Thursday, 5 September 2013

Ah, Sweet Potato Soup Heaven

It took me an entire childhood to like sweet potato soup. I had always found it visually boring and plain in taste; and even though there weren’t that many Chinese desserts to pick from back then, I always shied away from it.

My family, however, took desserts seriously, and seemed to like them all. Often, dessert was planned at the start of the day and prepared in advance. Among Western desserts, grape jello and baked bread pudding were my top choices. If we decided to go Chinese, steamed egg custard; bean curd skin and gingko nuts; and red bean soup would be my favourites.

These days, sweet potato dessert is prepared in a basic, thoughtless manner -- peeled, cubed, and boiled with sugar. The end result offers sweetness and little else; you have a dessert that’s flat in taste. My family’s recipe was far more elaborate, but yields a multi-layered stimulation to the taste buds.

Try it and see it what I mean……..

Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet potato                       350 g
Water                                       litres
Salt                                            ¼ tsp
Rock sugar                             100 g
Brown sugar                         50 g
Lard                                           1 tbsp
Ginger                                      35 g, bashed
Pandan leaves                      6, tied into a knot

1.      Peel potato and cut into cubes. Add salt into 6 cups of water, stir until salt is dissolved. Soak potato in water for 4 hours to remove excess starch. In between the period, change water twice.
2.      Rinse potato and drain completely. Wipe potato with kitchen towel.
3.      Using a claypot, sauté ginger with lard for 2 minutes. Add potato and sauté for another 3 minutes.
4.      Add water and pandan leaves, boil until potato is soft.
5.      Skim off the oil if necessary during boiling.
6.      Serve hot or lukewarm.

This method of sauteing potato helps to prevent the potato from turning mushy. The broth, as well, is packed full of flavour from the ginger, pandan leaves and potato.