Around the Bowl

Soups of the world – Recipes from around the globe & some creations of my own


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Shchi remastered (with Middle-Eastern Meatballs)

I can´t believe that 10 months have gone away since I started this blog! 60 posts later, it’s time to start revisiting some of my favourite recipes, to get creative and add a different twist. Shchi, the classic Russian cabbage soup was one of my first posts and definitely among my favourites! Now that autumn is finally here, some days ago I was really feeling like eating Shchi again, I haven’t cooked it since the first post! But this time, I added some Middle-Eastern style meatballs, and the fusion turned out amazingly well!

I slightly varied the Shchi recipe and the meatballs are of my creation, however you’ll notice a clear Middle-Esatern influence: I prepared them with bulgur, inspired by the traditional Kebbeh, and it just gave them the perfect texture! I think I’ll always use bulgur from now on instead of bread crumbs or flour. A pinch of cinnamon, among other typical spices, is a little secret I’ve been applying to my meatballs since I first saw the delightful movie “A Touch of Spice” (2003), which I highly recommend by the way, every foodie should watch it!

Would you like to try it? It’s a great healthy complete meal to warm up your evenings! and I made Yakisoba with the remaining cabbage, yummy!

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Sukiyaki – Japanese Beef Nabemono (Hot Pot)

At home we are big fans of Japanese culture, including food, of course. A couple of years ago while celebrating a birthday in a Japanese restaurant in our area, we discovered Sukiyaki and immediately knew we were going to try it at home and so we did! Is really very easy to prepare once you got the right ingredients.

Sukiyaki is basically a sauce simmered in a hot-pot at the table centre where all the ingredients (beef, tofu, mushrooms and vegetables) are slowly cooked while eating.  Udon are added at the end to soak the rest of the broth.

My approach to it is slightly simplified and I served everything already cooked in a big flat pot at the centre of the table, or sometimes in separates bowls, including the udon. I also add stock to the sauce because we like ours “soupy”

The sauce ingredients are the same you would use in a basic udon soup, check out the recipe Francesca, from SicilySelfies kindly gave me the other day, you’ll find it at the Vietnamese Pho Chay post comments.

Prepare those chopsticks and let’s dig in!

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Shchi- Cabbage Sour Soup from Russia with Love

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Cabbage, not everybody’s cup of tea. But I like it! I can think of at least three dishes cabbage-based that I love: sauerkraut, Middle Eastern stuffed cabbage rolls and cocido, a spanish kind of soup with cabbage among its main ingredients. And more simply, I like it shredded  really thin and added raw to my green salads.

But most of all, I’ve always loved sauerkraut; I have first discovered it as a very young girl in an annual fundraising festival held by the German Evangelic  Church at the corner of my parents home. I recall the lovely German ladies that, dressed in traditional suits, were serving delicious typical cakes in the afternoon and sauerkraut in the evening and I just could not get enough! Definitely  a lovely memory. Many years later, entering my thirties, I have enjoyed sauerkraut in Prague, as a topping for the best street hotdog I have ever tried! or as a side dish with meat and sausages, so yummy!  Also, a couple of years ago, in a road trip along North Eastern France – Alsace and Lorraine -I have tried the Choucroute Alsacienne, a great variation prepared with various kinds of meat and sausages, just another success! I even cook this recipe at home sometimes (with bought sauerkraut).

CIMG8691Besides, cabbage is in season right now and I had some waiting to be transformed in something delicious in my fridge. Therefore, Shchi, a very traditional Russian cabbage soup seemed like the right choice for today. Great option for a comforting winter supper.

Being such an old and popular dish in Russia, there are many variations to Shchi: it can be prepared with or without meat, with fresh cabbage only, or with sauerkraut and varying the rest of the vegetables, being cabbage the constant one.

After some research; I came out with this approach I hope you will enjoy. I took the liberty of simplifying the cooking method, that originally splits the cooking of the cabbage and the rest of the veggies to later combine them, by doing it consecutively in the same pot. In order to reduce cooking time and to ensure that the cabbage will be tender I used the pressure cooker*, but you may also cook the soup in a regular pot. Let’s go and prepare it!

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