Before I begin, I'm super ecstatic to announce that I've finally gotten my own domain name (yayeeee~~) and have moved my site to: http://www.thehungryexcavator.com/
It's been a long time coming so I'm glad I finally moved. Also, I've just installed a new comment platform on my blog to hopefully give a more personal and convenient experience for you guys to leave your comments (which is almost always the highlight of my day, btw). Thanks for all your words all this time, I really do appreciate every single one =)
So one of the things that I'm passionate about on this blog is re-creating recipes of food that played a huge part of my childhood (coming from a Chinese-Malaysian background) and sharing them on this blog. I hope it gives people a sense of my identity and culture through Food =)
This Watercress Soup was really one of my favourites growing up. I never liked vegetables when I was younger (up until I came to Australia, actually lol) but would enjoy them a lot if they weren't leafy or cooked till extremely, extremely soft. Which is why I love this so much. The soup is so tasty and flavourful and I loved pouring them onto my rice and could eat so much of the veggies in the soup. They're so soft, sweet and delicious.
So, if you know of any difficult children (like me when I was younger, ahem) and are having trouble with feeding them their daily dose of vegetables, I'd definitely recommend this soup hehe.
Also, a lot of Chinese-Malaysian families like mine use dried cuttlefish + pork bones for many of our pork-based soups. It really is one of the most amazing combo of ingredients for hearty Chinese soups and if you've never used dried cuttlefish before, you really should try it! I plan to share a few more soups using these two ingredients, so watch out! =D
I was a bit worried that I couldn't find dried cuttlefish in Australia but after speaking to my friends, a lovely couple who owns Yahweh Asian Grocery (in Carlton near Melbourne University), I was so happy to find that they actually ordered them right away!
This couple is one of the most generous people I know and let me tell you, the wife is one HELL of a cook. She literally whips up a storm (once, a FEAST for more than 100 people with so much delicious food I almost passed out) each time she's in the kitchen and I trust her taste and judgement a 100%. That's why I feel at ease with the products at Yahweh Asian Grocery because I know these are stuff she uses herself and approves of haha. BEST of all, the prices are almost always cheaper, if not, comparable to anywhere else. If you like, she's got a blog that she uses to share recipes with products from their Asian Grocery, so do check them out: here!
One thing I love most about this soup is how cheap it is to make one huge pot, seriously. The pork bones I got from the market for less than $2. And the watercress was another $2. Other ingredients I already had in my pantry and can all be found at Yahweh Asian Grocery or from your local Asian Grocer. So, I do hope that you give this one a try -- ENJOY! =D
Watercress Soup Recipe
1 bunch watercress (around 450g)
500g pork bones
10 red dates
3 honey dates
1 dried cuttlefish *
7 - 8 cups of water
Salt to taste
* These are NOT the same as the dried cuttlefish snacks. Used in cooking and can't be eaten straight out of the packet. Red and honey dates also available at your local Asian Grocer.
Go with the packet above to be safe, or feel free to e-mail me if you've got any questions =)
Bring half a pot of water to boil. In the meantime, roughly chop the watercress to about 2.5 inches lengthwise and give them a quick wash. Soak red dates in boiling water for 2 minutes before pressing it flat with a fork.
Using tongs, hold the dried cuttlefish over a stove and burn all over until fragrant (it's okay if it looks a bit burnt). Your kitchen will smell pretty amazing right about now ;p
Once water is boiling, add the pork bones and keep boiling for 5 minutes. Switch off fire, drain, and rinse thoroughly with cold water once again (to get rid of the "smell"). Fill pot with 7 - 8 cups of water and bring to boil. Add all the ingredients and simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours. Season with salt to taste.
Soup in Rice -- How I love drinking my soups since I was a kid hehe. Peace! =)