Sunday, March 4, 2012

Soup on a Lazy Day

A few days ago was one of those days where I find myself tugged in my blankie and did absolutely nothing. My lack of energy means that the fridge was empty, nothing but frozen mackerel, half an onion and a carrot. I guess that's enough to make a cup of warm soup. Dig deeper into the fridge I uncovered gochujang! (The paste was so dry--from lack of use--that I bended my spoon when I struggled to get a spoonful out)

Star ingredient for a spicy stew: Gochujang
It's a spicy bean baste similar to Japanese miso. Gochujang gives soup a spicy kick, and it is commonly used in Korean beef stews or in tofu soups (soondubu). There is nothing better than a cold night with a cup of spicy soup for TV dinner.

So I sautéed the onion first with garlic. This is my favorite step in cooking, the fragrance that cooked onion and garlic gives out. Yummmmmm

As I added all my ingredients, I started wondering which type of alcohol I should add. Is there a rule to what type of wine you should use? My own rule is if the soup is dark use red wine, light then white. If it's an Asian dish use either Japanese milin or Taiwanese mijiu--both made from rice but the Japanese one have a sweeter taste. Since I am using gochujang, a Korean ingredient, I decided to go with Japanese milin because ern...the two countries are right next to each other so the flavor should be similar?

The only type of wine I would advise NOT use in cooking is cabernet sauvignon! The wine is too strong, and it will end up flavoring the dish too much. The strong flavor is also hard to blend with the other ingredients. I'm not sure if there is a specific wine better for cooking or not. I usually just save a glass or two of wine in the fridge for cooking. What you think?

A tip I learned to remove floating fats and bits of whatever in a soup is to put a sheet of baking paper large enough to cover your pot. The baking sheet does a good job at absorbing oil. After simmering your soup simply remove the baking sheet and you're left with a clear soup.

Here is the recipe if you want to cozy up on your couch too. I love how soups can hold abundant amount of flavor. Feel free to use any type of fish fillet, but probably go with some leftover or cheap fish because the flavor will end up sort of bland in your soup. As for the veggies, add potatoes for a thicker base and more tomatoes for more citric flavor, perhaps some lemon juice to keep it light.

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