saw that, while the product does contain Tamarind powder, it comes fairly low on the list compared to Citric Acid which appears as item number two and is, quite clearly, the chief souring agent in this preparation. Generally, I prefer making things from scratch rather than using processed preparations, but once in a while, I end up buying things just ‘to see what this is like’… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Tamarind Soup Mix”
I recently defrosted a rather large bag of baby scallops with a view to doing number of different dishes, and, as I had quite a bit left over, I decided to do a scallop chowder as well. I departed from my usual way of preparing the basic form and decided to use Chinese dried scallops, also known as Conpoy, for the stock base… Continue reading “Scallop Chowder”
When I was a kid, my mother would often make split-pea soup using the bones and scraps leftover from a ham roast. It was a dish I could take or leave back then but I grew to like it more and more and have made it many times as an adult. A few days before writing this post, I came across some smoke-pork shoulders going at half-price and, though they were larger than I would usually buy, the price was too good to pass up and I bought one with a view to making split pea soup for the first time in eons… Continue reading “Split-Pea Soup”
A while ago, Lola Rugula psoted a recipe for a Roasted Garlic and Vegetable Soup. I was surprised I had never ever thought of making soup with roasted vegetables before and I was inspired to try it myself. My version differs quite a bit from Lola’s, and I was mostly ‘playing by ear’, but here you can see what I came up with… Continue reading “Roasted Vegetable Soup”
Today, I am using some of my homemade Simple Kimchi to make a simple, but very tasty, soup. Many people may think of Kimchi as a simply a cold side-dish, or a Banchan (when included as part of a Korean meal). However, it is often used as a cooking ingredient as well. Most notably, it can be added to fried rice, it is used as a primary ingredient in particular types of Korean stews known as Kimchi-jjigae, and is also used in a class of soups collectively called Kimchi-guk.
As with any ‘traditional’ soup, there are as many recipes as there are cooks and, today, I didn’t have in mind any particular Korean recipe, rather, I have simply created a fairly straightforward Pork and onion soup to which I add a good, healthy dollop of Kimchi to give it a sour and spicy finish… Continue reading “Kimchi Soup (Kimchi-guk)”
I happened to have a couple of cans of water-packed Oysters lurking at the back of my kitchen cupboard for quite a while and I decided to use one of them to make a chowder. I toyed around with a couple of different recipe ideas and finally settled on this relatively simple preparation… Continue reading “Oyster Chowder”
I don’t do a lot of hot-pot or fondue meals and when I use stocks or broths in cookery I mostly make it myself from scratch. That being said, though, I do like to keep a bit of commercially made stock on hand for emergencies and, generally, Campbell’s Chicken Broth is my ‘go-to’ product of choice as it is good tasting without a lot of herbal of other flavorings that might limit its use.
Recently, I came across the three products you see pictured above. They are manufactured by Canton, a Canadian company, and although I did not immediately recognize the name I saw, from their website, that they also do a line of prepared fondue and dipping sauces. I haven’t actually tried any of these but I have at least seen them in grocery stores.
In any event, the broth products are manufactured primarily for making fondues and hot-pots and, while I was not interested in buying them for this purpose, I thought I might give them a try to see how they might fare as an ‘emergency’ broth to have on hand… Continue reading “Foodstuff- Canton™ Brand Fondue Broths”