Friday, April 14, 2017

Ling Ngau Tong (Lotus Root and Nut Soup) #SoupSwappers


This year, Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm kicked off her new group: Soup Saturday Swappers. And she is also hosting our April theme which is Root Vegetables.

When I started thinking about root vegetables, all the usual suspects popped into my mind. I considered a variation of my Roasted Parsnip Soup Topped with Candied Bacon; I really thought about redoing my Roasted Parsnip-White Chocolate Soup since that was done early in my blogging life and definitely needs to be rewritten!

I have always been enamored with the color of Roasted Beet Soup. And, while the root itself is unattractive, I love the creaminess of celery root in a bowl full of Cream of Celeriac Soup.

So, with all those favorites in mind, I decided to go a completely different direction. No surprise there, right? It's all about the adventure! I wanted to track down lotus root and make my version of a traditional Chinese Soup, Ling Ngau Tong which is a lotus root and peanut soup.


After some back and forth with friends who might actually have sourced lotus root before, I headed to an Asian market in a neighboring city. 

Shiho had messaged me a photo of what a fresh lotus root should look like - white and firm. So, when I saw a box of faded lotus root - and an elderly Asian man pawing through those remnants - my heart sank. But I decided to ask if they had any more. The man with the box cutter on his belt assured me that he had more. No problem. So, he carried out a fresh box and placed it on the table next to me. I was carefully unwrapping one of the roots when the elderly man ran right over to my box and started shoving my hands out of the way.

"Excuse me!" I raised my voice. "I asked for these, you can wait your turn," I ordered, swatting his hands out of my way. I couldn't believe I was actually fighting over a root. But there I was. He snorted at me impatiently until I informed him that I was only going to take two.

Still, I took my sweet time looking for the perfect specimens and, truth be told, I wanted to make him wait. When I went home with my lotus roots, I shared a photo with Shiho. She told me that I picked some good ones. Nice. Traditionally this soup is made with peanuts; I used almonds. Also, several recipes I read called for red dates; I used goji berries.

Ling Ngau Tong 
Lotus Root and Nut Soup
Serves 10 to 12

I made this soup with my battled for fresh lotus root and some pork from my nano share of a Berkshire pig that I had purchased from Wayne's Fine Swine. I love getting my foods from local purveyors!

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds pork, cut into cubes
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 pound fresh lotus root
  • 2 C raw whole almonds
  • 1 C dried goji berries
  • 4 slices fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and pressed
  • water
  • 5 to 6 C stock (you can use chicken or beef stock)
  • salt, to taste
  • sesame oil for serving, optional

Procedure
Place almonds and goji berries in a medium bowl and bring a pot of water to boil. Pour the boiling water over the almonds and berries and let soak for at least 30 minutes. Drain and set the almonds and goji berries aside. Peel and cut the lotus root into thick slices and place in a bowl of cold water. They will oxidize if left on the cutting board.

In a large souppot or Dutch oven, melt butter in oil. Add the pork to the pot, letting the cubes brown on all sides. Add the lotus root, almonds, berries, ginger, and garlic to the pot. Add in the stock, making sure that the meat is completely covered. If it needs more liquid, add water until the meat is submerged by at least an inch of water.

Bring the liquid to a boil. Then, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Let braise for at least 3 hours until the meat is very tender. Season to taste with salt. Ladle into individual bowls and drizzle with sesame oil if using.


7 comments:

  1. A great story of a well fought, hard won battle LOL....

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  2. That is a great story. It's always an adventure! I've seen that with bean sprouts, with a woman picking up and putting down each individual one. Oy! Glad you won!

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  3. I can just see you swatting the old guy's hands away! Good for you. What an adventure...I would have had no idea what they looked like nor how to select the best one. I have never heard of lotus root soup...I am curious what the flavor of a lotus root is similar to...It may be a unusual selection but it sounds good!

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  4. Wow, some people, good on you to stand up for yourself on the roots. It's been years since I've had lotus root, I used to love it, but haven't seen it in a long time. And the soup sounds wonderful.

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  5. Lotus roots are packed with nutrition! What a fabulous way to use them! It sounds fabulous. P~

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  6. I have never had lotus roots but I have seen slices of them frozen at a few larger grocery stores.
    Do you think they would work?

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  7. I can't even imagine what this soup must taste like, but it sure does look welcoming and intriguing! I'll have to keep my eye out for lotus root!

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