Bring the flavors of Asia to your holiday parties with these 10 lovely soups that will surely warm you up on chilly days and nights.
Soup? Is that a little too “everyday” for a holiday party? Not if you want to set the tone for the meal. Look at it as a sneak peak into the rest of the dishes that you’re serving.
Am I referring to themed meals like all-Japanese or all-Chinese? Well, that’s the less complicated path. But creating a meal with that pulled-together look where every dish either complements the others or provides an interesting contrast doesn’t mean you have to choose dishes from just one cuisine.
While I understand that what’s good with what is largely a culture thing (and that means subjective to say the least), I go with one very important rule. If the main dish is not so heavy, I serve it with a hearty soup or salad. If the main dish is something that will take hours and hours to digest, then, a light soup or salad accompanies it.
It’s about balance. If you think that a dish should have a balance of flavors, then, a meal should have the same characteristic too. And not just balance in flavors but also in texture and volume.
The ten soups in the list are all on the hearty side.
In Mexican cuisine, there is a dish called albondigas. It is quite probable that the Filipino almondigas is an adaptation of the Mexican albondigas. This is an old recipe from my grandmother. My only contribution is to add grated carrots to the meatballs to add flavor and color. Get the recipe!
Thick and spicy, the heat of this fish head soup with coconut cream comes from garlic, ginger and chilies. Get the recipe!
Tom yum is sour and spicy, but more aromatic and with fresher undertones than Filipino sinigang due to the lemongrass stalks and kaffir lime leaves that are added to the broth during cooking. Get the recipe!
The best Chinese soup I’ve ever had was at Lugang Cafe. Hands down. The best, ever. It’s even better than Din Tai Fung’s hot and sour soup including the one served at its Taipei restaurant. That’s my peg. The heat comes from a combination of ginger and chilies. The sourness is provided by black vinegar. Get the recipe!
The salmon belly I used for my sinigang was bought from the local market. Most fish mongers sell salmon belly already pre-cut into 1 to 2-inch wide strips. Too narrow for my taste. I found one seller who was willing to sell unsliced salmon belly. I asked for half a kilo with a request to please scrape off the scales. When I got home, I cut the salmon belly into squares to cook my sinigang na tiyan ng salmon. Get the recipe!
The fish version of tom kha gai, Thai fish coconut milk soup, or tom kha pla, is similarly cooked and seasoned with lemongrass, galangal, chilies, kaffir lime leaves and fish sauce. Get the recipe!
Sticky, gelatinous and melt-in-the mouth tender, this beef tendon soup was in the slow cooker for eight hours. The wait was well worth it. The soup was so good it needed minimal garnish for proper appreciation. Get the recipe!
What is chicken binakol? It tastes like tinola but it isn’t exactly tinola. The similarity is due mainly to the inclusion of ginger among the ingredients. Chicken binakol is sweeter because the broth is made with coconut juice. Get the recipe!
Ten minutes to prepare and 12 minutes to cook, this corn and mushroom egg drop soup is colorful, rich in texture and packed with flavor. Get the recipe!