Sunday, December 5, 2010

napa cabbage clear soup with prawns & vermicelli

When I was in Beijing, China for a year to learn mandarin, I went through a phase of eating lots and lots of napa cabbage, either fresh or in kimchi form. I don't eat as much of them now as I did then, but they are still my favourite vegetable.

So, why do I love this vegetable so much? Napa cabbage, or wombok, has this natural sweetness that I really like. Unlike other cabbages, the napa variety does not smell funny (normal cabbage), nor does it taste bitter (brussels sprout).

It's also a versatile vegetable. You can eat it raw, in a stir fry, or even perhaps steam it. But, by far, my most favourite way to eat it is in a soup. I love the freshness of the vegetable and the lightness of the soup, cooling down the palate.

This is another non-recipe because of how easy it is. Nothing better as a healthy snack or light lunch than sweet wombok in clear chicken soup, with prawn balls and delicate vermicelli.

Napa cabbage clear soup with prawns & vermicelli
by closet domestic bunny

  • 4 leaves of napa cabbage
  • 5 prawns
  • 100g vermicelli
  • 500mL of chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp of all purpose flour
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • salt, white pepper to taste

  1. I made the chicken stock previously and froze it in containers. I'd thaw them whenever required. How I do my chicken broth is by simmering chicken drumsticks with celery, carrots and spring onions. Simple, clean flavours.
  2. Mince the prawns finely, add the 1 tbsp of flour and check the consistency. It should be quite firm and sticky. If not, add another 1 tbsp of flour. Season with a pinch of salt and white pepper.
  3. Use two teaspoons to work the prawn mince into small balls, roll them onto some flour, shake the excess flour.
  4. Cut the cabbage into 4 cm wide pieces.
  5. Soak the vermicelli in cold water.
  6. Bring the stock to the boil, and add the garlic. Boil until garlic is soft.
  7. Drop the prawn balls into the stock slowly. They'll float when they're cooked.
  8. Add the cabbage into the stock, cook for a minute or two. Then add the vermicelli, it only takes a few seconds for my vermicelli to cook. Season the stock with salt and white pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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