Posts Tagged ‘Chicken soup’

The fall/winter season has come with a vengeance right now, after a very warm early fall.  It’s cold and dreary and rainy outside and I happen to love this kind of weather. 

It’s also the perfect weather to work out at Jung Suwon.  It’s not so hot that you sweat just changing your clothes.  In fact you’ll need to work hard to stay warm! 

I have found that soup is perfect for this time of year.  But in addition, if you are not a good cook yet, and you are struggling with your culinary development, start with soup. Trust me, they are easy to make, it’s easy to be creative with soups, and it’s easy to impress people with your soup cooking.

For example, spicy Korean soups are my current favorites to make and eat.  They are healthy, filling, but not fattening perfect foods and so easy to make.  A perfect soup base would be some chicken soup as in the recipe earlier on this blog.  Or the oxtail soup I mentioned.  But, if you don’t happen to have that on hand, or just don’t want to bother, no problem!

Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim explained to me that during the Korean War times soup was always a great thing to make – whatever you had, you put into the soup and were able to feed several people for what otherwise would have been just one ingredient for one person! 

So, here are some basics for some good soup.  Let’s assume you don’t have any broth ready.   Boil some water with ground or chopped garlic (and in my opinion there is no such thing as too much garlic).  If you have some leftover potroast, add a couple of slices, or if you have some leftover broiled chicken, you could add that.  Add whatever vegetables you have on hand and boil.  Add salt and pepper to taste and if you like it spicy like I do, add some red pepper flakes.  You could also add some kimchi to this.

As to what to put into the soup, the sky is the limit.  Try some noodles – either the very thin Japanese noodles (boil them seperately), or Korean glass noodles, or whatever size and shape noodle you like.  Or, add some suchebi, or some ready made mandoo.  Or add a few of each.  You can also drop some eggs into the soup. 

Ok ok, I better stop – I believe this will keep you busy for a while.  But do go ahead and give soup a chance!

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I love making chicken soup.  I also love to eat it!  It is so versatile and you can use it as a base for a whole host of other things.  But let’s talk about the soup first.

Nowadays, I experiment a bit more, and also am not afraid to make the soup if I am lacking an ingredient or two.  I have found that it’s hard to make bad chicken soup.  Somehow it always comes out good.  Of course, I LOVE to make chicken soup and I am sure this happy energy “jumps” right into the soup I make.  It is just like my teacher, Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim, says, that if you are happy and in a good mood, your food comes out tasting good and people will feel good after eating it.  But if you are upset or angry while you are cooking – it’ll show up as indigestion in those that eat that food.  I have to agree with that, from my experience…

While chicken soup is, of course, not a medication, and doesn’t actually cure anything, it does make a lot of people feel better and brings warmth and comfort.  Just the smell alone makes me feel better already….

So, here is my not so secret chicken soup recipe: 

Things I always put into my chicken soup:

  • Chicken (duh!)
  • crushed garlic (I use a lot, for a good sized pot of chicken, about 3 tablespoons or more)
  • One oninon, cut in chunks
  • a couple carrots, peeled and cut in rough chunks
  • a couple parsnips , peeled and cut into chunks
  • a spear or two of celery, cut into chunks
  • if you can get it, some celery root

the next ingredients, well whatever I have on hand, I might throw in…in varying quantities

  • a spoonful or two of grated ginger
  • some fresh sprigs of rosemary
  • some parsley
  • cilantro
  • mushrooms, any kind
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Let this boil at least a couple hours, slow, rolling boil is best.  Another trick I learned from Grandmaster Kim is, to boil out the chicken pieces before using it in the soup, with Kosher salt and crushed garlic – this takes out all the hormones and whatever might be lurking in the chicken…

So there you have it.  Of course, don’t stop there.   There are a bunch of things you can add into this soup, to make it into more of a meal – like little dumplings of all sorts, matzo balls, croutons, the sky is the limit!  I personally love to add suchebi – thin Korean dumplings, and I prefer the ones made from potatoes…mmmmh!  I better head to the kitchen right now and start cooking that chicken!!!

PS:  any chicken parts will do.  I personally like using a whole chicken – gives a more intense flavor, but use whatever you have!

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