26 February 2013

Chinese Heritage: Stocks & Soups by Chef David Yip

I am a soup lover (mostly Chinese soups) and so does my family. I would usually cook soups 2-3 times a week, either slow-boiled or quick-boiled versions. The Chinese believes that soups, especially herbal ones are nourishing and beneficial to different parts of the body, depending on the types of ingredients and herbs used. To me, it's more of a comfort food; the soups provide soothing warmth to the stomach and body and feels so wholesome.

When I saw the Chinese Heritage: Stocks & Soups class conducted by Chef David Yip offered at Shermay's Cooking School, I registered immediately. So far, I've been relying on cook books and internet recipes to cook soups, but I reckoned it would be beneficial to learn from a master in traditional chinese cuisine.

And I was really glad that I attended the class. Chef David was humorous, and very generous in showing his knowledge and know-hows of the kitchen, throwing bits and pieces of gossipy anecdotes, giving additional reicpes, making the entire 3hr class very enjoyable.

The recipes demo-ed were:
  • Basic meat stock
  • Braised soy sauce chicken
  • Mui Chai pork
  • Basic fish stock
  • Snakehead fish noodle
  • Watercress soup
  • Double-boiled chicken with chinese herbs

The first soup we got to taste was the Double-Boiled Chicken with Chinese Herbs - Shou Wu 首乌. All along I had the misconception that Shou Wu is very bitter and would make the soup taste bitter, but I was so wrong! The soup was very fragrant, sweet and soothing. It was so good that most participants went for seconds, myself included. I am definitely going to cook this!

The second soup that we tasted was the Watercress soup. The watercress soup that I made at home usually tasted flat, either that or it had a strong "grassy" taste. But this was very mild, with a slight tinge of sweetness and subtle taste of watercress. I'm sure my family would welcome this.

Then we got to taste the Braised Soy Sauce Chicken and Mui Chai Pork. They were so yummy and the sauces were perfect with rice! The braised soy sauce chicken was stir fried to perfection with a glistering sheen, the meat was flavourful and so tender. And now I finally know how to cook Mui Chai Pork proper. The one and only time I cooked it, it was disastrous (too salty for consumption). These 2 dishes are also in my to-cook list now.

And the last dish we tried was the Snakehead fish noodle cooked using fish stock. The milky colour you see was not milk but protein "released" from fish (stock) after cooking for sometime. Some hawkers added milk to the sliced fish noodles these days instead of making effort to prepare fish stock. The soup was so yummy, no fishy taste or smell at all. It had a very natural sweetness, rich yet not heavy on the palate. The fish was perfectly cooked as well with very nice texture (slightly QQ but tender and remained intact without breaking).

I must say that I was very impressed with this class and it had been a while since I last enjoyed such an outing (me-time!). Chef David has 2 more classes upcoming but I don't think I can make it for those classes, next time perhaps.

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