Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Roasted Chestnut and Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup

Today I made roasted chestnut and another kind Vietnamese soup. Just share them here as my hobby. 

Roasted Chestnut

Very easy. Just buy raw chestnut from grocery, wash them out and cut 2 lines on top of them to make X sign. Be carefully not to cut on your fingers or palm since chestnut shell is pretty hard.
Put chestnuts all on a foil tray or baking pan. Turn on the oven around 425F and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Remember to mix the nut once or twice during the time so they’re well cooked all sides.
You should peel the shell as soon as the nuts are warm enough to hold by hands. Don’t let them cool completely. The skin will stick with the shell and hard to peel when the nuts are cool.

Roasted chestnut
Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup
  •  4 bitter melons (choose big and short melon)
  •  Around 300gr ground turkey
    This is just personal taste.  You can use pork, fish, chicken or even beef if you don't like turkey. 
  •  Onion leaves (chives)
  • A handful of dried Jew's ear (a kind of mushroom, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auricularia_auricula-judae). Can buy dried Jew’s ears in package from Asian groceries.
  • Around 30gr dried vermicelli
  • 1 small onion
  • Black peppers, salt, sugar
  • Minced garlic

  • Red hot peppers
  • Cooked bacon
    (I made it myself. One time I bought bacon to make simmered fish but finally I didn’t use it and let it in the freezer for a year. Therefore, I just use them now. Minced bacon as thin as possible. Fry the bacon in a pan without oil. When the lard from bacon is extracted well into the pan, filter bacon and absorb with paper towel. I just threw the lard away. You can use it to cook if you wish. The lard is very greasy and not good for health. However, still many people love cooking with lard more than oil.)
  • Turmeric
    (Turmeric is good for stomach. That’s why I’m trying to use a bit of it whenever I cook.)

  1. Jew’s ears: soak into a bowl of water around 30 minutes and wash them again to make sure no sand or dirt left. Mince them as small as possible.
  2. Onion: Mice it as small as possible.
  3. Vermicelli: soak into a bowl of water around 15 minutes and drain them. Mince them as small as possible. 
  4. Onion leaves: wash them and split around the entire of 8 leaves. Put these long leaves into a small bowl of water and turn microwave on around 45 seconds to boil them. After being boiled, they will be very tough and can be used to tie bitter melon later. 
  5. Cut the rest into different sizes as you wish, can be around 1cm or 5cm.
  6. Bitter melons: Cut one side and get rid of the inner. Be careful not to cut through another side.
  7. Mix all minced Jew’s ears, minced onion, minced vermicelli, black pepper, salt and sugar together. You can put turmeric and minced hot pepper into the mixture if you want. Let the mixture rest around 30 minutes.
  8. Open bitter melons one by one with care and stuff the mixture inside. I used plastic gloves to avoid the mess getting on my fingers and for better food hygiene.
  9. After stuffing all bitter melons, tie each of them with 2 onion leaves at two half-parts. Cut each bitter melon into two halves. If you want, you can put toothpicks through stuffed bitter melon to fix them better while cooking.
  10. Now, turn on the stove, fry minced garlic into a big pot with a teaspoon of oil until the garlic turns to brown. Pour around 1 liter of water into the pot and boil it at high heat. You can use chicken broth instead of pure water. Flavor the soup with sugar and salt.
  11. When the soup is boiling, gently put all stuffed bitter melons into it. If you cut onion leaves into long sticks, you may want to put them into the pot now. If you cut them small, you can put them in later. 
  12. Keep boiling the soup with low heat around 30 minutes.
  13. Flavor again to make sure the taste is good.
  14. Put cooked bacon, small-cut onion leaves and a little black pepper into the pot and turn of the stove.

Here is what you can get at the end. 
Stuffed bitter melon soup

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