My mother-in-law often ask whether I have been boiling soups.. I invariably end up replying.. "uh.. not so lately".. Well, that's not a good reply.. whatever excuses I give.. since my husband and I actually love soups. I really ought to boil them more often.
Some people place a great importance on well-boiled soups for their high nutritional value. Actually, I'm not quite sure about that. Sometimes I wonder if all the nutrition gets killed in the 2 - 3 hours of boiling.
But I love to drink them anyway, so never mind about the nutrition part.
There are lots of cool recipes on the internet already on good soups.. and many quite precise too (3-5 of this, 500g of that, 1.3 liters of that...)
For me, soups have always been rather easy. The hard part is not cooking it but getting the ingredients for it, especially the Chinese herbs.
I typically just do a few things for most of my "well-boiled" soups.
1) Always blanch the meat first before using - so the soup will stay clear and you won't get those brownish/ greyish things (I think is from the blood...?)
2) Always boil for at least 1.5 to 2 hours. So you get nice flavours.
3) Never add too little meat or bones. I did this a few times when I was newly married. I don't quite like meat you see, so I thought oh well, just add enough for 1 person. I invariably ended up getting a strange look and comments like "Is water?"
4) Add salt last. I don't know if it is bad to do so upfront, but I know that the water will reduce after 2 hours, so adding salt last means at least it won't get more salty as you boil it. Just don't forget it (like I do 20% of the time).
Today, I'm cooking Old Cucumber Soup.
I added 1 Old cucumber, a some pork ribs and pork loins, a small handful of red dates and a few dried scallops. Some people use dried octopus instead of scallops and add carrots to make the soup more colourful. But I don't have those today so.. just the basic Old Cucumber Soup for my family tonight.