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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

#ewew cooks Baby Chinese Spinach Soup (with Eggs & Silverfish)

After all the eating or (in some cases) overeating during the Chinese New Year period, I was looking forward to toning it down with a simple, soothing soup.  I'm not particularly fond of green, leafy vegetables but Chinese spinach (otherwise known as amaranth or "yin choy") is one of those exceptions. 
 
You can make a simple stir-fry with garlic and top it with some crispy dried anchovies ("ikan bilis")...and it would taste great.  Or you can make a quick, delicious soup with 3 types of eggs (chicken, salted and century eggs) like what the restaurants do.
 
But, as much as I enjoyed eating Chinese spinach, I hated the cleaning and preparation of this vegetable...it was a lot of work :(  It had to be rinsed many times because of the abundance of sand trapped within the leaves.  And then, you had to pluck the stalks backwards to discard the fibrous strands.  But that was before I discovered the baby version of this vegetable (or "yin choy mew") and all that extra work of 'cleaning and preparing'....out the door!
 
So, here's my (slightly more decadent) version of Baby Chinese Spinach Soup (with Eggs & Silverfish).
 
Ingredients:
 
A bunch of baby Chinese spinach (anything between 100 - 150g)
A handful of dried anchovies
A handful of dried silverfish
1 egg
I/2 a salted egg
A few wolfberries (or goji berries)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
4 - 5 slices of fresh ginger
 
Preparation:

Here's a closer look at the baby Chinese spinach...you just need to snip away the roots and the preparation is done (you can snip each strand of vegetable into two if you find them too long). 

Make sure you wash your Chinese spinach thoroughly to get rid of the sand trapped between the leaves.

Boil your salted egg and cut into half.  Scoop out the flesh from one half of your salted egg and roughly chop it up.
 
Method:
 
Heat up some oil and deep fry the dried silverfish until golden brown and crispy.  Dish up and set aside. 

Discard the remaining oil but leave enough to sauté your dried anchovies.  Once the anchovies turn slightly golden brown, add in the chopped garlic and sliced ginger.

Add in 400 - 500ml of water, bring to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 7 mins (to bring out the anchovy flavour into the stock).  Season to taste (bearing in mind the saltiness that the salted egg and silverfish will bring to the dish).

Then, throw the Chinese spinach into the stock and crack an egg into it.  [#Tip: Do not stir vigorously (at this point) but just break up the egg gently with your spatula and wait for it to cook through before stirring.  This way, you can minimise the cloudiness of the soup (which is similar to an egg drop soup).  You can omit the egg if you prefer a clear soup.]  At this point, you can strain the soup (for better presentation) and discard the ikan bilis, which have already served its purpose, but I don't bother as the softened ikan bilis can still be eaten.

Next, add the chopped up salted egg and wolfberries.  The Chinese spinach will not take more than 3 mins to soften.  [#Tip: It's also optional if you want to include chopped up century eggs.]

Ladle the Chinese spinach soup into a serving bowl.  Sprinkle the crispy silverfish on top and my Baby Chinese Spinach Soup (with Eggs & Silverfish) is ready to eat.

I like the addition of the crunch and saltiness the silverfish brings to the soup but you're more than welcome to omit it if you're cooking a lazy man's version! *wink wink*

Serves 2 (as a soup) or 1 (as a main meal with some rice)
 


16 comments:

  1. Salted egg in soup? Hmmm...never tried that, usually would use in frying certain kinds of veg. That's called silverfish - I always thought this is also another kind of ikan bilis. I use it for frying rice. Silverfish, I would associate with books. Hehehehehe!!!!

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    1. The salted egg is a very versatile ingredient that can be used in many dishes. It is another kind of ikan bilis and I used to call them baby ikan bilis until I saw it being referred to as dried silverfish (so I just follow suit). And yes, the actual silverfish are those pesky insects that infiltrate books! :D

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  2. There is no lazy man's version of this. A lazy man simply will not deal with (washing) chinese spinach at all hahaha, not even baby spinach!! I bought it and cooked it once, and never again!

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    1. It was the same for me...cooked the 'adult' Chinese spinach once and never again. I think you need to call your cooking a "really lazy man's" version! Haha!!

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  3. I love this soup! And I love bayam, baby and the old one too hah..hah... What is this silverfish? It looks like ikan bilis too. The other silverfish I know is this insect that feeds on old books :D

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you're right...silverfish are insects that feed on books but I've seen it referred to in blogs and menus as dried silverfish...it's a form of ikan bilis too...the hawkers call it "ngan yee chai" in Chinese.

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  4. The soup looks great and I'm surprised that the ingredients seem so simple. Maybe even I could replicate this at home. Thanks for the recipe.

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    1. You're welcome...I hope you try your hand at making this simple but healthy soup.

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  5. love these type of simple dishes, sure is satisfying to drink.

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  6. i love the creamy look of this soup ... i'd personally omit the silverfish for my version and double the eggs, heheh ;D

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    1. Whoa....double the eggs? That's a lot of eggs for one serving ;D

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  7. I would love to drink this soup. When in UK, I cook a lite version of this - just throw the baby chinese spinach with egg into water and that's it! Done!

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    1. Overseas, you have the luxury of buying pre-prepared and pre-washed vegetables...just open the packet and pour it in...so convenient! I can see why you cooked while you were there but not here :D

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    2. Hahaha, you are so smart! Yes, I did use those pre-washed baby spinach but I still rinse it with some water before cooking them. Just don't need to wash them leave by leave and pluck the leaves off the stem only. :-)

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    3. I think I would trust those pre-cleaned vegetables overseas and use them straight from the packet but not the ones here...those I'd probably rinse first before using...hee...hee!

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