Editors Note: No recipes are contained in this post, none are linked, Bing is your friend.
Shortly before Christmas of last year (2018) I decided that I would make 20 (new-to-me) soups from around the world as my New Year’s resolution. Today, May 19th, I made the twentieth. Since the soups were to be new-to-me, that precluded many of my personal favorites that I had made previously: Tom Kha, Miso, Egg Drop, Etc…
I can’t vouch for the authenticity of any of the soups that I made, I googled recipes and read and synthesized the ones that sounded best/doable into one that I could make. Following is an annotated list of the soups that I made,
- 12/26/18 Getting a jump on the New Year, I started off with Pozole from Mexico. The version that I made was chicken and hominy. It was a good one to start with as it ended up being one of my favorites. I learned a new technique in boiling dried peppers, in this case ancho, then running them through the food processor; this gave the broth body and loads of flavor.
- 1/4/19 Next up was Sinigang from the Philippines, I don’t remember much other than it was sour ginger.
- 1/9/19 Goulash Soup from Germany, this was a hearty beef stew with lots of paprika of two different kinds. It was good but didn’t seem exotic at all.
- 1/16/19 Bolivian Chili, a tomato based vegetarian soup with chick peas instead of kidney beans and chunks of sweet potato. It was much better than the description would make you think.
- 1/21/19 Arstoppa, a Swedish yellow split pea soup. Subtle in flavor but very good. It didn’t take long to discover that most European soups were similar to the soups I grew up on, makes sense since I am German heritage from mid-West America.
- 1/28/19 Lohikeitto, a Finish Salmon soup with potatoes. Basically a typical potato soup with chunks of salmon. It was very tasty. I should note that we have food allergies in our household, so any dairy was substituted with soy milk and/or coconut milk.
- 2/1/19 Thukpa, a Tibetan noodle soup. This was quite flavorful and made with multiple types of meat, it is on my must make again list.
- 2/4/19 From India, Sambar; a spicy lentil vegetarian soup.
- 2/20/19 Gombaleves, a Hungarian mushroom soup. It was an odd soup but strangely enticing. Made with multiple types of mushrooms, some dried others fresh. The dried mushroom were re-hydrated and ground into the broth. It was a thick hearty vegetarian dish that was a big hit.
- 2/24/19 Laksa from Singapore, a curry like soup made with lots of galangal. Galangal is a rhizome similar to ginger or turmeric. This was the only soup on this list that I had made previously, and along with Tom Kha is one of my favorite soups. I chose to make this one with shrimp.
- 2/27/19 Cambodian Samlar Kako, a flavorful chicken vegetable with lemongrass, turmeric, and galangal. Turned out to be one of my favorites.
- 3/4/19 From Georgia, Lobio bean soup. This one was quite interesting with ground walnuts, pomegranate molasses, fenugreek and cilantro. It was definitely a unique bean soup.
- 3/22/19 Sopa de Peixe from Brazil. A spicy hot fish soup with coconut milk. Definitely one to make again.
- 4/1/19 Vietnamese Canh Cua, while usually made with crab, I chose to use shrimp instead. This is a sour noodle soup which, while tasty, I put in too much noodles and it turned out not as good as it could have.
- 4/10/19 Sopa de Fideo from Mexico, a chicken noodle soup.
- 4/15/19 Cock-a-leekie from Scotland, a chicken and leak soup made with dairy. It was OK, but required more work than it was worth.
- 5/8/19 Yemeni Marak Temani, a beef and potato stew. If there was a single favorite, this was it. First had to make Zhug, a chutney-like condiment made from cilantro. Then a spice blend called hawaij containing coriander, cumin, cardamom, and half a dozen other spices. Very flavorful, very tasty.
- 5/13/19 Irish Shellfish Chowder, basically it is potato soup that has been put through the food processor and then add shellfish. I used shrimp and scallops, it was ok.
- 5/17/19 Italian Kale and Chickpea soup, it has an Italian name but I forgot it. As with many of the European soups, it was a little boring.
- 5/19/19 Chinese Taho, I decided to rap up the 20 soups with a desert soup. This one involved making three things: homemade silky tofu, tapioca, and palm sugar syrup and combining them when serving. It was good and learning to curdle soy milk into tofu was a fun experience.
Overall, making 20 international soups was a fun and learning experience. I learned new cooking techniques that I will be using regularly in the future, it got me out of my comfort zone in using some of the more exotic spices, and I got to eat some really good food. Not sure what my next cooking challenge will be, my partner suggests 20 salads, but that doesn’t seem as fun. I know that I will be making a couple of cold soups this summer as gazpacho is the only one I’ve made.
Since we are getting back into the hot season, I will probably break out the One Pot and get back into experimenting with it. Maybe fermentation will be my next challenge.