I don’t really remember when my mum came up with this recipe, but I do remember what it was like having this for the first time. I remember we didn’t have the ingredients to make another soup, and anyway there was a bunch of celery that needed using.
Why that celery was there to start with, I have no idea. Western celery, the thick sort, has never been big in our kitchen; even now we mostly use it just for this, or for stir-fries. But its aroma – clean, fresh, botanic – really does a lot for this soup. Most hot soups are great for chilly days when it’s raining outside; far fewer are suitable when the sun is blazing away. This is one of them. (That it’s full of vegetables is nice too.)
Serves 3 to 5
For the Soup
1 chicken, quartered (neck and feet optional)
1 piece of ginger, about 3cm, peeled
1 bunch celery, cut into whole stalks
5 ripe tomatoes, halved
1 large onion, halved
3 carrots, cut into large chunks
1 can button mushrooms (or use fresh)
3 shiitake mushrooms (optional)
3 big or 5 to 6 small dried scallops (optional)
First you have to cleanse the chicken. Put chicken in cold water, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes. Skim away any scum, then pour the water away. Set the chicken aside.
Next, bring another pot of water to the boil and put chicken and ginger in when boiling. The water should at least cover the chicken. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
If you are using scallops, add them in with the chicken at this point.
Then put in the vegetables – start with carrots, celery and shiitake. Then onions and tomatoes, and finally the canned mushrooms (which are already cooked anyway).
Bring the soup to a boil for 10 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Then turn off the heat and cover, to let it all mingle and rest for another 10 minutes.
Serve with rice and a dip for the chicken if you wish. We normally use soy sauce and sesame oil, which brings out the vegetable flavour, but do what you think best.
Babette is always on the lookout for good recipes. If you have any you want to share or highlight, link in the comments below, or talk to me on Facebook or by email. Thanks!