Background: Seldom do we hear there is a vegetarian soup that is delicious. The reason is most vegetables are not sweet enough to produce a strong sweet flavor. The same goes with sourness.
Challenges: There is a two-step approach. First, pick a choice of ingredients that enhances the soup by way of introduction several kind of sweetness. Second, pick a main vegetable to give it a differentiating taste. In other words, you may choose any vegetable to give a distinctive taste to the same pot of soup.
My brilliant idea: Using too much of one kind of sugar gives a sweet taste. However, the sweetness turns rather bland one or two seconds. Therefore, it is always wise to make use of a combination of several sweet ingredients. Following is a simple example for you to embark on the journey of experimenting with the boiling of delicious vegetarian soups.
Ingredients: Banana (500 grams, a universal and abundant ingredient), salted vegetables (250 grams), old ginger (50 grams), two pieces of dried honey dates, two pieces of salted plum, a piece of thumb-size gula Melaka, two bulbs of garlic, medlar (optional).
Step 1: Peal the banana. Note: Fully ripe banana is the best (It is the sweetest and yet, usually sold at half price. Trim away to over-riped portions).
Step 2: Wash the salted vegetable in several round of tap water. Cut it into smaller pieces.
Step 3: Add the salted plums, dried honey dates (actually, pealed dates soaked in sugar solution and dried), gula Melaka.
Step 4: Add a teaspoon or two of fine salt. Note: Salt is needed to enhance the sweetness of the soup (or in fact, all cooking).
Step 4: Boil for half an hour. Important lesson 1: Do not boil for too long in order to allow the banana and salted vegetable to retain their distinctive flavors. Important lesson 2: Over-boiling gives the resultant banana and salted vegetables a rather bland taste.
Note:Picture above shows essentially a concentrated sweet solution. There are two reasons: One, smaller volume container is needed to keep it in the refrigerator. Two, top up with boiled water to dilute it to a level that is to your liking. Anyway, it needs to be re-boiled (warm up) before consumption.
1) This combination of sweetness from banana, honey dates and gula Melaka produced a sweet base while the salted vegetable and salted plum produced a distinctive taste of sourness.
2) This soup is extremely delicious because it gives you a combination of three distinctive tastes: first, saltiness, then sweetness and finally, sourness.
3) The garlic gives you a distinctive aroma.
4) The banana and salted vegetables retains their distinctive taste and at the same time, had absorbed a considerable amount of sweet of the soup into them.
Note: This soup can beat all kind of soup because it gives you a combination of several different tastes: saltiness (mild during the first second), lingering sweetness (of several kind of sweetness in one), sourness, banana, salted vegetable and aroma of garlic. Summing up, there are five distinctive tastes and one rich aroma in a single pot of soup.
1) A delicious soup must give you multiple distinctive tastes and at the same time, is not too diluted. Most soup boiled with chicken, duck, mutton, beef or seafood, all of them produce a single taste though it may be distinctive. This is a result of over-boiled.
2) The dilution is a matter of personal preferences.
3) Here is new found way of savoring soup, even though it is in diluted form. Dip bread lumps into soup. The moment your tongue presses against the soaked-up bread lump, the soup oozes out in all directions reaching every parts of your entire tongue. This is a new found secret. The way we drink soup almost always passes by our mouth, directly into our throat and down our gullet (esophagus) with little time for our tongue to savor it. No wonder we require a stronger, more concentrated soup to give us a lasting impression to conclude it is a delicious.
1) You can mix-and-match several different kinds of sweet ingredients to produce uniquely different lingering sweetness. Yes, you need to introduce diversity in sweetness for your soup. Otherwise, your loved ones may complain “how come mama always produces the same soup.”
2) Replace the salted vegetables with other vegetables as the main ingredient. You will be surprise how delicious vegetarian soup can be.
Anyway, this is a world-first and yet, highly versatile recipe for making all kinds of (super) delicious vegetarian soups.