Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mom's Recipes: Xup Bát Bửu (Chinese 8 Treasure Soup)

Xup bát bửu (Chinese 8 treasure soup) is a Chinese soup that is supposed to bring good luck, hence the focus on 8 (the Chinese love their number 8!). There are supposed to be 8 key ingredients. I tried to search online and found one recipe using Chinese medicinal ingredients that looks nothing like what my mom does. Maybe this is a modified Vietnamese version, I don't know. A better informed reader can let me know! My mom uses 8 ingredients that friends have recommended since this was not a soup she ate growing up.

Xup Bát Bửu (Chinese 8 Treasure Soup)
This time, my mom had 7 ingredients and counted the chicken broth as an additional one. She suggested bamboo shoots would be a good addition also. Really, you can use whatever ingredient you want, diced about the same size and added in chicken broth.

* oil
* ¼ onion, chopped very small
* shrimp, chopped
* shiitake mushroom, dried or fresh, small diced
* winter melon, small diced
* carrots, small diced
* peas
* pork (we just buy char siu - BBQ Chinese pork)
* tofu, small diced
* chicken broth, ideally Vietnamese flavoured one
* cornstarch, mixed with water
* salt and pepper, to taste

Sauté shrimp with onion in a bit of oil - you can also use precooked shrimp.
Bring the chicken broth to a boil.
Add the uncooked ingredients: winter melon, mushroom, carrots and peas.
Lower the heat and add the remaining ingredients: shrimp, tofu and pork.
Dissolve a bit of cornstarch in water and add to the broth to thicken the soup.
Season to taste.

Shrimp stir fried with onion.

Diced winter melon and mushroom.

Char siu, diced.

Tofu, diced.

I love how colourful this soup is and the different textures.

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