rss = "An easy template for making savory soup from green leaf vegetables"
date = Date(2022, 9, 11)
tags = ["lyf", "recipe"]
# Green Leaf Soup
At the time of writing, I am sharing a kitchen with around 40 people
from all parts of the world. Very often, someone asks me to share
a recipe from my cuisine, and I usually have to decline, blaming
the lack of fresh ingredients,[^fresh] while I can only afford to shop
for groceries weekly. While most Vietnamese dishes call for fresh meat
(I can only buy refrigerated one), in certain case it doesn't really matter.
One quick dish that could tolerate days-old meat is a soup of green leaf
Back when I was still at home, a meal almost always consists of a soup.
When we are about to finish a bowl of rice, we mix in the soup to wash
all of the gelatinized starch (into our mouth). The soup could be
anything from boiling vegetable broth to [vine spinach] and jute soup
with crab juice. In that range of difficulty, I would rate the following
recipe somewhere in the lower middle.
For a vegetable soup, of course you need a lot of veggie. As much
as you can eat. I would recommend at least two handful per serving[^amount]
of any [Brassica] leafs, e.g. mustard greens, spoon cabbage
or regular cabbage.[^alt] The greener the plant the less starchy it is
and the better it blends with the umami of the meat.
As for the animal product, minced or ground pork is a common choice.
Minced chicken, fish or dried shrimp also works, but IMHO beef, lamb
or goat could overpower the veggie. Meat is not the star of the show
and should be used moderately, 50 grams[^imperial] would be generous.
There is no vegan variation of this dish AFAICT, except for
reducing to just water, leafs and seasoning, but even a child
could cook that without a recipe.
In addition, a shallot is required for searing and [fish sauce] for seasoning.
It is OK-ish to use onion in place of shallot;[^onion] I am not a fan
of using soy sauce in this dish though. Super salt (table salt and MSG 9:1 mix)
is a better substitution in case you can't get your hands on *the* signature
Last but not least, it would not be a soup without water.
A cup should be enough to emerge the cooked veggie.
First, wash and slice the vegetable and throw it in a colander
to let the water rinse of. Next, chop the shallot *thinly*.
If you bought minced or ground meat, you are done preparing.
Otherwise, it's mincing/grinding time, duh!
Turn the stovetop to medium high and put on a stainless steel pan or pot.
Doesn't have to stainless steel, anything smooth without a polymer coating
would do. Pour in a touch of cooking oil (or a tiny spoon of lard)
and start sautéing the shallot.
As soon as the pot is hot enough, immediately add the meat (don't wait
for the shallot to turn golden brown, the slices are thin enough to
be caramelized as the meat is seared). You don't need to stir since
we don't need evenly cook it right now, but don't let it stick together.
Use a spoon or a scraper to break it up and press it down for faster searing.
If you have fish sauce, pour it in after the meat finishes browning
to develop even more flavor for a few seconds. Then, deglaze the pot
using water and bring it to a boil. Throw the leafs into the pot
and get the water boiling again. In case you use salt for seasoning,
now is time to sprinkle it in the soup. Let it cook for another
two or three minutes (radiant or thermal conductive coil could be
switched off and maintain the heat for that duration) and it's ready to serve!
[^fresh]: *Good* Vietnamese food I grow up eating are always from the freshest.
[^amount]: From now on, the amount of each ingredient is listed for one serving.
[^alt]: Outside of the genus, [rau ngót] is awesome if available.
[^imperial]: Or about a dozen bullets in eagle and burger unit.
[^onion]: Not a whole onion, but around the size of your thumb per serving.
[vine spinach]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basella_alba
[fish sauce]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fish_sauce#Vietnam
[rau ngót]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sauropus_androgynus