Around the Bowl

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


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Tom Yum Gai – Thai Hot and Sour Chicken Soup

Hello foodies of the world! It’s been busy around here but there’s always time to squeeze a good Thai home-made food in. I often cook wonderful Thai curries with coconut milk, but I wanted to try something different that needed to be very easy and quick to put together as well. That’s why Tom Yum came to my mind, it is an aromatic hot and sour soup made with a lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal/ginger, lime juice, fish sauce and chilli base.  There are different variations depending on the protein component: fish, prawn, mixed seafood, pork or chicken (Gai/Kai); which is the one I’m sharing today.

If you cook Thai regularly, you probably already have all the basic ingredients in your kitchen and just have to add any protein source and vegetables of your choice. You can also turn it into a vegetarian dish by adding tofu and into a vegan one by trading the fish sauce for soy sauce.  Tom Yum makes an excellent week day healthy and complete dinner.

Let’s cook!

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Mexican Lime and Chicken Soup – Mayan Perfumes from Yucatán

This is not just another chicken soup, its origin goes back to the Maya civilisation from the Yucatán Peninsula and nowadays represents a typical dish from Mérida cuisine. As lemongrass in Thai cuisine, the lime is the essential and distinctive flavour in this case.

I love it because it’s other of my light and easy soups to fix a quick and yet delicious and complete supper and also because lately I have developed a weakness for sour soups and have discovered that there is a version almost in every culture. Besides, I always have frozen chicken and limes at home (the last ones are more for my gin&tonics than for soups, but it works either ways, haha). I think it must be very good to cure a cold as well.

Typically is served with fried tortilla strips, or some people even use tortilla chips. I skip this part and stick with the healthier option… Would you like to try it?

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Thai Prawn and Lemongrass Soup – Ken Hom recipe

Today I’m sharing a very simple but tasty soup I usually make at home,using one of my favourite recipe books.

Ken Hom. Simple Thai Cookery. 2006. BBC Books.

Ken Hom. Simple Thai Cookery. 2006. BBC Books.

Simple Thai Cookery from Ken Hom (BBC Books) was my first Thai recipe book and I have been cooking with it since I bought it quite a few years ago already. Its recipes are very easy to follow (and to adapt, which is very important to me) and they taste really Thai, most of the times better than Thai restaurant food.

I adapted this recipe by adding vegetables to it, to make it a complete supper instead of a starter.

This is a great option for a healthy, light, quick and delicious supper!

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Avgolemono Chicken Soup – A Greek Egg and Lemon Chicken Soup

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Καλημέρα – Kaliméra! Greek cuisine has a world reputation of being delicious, hearty and the quintessential Mediterranean food. I have always loved it, although I have not mastered at home, but when I finally visited Greece I thoroughly understood why and that all of it was indeed true!

Athens, besides its historical richness, the imposing ruins and its cheerful ambiance also remains in my  top five best places to eat! Well, not only Athens: One day, while visiting the Aegina island, everything was so enjoyable that time passed by in a gorgeous lonely beach and so had the lunch hour, kitchens were already closing. So, Mr. Soup Taster and I started to wander around in the hope to find some gyro spot to grab a bite. Instead, lucky for us, a lovely lady (with a very trained eye for hungry customers) that was seated outside her big home terrace invited us in. As it turned out, it was her own restaurant, and although the kitchen was closed and she was resting outside, she offered to serve us anyway! We could immediately tell that the food was absolutely home-made and she could have been my grand mother would I had been Greek (well, and maybe some years younger, haha); what a delightful experience it was! We had a moussaka and some giant meatballs in tomato sauce that were to die for!

I’ve cooked moussaka before and in summer I usually prepare tzatziki, but that was as far as I went with Greek cooking until today, when I took a step further and prepared this delicious soup: a chicken and rice soup with Avgolemono, a lemon and egg sauce that provides a unique and exquisite texture. This was the first time I made it and it is already among my favourites! This is my quick and easy approach to it, let’s try it?

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Ciorba de Perisoare – Romanian Meatball Sour Soup

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After quite a few Asian recipes, let’s go now to Eastern Europe with this delicious meatball sour soup from Romania.

I haven’t been to Romania yet, but it is definitely on my “to visit” list and it is among one of the most “soupy” countries in the world. Soup is an everyday Romanian dish and there are two kinds: Ciorba that is soured by lemon juice, sauerkraut juice or vinegar and Supa with no souring agent. In both cases there are several recipes to explore, but let’s begin with this very traditional one, shall we?

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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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