In winter, when temperatures plummet and howling winds rattle the windows, you know it’s time for a bowl of soup that can warm your soul and nourish your body. During this period, our colleagues take soup mugs to work. As we swap stories and recipes over many bowls of soup, it’s time to highlight some of our favourite winter soups from around the world.
Chinese Ginseng Chicken Soup
Ginseng is a much loved product in Asia and it is no surprise that Korea and China each has its own version. Our colleague VV grew up in Malaysia and she prefers the Chinese version which has fewer ingredients than the Korean counterpart. Just like how her mom would make, she puts American ginseng, red dates aka jujube, goji aka wolfberries (all bought from the Chinatown), chicken, water and a pinch of salt into a big pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours. With just a sip of the soup you will immediate get the distinctive earthy sweetness, or some call it the earthy bitterness, of ginseng. You then feel the warmth slowly rising from your stomach and extending to your limps. It’s the ‘qi’ flowing inside you.
Kharcho (Georgian Lamb and Rice soup)
If you want something hearty after a day out skiing or shovelling snow, then Kharcho is a wise choice. Made with meat, rice, tklapi (cherry plum puree), chopped roasted walnuts and spices, like saffron and paprika; and if you let this soup simmer for good couple hours, you will be rewarded with chunky soup that packs a punch. Tklapi gives you a pleasant note of sourness which makes the soup taste almost exotic. If you can’t find Tklapi, a suitable substitute is tamarind paste.
Chupe de Camarones (Peruvian Shrimp Chowder)
Those of us who live in North America are familiar with corn chowder and clam chowder. But why haven’t we thought of using shrimp to make chowder is somewhat puzzling, so we should take our hat off to the Peruvians. The base of this soup is prepared with shrimp heads and shells, which is then pureed and strained to get the full flavour. While the broth is simmering, Peruvians sauté onions and garlic, two types of chili paste (aji panca and aji amarillo), before adding rice, potatoes, corn, evaporated milk and cream into the soup base. This really is a must try for seafood lovers.
Detox Soups from Giada De Laurentiis and Dr Oz
Living through the cold winter doesn’t mean we can’t eat healthy – and when it comes to healthy eating we look to the Foodnetwork.com’s gorgeous star, Giada De Laurentiis and her famous Detox Soup; then comparing it with US’s TV personality Dr Oz’s New Green Detox Soup. Giada’s one is made with chicken, lemongrass, ginger, shallot and the taste is very clean; while Dr Oz’s soup is vegan-friendly, made with broccoli, spinach leaves, parsnips, celery and protein powder, it is creamy, filling and comforting. Both are winners in our book.
Rassolnik (Russian Kidney Pickle Soup)
Winter is also a festive season – we have Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day – festivities that see us indulge in eating and drinking. So we set out to look for a soup that can cure a hangover and we found it in Russia. Apparently pickle juice contains electrolytes that help to restore our body after a night of heavy drinking and probiotics that our gut needs – and this Russian kidney pickle soup is surprisingly delicious. The pickle flavour is subtle and the lamb kidneys are unexpectedly mild. If you don’t like kidneys, substitute it with a filet of beef. Be warned though, this soup really is tasty and can get you hooked.