Chinese Tomato Soup
The secret ingredient in this soup is apple sauce. This soup is sold in many Chinese restaurants in the Netherlands. The recipe is very popular with children (no doubt because of the apple sauce), and very simple to make. How simple exactly depends on the stock you use. It is not necessary to make Chinese stock for this recipe, but it does taste good. You can also use "western" home made chicken stock, or even stock from a pot or cube. However: the better the stock, the better the soup. For 1 litre/4 cups soup.
1 litre (4 cups/2 pints) chicken stock or Chinese stock
300 gram (1 1/4 cup) tomato purée (a lot, I know)
250 gram (1/2 pound) chicken breast or leftover chicken meat from making stock
1 tsp. powdered ginger
1 Tbsp. Chinese soy sauce(thicker than Japanese soy sauce, more salty than Indonesian soy sauce)
2 to 3 Tbsp. sugar
75 to 100 gram (up to 1/2 cup) thick apple sauce
2 tsp. cornflour (cornstarch, maizena)
75 gram (2 1/2 ounces) thin Chinese rice noodles (mihoen) or bean treads (glass noodles, so-oen)
a few green ringlets of spring onion
optional: pinch of ve-tsin (MSG)
Preparation in advance
Bring the stock to the boil, add chicken breast, simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes on very low fire. Remove meat from the pan, cut it in small pieces. If you use leftover chicken meat from making stock, just cut the meat in smal pieces.
Prepare the rice noodles or bean noodles (look at the package for instructions, these vary). Then rinse the noodles under cold running water and let them drain well. Rice noodles turn opaque white, bean noodles remain transparent.
Make a paste of powdered ginger, corn flour and a tablespoon cold water.
Add to stock: tomato purée, soy sauce, sugar, apple sauce. Bring to the boil, stir until everything has blended. When the soup is boiling, add the ginger/cornflour paste. Keep stirring until the soup has thickened. Add the chicken meat, and simmer for a few minutes.
Up to this moment you can prepare the soup in advance if you like, even a whole day in advance. But if you prepare the soup more than an hour or two before serving, I advise to postpone preparing the noodles until just before serving, or they'll dry too much.
If you are serving this soup to children, it may be a good idea to cut the noodles before serving.
Bring the soup to the boil again. Divide the rice noodles over the soup bowls, pour the warm soup over them, sprinkle the ringlets of spring onions on top. Serve at once.
All descriptions of ingredients
Ve-tsin, aji-nomoto or MSG (monosodium glutamate) - A flavour-enhancer that is used in Asia, but also in the food-processing industry. Some people are allergic to it. Use it sparingly, or better is not to use it at all.
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