|ENJOY A STEAMING BOWL OF SOUP WITH DUMPLINGS|
I like soup – it may even be my favourite type of food. It's a meal that comes in one dish and to eat it, all I need is a spoon. Sometimes, not even that – just the bowl at my lips, but that's only for when no one's watching.
The ethnic Chinese know all about having soup at almost every meal as an accompaniment to the rice and other dishes. Although they do have some chowder-like soups that often come as the second course in a Chinese banquet, their everyday soups are usually light and clear – perhaps made with root vegetables or flavoured with a bone. The soups are sipped throughout the meal, as one would sip water, and sometimes spooned onto the rice to moisten it.
I don't really like thin soups that serve simply as a side dish. To me, soup is always the meal. I like it chunky and thick or creamy and have never seen the appeal of a light soup on its own. Although, I have to admit that once I had this steaming bowl of beef consomme in Speyside, Scotland, and it was one of the best meals ever. Perhaps the rainy day at the end of November and my frozen fingers and toes also had something to do with how much I savoured that clear soup.
I don't have to ward off that level of cold over here, of course, but a bowl of hot soup makes a comforting meal nonetheless. Here's one with cornmeal dumplings. And it's in a clear-ish broth, which is simply water seasoned with stock powder and bits of vegetables thrown in. Nothing fancy, but oh so comforting.
|Dumplings, you float my boat|
Makes 16-20 dumplings
½ cup plain flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 tbsp cornstarch
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Combine the flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and garlic powder. Pour in the oil and work it into the flour until small crumbs form. Stir in the egg and 2-3 tbsp water (*the water can be replaced with an equal amount of another beaten egg) and mix until a thick rough batter forms. Set aside for 5 minutes.
After resting, the batter will have firmed up a little into a sticky dough. With wet hands, form 16-20 dumplings (remember, they will expand when cooked). Drop them into about 4 cups of boiling stock. The dumplings are cooked when they float, 5-7 minutes.
Other ingredients like shredded chicken or short lengths of cooked vermicelli pasta can be added to the soup, if desired.