Hakka Savoury Tangyuan Soup
It’s been quite a while not posting any recipe. It should have been another usual Chinese New Year holiday and most Chinese families had already prepared for it, food, decoration, flight or train tickets. As far as all known, all those were blown away in one day. Anyway, I canceled my train ticket home and decided to stay with my pal for the holiday, mostly at home, cooking, reading, writing. Although we always wish others healthy and happy, we all know in reality, happiness and healthiness won’t be with us all the time, not with everybody. I feel for those who are suffering and pray for those fading lives. Every time a loved one left me, I was in sorrow for quite a long time and this feeling wouldn’t fade away easily.
I am a half Hakka and we cook Hakka food mostly in Chinese New Year holiday. Tangyuan are usually sweet but my parents like to make savoury tangyuan soup for CNY holiday breakfast, with some leftover from the family gathering feast, such as boned chicken or char-siu. Tangyuan you commonly see are with sweet fillings, sesame, peanut or red beans. But in this recipe, it would be small rice balls in soup, without filling. There are three Cantonese essentials in the soup – Cantonese sausage, dry shiitake mushroom and dry mini shrimp. Besides, pork or chicken would add better taste. My family would add lots of winter vegetable. Chinese radish and cabbage would do. It’s an easy soup for meal. Usually when dad is doing the chopping or marinating, mum and I would make the tangyuan.
Ingredients – for 2 serving
Chicken breast, 150g, or pork, or char-siu
Dried shiitake mushroom, 2, medium size
Dried mini shrimps, 2tbsp
Cantonese sausage, 1
Chinese white radish, 300g
Chinese cabbage, 3 big leaves
Green peas, half cup
Chicken stock, 500ml. I made a big pot of chicken stock for different dishes but you could just use boxed one, or just water;
Fried shallot, optional
Glutinous rice flour, 100g (for 2 serving)
Warm water, 90ml
Salt, sugar, cornstarch, light soy sauce
How to do –
1. Some quick preparation. Chicken breast sliced or cut to cubes, marinated with 1tsp of light soysauce, 1tsp of cornstarch, 1/2tsp of sugar, and a nip of salt; Cantonese sausage sliced; I soaked the dried mushroom overnight so that they are tender enough to slice, but you could use fresh shiitake mushroom; carrot sliced, radish and cabbage cut to chopsticks;
2. While you are doing the cutting, others could prepare the tangyuan. About 50g of glutinous rice flour for one serving. In a mixing bowl, put in 100g of flour, a nip of salt and sugar, then slowly mix in about 90ml of warm water, mix well till lumpy, then knead to dough; cut the dough into small portions then roll them into small balls, in about thumbnail size;
3. You could use a wok or a soup pot to cook. Heat some oil on hot wok, stir fry the mini shrimps till fragrant, then mushroom also, move them aside; chicken in, also stir-fry till golden; add in the radish and carrot, stir-fry and mix well; chicken stock in, lid on, bring to boil in high heat; cabbage in, lid on, cook for a few more minute till all vegetable turn tender;
4. Put the tangyuan in the boiling soup, lid on and cook for about 2 minutes till colour changes;
5. Add the sausage and peas in, cook in high heat for a few more seconds. It’s even nicer to serve with a pinch of fried shallot, if you have, this is what traditional Hakka would do.