Introducing my top favourite chinese soup of all times! I remembered even during my days of pregnancy where I hardly have cravings (more like censors – I could only stomach a few selective dishes), I would occasionally yearn for this. I recalled my mom making this especially for me during my last pregnancy and even though I felt so sick and threw up everything later on; I slurped down a big bowl of it happily. Anyways. Here goes:
- Half a duck, mostly skinned & cut into 4-5 parts
- Half a packet of preserved salted vegetables
- 3 medium-large tomatoes, halved / quartered
- 10 dried mushrooms (rinsed then soaked for 1-2 hours)
- 3 pieces of dried tamarind (Assam)
- 2 salted plums
- 10 white peppercorns
- With the exception of tomatoes, place all the other ingredients into a large pot (I use a cast-iron pot). Fill it with enough water so that all the contents are totally submerged, however, be careful not to put too much water which will result in too bland soup.
- Cook over medium-high flame until boils. After which reduce flame so that it continues to simmer for one and half hour.
- Add in tomatoes. Continue to simmer for half an hour more. Served.
- The reason for adding peppercorn is to remove the ‘wind’ that typically comes with this soup. I add only 10 so that it will be suitable for children’s palate. If you prefer more heat in this soup, you may add more.
- The duck needs to be skinned as ducks are high fat content poultry. Inclusion of skin will result in very ‘jerlat’ soup.
- During my course of trial and error, I noticed that dried mushrooms are critical in order to have that oomph / Unami / depth in the broth. So even though we typically have leftover of mushrooms whereas every drop of the soup has been consumed, I maintain that there must be 10 dried mushrooms in the soup.