First of all, a BIG thank you to everyone that voted and showed me some serious soupy support in the first challenge. I’m really excited to move on in the competition, and none of that would have be possible without your votes! Now on to the second challenge…. that might be better titled, “Am I really making a Malaysian Mutton Soup?”
|Malaysian Mutton Soup – Seriously Soupy|
Project Food Blog – Second Challenge: The Classics
As a part of the second challenge, contestants were asked to tackle a classic dish from another culture that is outside of our comfort zone — while keeping the dish as authentic as possible. I immediately knew that the only challenging/out-of-my-comfort zone food that would make sense for me would be to cook some sort of meat. You see, for the most part, I don’t really eat meat — but sometimes I do. Confused yet? I have been a vegetarian on and off throughout my life; the times that I have eaten meat haven’t been anything too crazy – maybe trying someones dish at a restaurant or in a sandwich. The times that I have I prepared it myself, it was something simple, like a baked chicken or meatballs. Cooking meat is something that doesn’t come naturally to me, so I never really learned how to prepare, cut, or flavor it. BUT this blog isn’t about what I eat. Plain and simple, I want it to be about soups — ranging from meat to vegetable and everything in between (wait, what’s between a meat and vegetable anyway…). You get my point. I want it to be about me trying new soup recipes — specifically those that I never would have tried before. It’s about the experience of trying something new and outside of my comfort zone — much of which can be uncomfortable and unfamiliar. The idea is that, there are all of these amazing ingredients and various types of soups from different cultures that I never would have tried if it wasn’t for Seriously Soupy.
So, not only am I getting outside of my comfort zone for the Food Buzz challenge, but this new recipe is helping me push myself as I learn more about a new soup (mutton) and a new culture (Malaysia) to be more adventurous with Seriously Soupy.
Now, what soup?
Instantly, I thought of lamb for this challenge. Again, I never cooked with it, so it would be 100% new to me – the cooking, flavoring, and how to cut it. I decided to go with Malaysia as my country when I was struck by a mutton soup recipe – that was different to me for a lot of reasons. First, I have never (at least not to my knowledge) eaten nor prepared a Malaysian soup. As I learned more about Malay food, I was excited to try to make a soup that according to MalaysianFood.Net, “comes into its own late at night, when its valued for its restorative qualities.” It was also interesting to learn that Malaysian food is strongly influenced by its neighboring areas and Hindu Indian fare. Typical cuisine includes beef randang (spiced coconut beef), laksa (tangy fish soup), and sup kambing (mutton soup).
|Rack of lamb for the soup|
|Do I get a prize for cutting this?|
Secondly, I would be using new spices and herbs that I have never heard of or cooked with like fenugreek and cardamom pods. I was immediately struck by how aromatic and fragrant these herbs were. As I was cooking, I was shocked by the smells. In this whole year of making soups, my kitchen never smelled this amazing and vibrant. I’ve been so accustomed to using key ingredients and herbs – mainly olive oil, garlic basil, oregano, etc that I have been cooking one way without even realizing it. Even the simple act of smashing the caradaomon pods was invigorating to me as I was cooking in uncharted territory and learning how to use this new flavoring.
|New adventures with spice – caradaomon pods|
|Smashed caradaomon pods|
|Cooking with fenugreek – who knew!|
Another new soup-making skill that I learned was how to make paste. The combination of onions, garlic, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and chili peppers taught me a new way to blend ingredients together and flavor soup. A way to flavor without having chunks of onions and garlic was so simple but I never thought to try. Then, it was time for the lamb. It was strange to chop and dice the meat into small squares – I felt self conscious and awkward, not to mention bothered by the smell. All I kept thinking was, “Am I really doing this?” I wasn’t sure it I didn’t like it or I didn’t like because I didn’t really know what I was doing. As I placed the lamb in the pot, it felt strange to have completed something that I never really would have tried before. In a lot of ways it changed the way I will view soup and, to me, was exciting to try something so foreign and adventurous to me.
|A cool technique for soup – a paste with onions, cinnamon, garlic, bay leaves, and cloves- Seriously Soupy|
As the second challenge ends, I not only know a little bit more about Malaysian food, but I understand a new method of soup preparation, new spices, and now how to cook with meat — an eye-opening experience that allowed feels refreshing and scary at the same time. Refreshing because it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be and scary because I have no more excuses not to try soups that I am not familiar with.
Malaysian Mutton Soup
1 rack of lamb or goat — approximately one pound
2 tablespoons of peanut oil, approx.
4 cups of water
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 ginger root, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cinnamon stick or 4 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of cumin
6 caradaomon pods, smashed
1 teaspoon of fenugreek
1 teaspoon of ground cloves
4 bay leaves
2 shallots, diced
dash of chili powder
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of tomato paste
fresh cilantro, about a handful
salt and pepper, to taste
|Spices for the paste – cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves|
|Garlic for the paste|
|Onion for the paste|
|Ginger for the paste – Seriously Soupy|
1. The paste – Mince the ginger, garlic and cut up the onion and place it in a blender, along with the peppercorns (or pepper), cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves and chili powder. Mash together and place in a blender to make a paste. This step took a little getting used — since dry ingredients were involved but placing my blender on liquefy.
2. Add peanut oil to a wok and let cook on a low flame with cumin, fenugreek, sugar, and the paste. Cut up the shallots and add, stirring periodically.
|Cut up lamb for the soup – Seriously Soupy|
|Lamb cooking in paste|
3. Cut up the lamb into small pieces and add them to pan, along with the bone (to enhance flavors). Cut up the tomatoes and add them, along with the tomato paste, bunch of cilantro, and cinnamon. Smash up the caradamon pods (I used the peanut oil canister) and add them to pot. Let the meat cook on both sides.
|Lamb cooking with water and tomatoes – Seriously Soupy|
4. Add water and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a very low flame and cover. Let the soup cook for one hour.
5. During the hour, taste and add any additional ingredients – I added some more ginger, a bay leaf, cinnamon and salt. Also, stir, stir, stir.
6. Top with cilranto and serve with rice or crusty bread.
7. Breathe – You did it!
Again, thanks to everyone who supported and voted for me in the First Challenge. Let’s continue the soupy momentum. Voting for the Second Challenge starts on September, 27th and ends on September, 30th. Think Soupy for Project Food Blog!
Seriously Soupy Serena
Posted: Saturday, September 25th, 2010 @ 10:20 pm
Categories: Articles, food buzz, international soups, lamb soups, Malaysian Mutton Soup, Malaysian soups, mutton soup recipe, mutton soup recipes, project food buzz, recipes, soup, soup recipes, soups.
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