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Friday, June 21, 2013

Exotic Oriental Soups - An Ideal Way To Spice Up Winter Dinners

Posted by Chantel Martiromo,  Article By

Oriental soups from the near east and the far east are popular options to their milder western counterparts. They can range from light broths to heavy stew-like soups, which can make a meal in itself. Most oriental soups are served piping hot, which makes them ideal to warm up cold winter nights. In this article you will learn about some popular oriental soups which can spice up your winter meals.
Soups form an important part of the meal in the far east. Each country has its specialty soups using local ingredients and spices to impart a special flavour of its own. extra spicy soups such as the Thai Tom-yam-gung or pretty mild ones like the dashi stock based Japanese soups are within the range of oriental soups.Given below is a list of popular oriental soups which can spice up your everyday winter dinners.
  • Chicken Noodle Soup- A Chinese soup, which is a meal in itself uses chicken, chicken stock, noodles and greens with flavourings such as soy sauce and dry sherry. This could be made in no time with shop bought canned chicken stock and fresh noodles.You could even use dried noodles and chicken stock cubes or powder if you do not have access to fresh noodles and canned stock. Pretty mild when compared to some of the spicier oriental soups.
  • Japanese Dashi stock based soups- Fresh seasonal vegetables, tofu (bean curd), meats and seafood are barely cooked in steaming hot light Dashi stock flavoured with soya sauce and mirin. Sometimes noodles are added to give volume.The light versions are a good starter for oriental themed meals, while the heavier versions with a higher proportion of solids are a meal by themselves.
  • Steamboats- A vessel with a hot coal filled funnel,and a trough surrounding it, which holds boiling stock is the basis for the steamboat, which is popular among many cultures in South East Asia. Thinly sliced meat, tofu and vegetables are dipped into the stock in small wire strainers by the diners and the remaining stock is eaten with noodles at the end of the meal. This is a meal in itself and is not for someone who is in a hurry.
  • Pho-Gha- A Vietnamese well-flavored beef broth with coriander and other spices in which vegetables and thinly sliced beef is cooked, ideal with steaming white rice or noodles as a complete meal.
  • Tom-Yang-Gung-A spicy sour Thai soup of seafood and vegetables,cooked with coconut milk is ideal for dinner with steaming hot rice. The spice comes from tiny chillies and the sourness from lime juice.
  • Laksa-Lemak- A filling soup flavored with spices such as lemon grass, galangal, ginger flowers, Vietnamese mint, chillies and turmeric,it contains seafood, vegetables and noodles. This is thickened with coconut cream and can make a meal in itself. It is popular throughout Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
  • Soto-Ayam- A spicy chicken soup of Indonesian origin,which goes well with steamed rice to make a complete meal. Soto Kambing is the version made with mutton.
  • Lentil soup- Indian lentil soup is quite filling as it contains a puree of red lentils spiced with garlic, ginger, turmeric, cummin and other spices. Comparatively mild to most South East Asian soups, this goes well with toasted Pita bread or Naan bread strips for a light dinner or lunch.
Although preparing many of these soups from scratch can be quite time-consuming,many of the spice mixes are readily available in most stores in the west, which cuts down considerably on the time required for preparation. Coconut milk either in cream or powder form and many of the vegetables are also freely available in Asian stores or even decent super markets.This makes preparation of oriental soups a breeze for the super-busy housewife who needs something different to warm up cold winter nights.
This article provided you with some great oriental soups, which can be prepared at home to spice up winter dinners. You also found some tips on how to make preparation of these soups easier by using ready-made spice mixes and other prepared ingredients. I do hope you will try your hand at some of these great soups for dinner this winter.

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