Shan medicinal vegetable soup

Shan medicinal vegetable soup

By
From
Luke Nguyen's Greater Mekong
Serves
4
Photographer
Stuart Scott

Travelling during monsoon season, we had to endure torrential rain, severe heat and humidity, as well as hotel air-conditioning. Most of us came down with a cold at some stage, so I was always looking out for tasty but medicinal traditional dishes. One morning I woke up feeling under the weather, but as soon as I cooked up this light, subtle and very flavoursome soup I felt a whole lot better. It just felt so good to eat. A lot of the soup’s flavour comes from the dried fermented soya beans used by the local mountain ethnic groups. If you can’t get any, use the preserved bean curd sold in glass jars at your local Asian market. A teaspoon would do the job.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 whole lemongrass stems
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 red chillies, chopped
4 apple eggplants, cut into quarters, see note
12 pea eggplants, see note
1 japanese eggplant, cut into 2 cm slices
1 carrot, cut into 1 cm pieces
1 ridged gourd, cut into 2 cm pieces
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 handful choko leaves
1 handful Šfish mint leaves or pennywort leaves
1 handful sweet basil or water spinach leaves
1 handful sa“fflower leaves or watercress sprigs
4 saw-tooth coriander leaves, sliced
4 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
steamed jasmine rice, to serve

Method

  1. Smash the lemongrass stems with a heavy cleaver, then tie each one in a knot. Place in a saucepan with 1 litre water and bring to the boil.
  2. Pound the salt and chilli together using a mortar and pestle, then add to the boiling water. When the water returns to the boil, add the vegetables and soy sauce and boil for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Now stir in all the leaves except the coriander. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Transfer to individual bowls and garnish with the coriander and ginger. Serve with jasmine rice.

Note

  • Apple eggplants are green or white and about the size of golf balls. Pea eggplants, also called baby Thai eggplants, are green marble-sized eggplants, sold in clusters like grapes. They are used whole and burst when bitten into. You’ll Šfind them both at Asian markets.
Tags:
Greater
Mekong
Luke
Nguyen
Red
Lantern
Vietnam
Vietnamese
Asian
Asia
South
East
Southeast
South-east
SBS
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