Posts Tagged ‘caldo’

Chicken Soup: Filipino Chicken Soup – Sotanghon

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Sotanghon is one of my favorite soups. It’s a Filipino chicken soup that’s perfect anytime I need some brothy comfort food. It’s my husband’s favorite version of chicken soup.

It’s so good, it’s been in my regular soup rotation for several years, thanks to my girl Celestina, who is an amazing cook. When I get an invite for dinner from her, I dare not decline because she continually introduces me to new dishes from her homeland of the Philippines.

The first time I ate sotanghon I was in heaven. . .  It was a cold, Sunday afternoon and this soup was right on.  I remember it distinctively. It was one of those food moments that is permanently etched in my flavor memory – the first time I had this hot, gingery broth that is both citrusy from lime and salty from patis (fish sauce).

To me it’s the broth that makes this soup stand out and the reason why my version is more soupy than most traditional satanghon recipes you’ll find. Many years ago Celestina showed me how to make a quick version using chicken breasts. I’ve adapted it over the years using chicken thighs to make the broth. I also prefer this version because it has more vegetables than most.

A lot of recipes call for removing the ginger in the final stages. I prefer to leave it in, because the flavor gets more intense as the soup sits. Also, as you know from my ginger posts, ginger aides digestion and is a warming spice. Don’t eat it if it’s not your thing.

I usually buy these ingredients at the Asian market. FYI, sotanghon noodles are cellophane noodles made from mung beans; they are also called chinese vermicelli noodles. I like to get the package with bundles wrapped and tied (see photo below).

This recipe makes a huge pot, half it if it’s too much.

Tidbits on Chicken Soup:

  1. Chicken soup has been a remedy for colds, flu and other infirmities since prehistoric times. The hot broth is coveted because it is thin, protein-based, and easier to digest than a full-on solid meal.
  2. Chicken soup was also considered curative because of it’s light broth, which was similar to the human complexion.
  3. Originally and in some places today, old chickens were used to make chicken soup – because it was a good way to use the tough meat and also a way to stretch out a meal.


Cabbage: Beef & Cabbage Soup – Caldo de Res

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Caldo de

There are certain dishes that make me nostalgic for childhood.

You know what I’m talking about. A smell or taste that conjures vivid memories of comfort – when life was more simple and childhood dramas were easily soothed by your momma or daddy’s home-made goodies. Like, a bandage and a kiss or hug, but you could eat it. For me, these cabbage recipes have been just that:  the yeasty smell of my mom’s cabbage burgers baking, warming the house and our tummies on a cold day; and, this beef and cabbage soup from my abuela Juarez.

Grandma Juarez is no longer with us. And, I’m sure, I’m not the only one of the 37 grandkids and 46 great-grandchildren who thinks of her when I eat this soup. I remember several a Sunday afternoon visit and her never-empty pot of soup simmering in her little kitchen. Somehow it managed to feed whomever stopped by that day. That, and tortillas de harina (flour tortillas), but that’s another recipe and story.

Caldo de res is comfort soup, perfect for a dreary day or cool night. Tender bites of roast simmered in a beefy broth with winter vegetables – onion, cabbage, potatoes and carrots. It’s a standard in Mexican households and restaurants, although the ingredients may vary slightly – some adding chayote or zucchini.

The recipe below is adapted from my abuela’s recipe (I use a whole head of cabbage and more veggies, and brown the roast first). It also contains her rumoured “secret” ingredient (which, now, is no longer secret), hierba buena, spearmint used in Mexican teas and cooking. It adds a special, fresh dimension to this soothing broth.

For those who’ve never tried caldo de res, if you like Vietnamese pho, which also has a tasty beef broth, you’ll want to try this soup.

Tidbits on Cabbage:

  1. When shopping for cabbage, look for one with a shiny, crisp exterior. It should also feel solid and compact. Avoid buying those that look wilted, brown or dried-out.
  2. Don’t wash cabbage until you are ready to use it. Cabbage can be rinsed after cutting or chopping, drain well.
  3. Boiling cabbage tenderizes the leaves, causing it to release sugar and the characteristic cabbage aroma.