As temperature drops and daylight shortens, I crave for a bowl of steaming, piping hot soup. Growing up in Taiwan, there is always a bowl of soup that accompanies our meals. These days I forgo such luxury in the summer months. But with the first chill in the air, my trusted soup pot is out on the stove.
I was staying at home today, nursing a cold that has been brewing for a couple of days. I felt feverish, fatigue, headachy and especially in need of a bowl of yummy brothy soup that reminds me of home. I looked through our refrigerator–luckily we had just shopped at Mitsuwa this weekend– and somehow I had the foresight to pick up some daikon and winter melon!
Daikon syrup was among Mom’s arsenal of cold remedy. Here I won’t hold back my judgement: it tasted disgusting. She’d always have to wrestle us little ones down to scoop a cup of grated raw daikon mixed with her half-hearted attempt of a sweetener, as she is a firm believer of bitter medicine is better. Nevertheless, our sore throat would inevitably improve, perhaps for fear that Mom would scoop another cupful of that grated daikon down our throat!
Now that I am a grown-up, daikon is no longer my nemesis. Instead of eating it raw, I cube it and put it in soup. I am not sure if the medicinal value is intact in this piping hot soup, but I certainly am not going to eat grated raw daikon if I can help it.
Eats: Winter Daikon Soup
Makes 6 serving
- 1 daikon, cubed
- a quarter of a winter melon, cubed
- 1 large carrot, cubed
- 2 stalks of celery, cubed
- 1 medium sized sweet onion, cubed
- *2 large pork neck bone (this is what I usually use), or 3 bone-in chicken thigh; if you don’t have bone-in meats available and/or short on time like I was today, just use a box of the 32 oz free range organic chicken broth
- Kosher salt
- 1-2 Tsp of olive oil
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- Cube all vegetables in similar size
- *Brown the pork neck bone or bone-in chicken thigh if you are going to make the broth from scratch; if using chicken broth, skip this step
- Heat olive oil in soup pot in medium heat and add onion, then carrots, celery, daikon, in this order; stirring each ingredient for about a minute before adding the next ingredient in.
- Season with Kosher salt
- Add water to cover all the ingredients, or chicken broth
- Add cubed winter melon last, as winter melon tenderizes fast and does not need to be pre-cooked
- Add the rosemary and bay leaves
- Cover the pot and bring to boil
- Once boiled, turn down to low heat and let simmer for about 1.5 hours
- Enjoy the aroma as it dances throughout your kitchen
- Season to taste
- Scoop a big bowl of this yummy goodness into a large bowl
Voila! It takes about 20 minutes hands-on time and less than 2 hours to prepare . Our dinner tonight consisted of this star of a soup, grilled chicken, stir-fried garlic bok choy and wild rice. The whole pot of soup is gone by the end of the meal.
Hope you find this recipe useful. Enjoy!