Sunday, May 25, 2008

Seaweed and Watercress Soup

I know in most other countries, you can buy frozen shrimps that are already shelled. But in this country, most of the shrimps we get are still in their shells. That means we can choose shrimps that are really fresh. Heads and bodies should still be intact and the shells are still shiny. The meat of the shrimps can be used for a stir-fry dish or any other cooking style you prefer. What do you do with the head and shells of the peeled shrimps? Make a broth!

Saute some ginger in a little oil. Add in the shells and the heads of the shrimps. Sometimes, I mash the heads a little to squeeze more shrimp juice out. Then add water. Let it boil and simmer for around 20 to 30 minutes. Strain and you have a fresh, flavorful shrimp broth! Homemade broths are better than canned ones. For one thing, you are sure there are no additional chemicals that might harm your health. They are also less salty yet more flavorful. Plus, you get to save more money!

For this batch of shrimp broth, I simply added fish tofu. It is available in most Asian groceries. Actually, any kind of firm tofu would do. I also added watercress, one of our family's favorite vegetable. According to my mother-in-law, this is one of the super vegetables, ranked up high with brocolli. I wrote a post before on watercress and even included a legend on how it was discovered. Please click here to read more about it.

I also added seaweed. Here in Manila, there are many kinds of fresh seaweeds available. Most are eaten fresh, with some simple vinegar and chili sauce. They are commonly used as appetizers and meal starters. There are also many kinds of dried seaweeds. So far, I have used the Japanese dried Nori for making sushis. We use Hai Cai (green) and ZiCai (black) for cooking. Many Chinese believe seaweed to have medicinal properties. It is said to lower high blood pressure, it is said to be anti-viral, a cure for colds and cough. For more information on the medicinal properties of the seaweed, please click here. For this dish, I used Zi Cai.

5 C shrimp broth

slices of ginger

3 T minced garlic

1 onion, chopped

1 pack (200 gms) fish Tofu (available in Chinese delis and Asian stores)

a handful of dried seaweed (Zi Cai)

250 gms watercress, washed

salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute the ginger in a little cooking oil. When the ginger turns golden brown, add the garlic and onions. Saute until fragrant but not burnt.

2. Add the shrimp broth. When it boils, add the fish tofu. Let the fish tofu cook for a while. It is cooked when it floats up the surface of the soup and becomes a bit puffed up.

3. Add the seaweed and watercress. Mix the soup for the veggies to go under. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

You do not need a long time to cook the seaweed and the watercress. My family usually prefers the watercress a bit undercooked. The texture is more crunchy that way. and less nutrition is lost that way too.

I almost did not make it to this week's Weekend Herb Blogging event, as I was gone for the most part of this week to join our Church's Junior Camp as a counsellor and a speaker. And of course, I had to prepare my lectures and powerpoints before we left. I'm glad I have an entry to submit to SweetNicks, the host for this week . Weekend Herb Blogging is an event launched by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. Last week's round-ups were done by the Scientist in the Kitchen.


Kalyn Denny said...

It sounds quite delicious. I've made shrimp broth from the shells, but of course mine are from frozen shrimp so probably not nearly as flavorful. And no shrimp head on the ones I get here! Would love to taste your soup.

Taste Buddies said...

Yum! I also make shrimp broth with the heads when I make tom yum goong. Your soup looks delicious!

Deborah Dowd said...

This looks like a great soup! I usually buy my shrimp without heads, but your post makes me think twice!

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