Wednesday, May 7, 2008

reducing cost of cooking

these days, with rising prices of many food items, one has to scout for cheaper ingredients to reduce the cost of cooking at home. for fresh food, there is no house brand, so you have to look for cheaper alternatives.

i came across this recipe in hochiak asian food website and decided to give it a try, with slight modifications. whenever i prepare soup at home for two persons, i normally use either the old cucumber of winter melon. each of these items will cost slightly more than a dollar. with white radish, i need to pay half the price only.

however, i have also been advised not to eat too much white radish because it is believed by the chinese that eating it will render western medication ineffective (kwei yeok).

i use the some of the ingredients - white radish, dried dates and cuttlefish but i substitute the dry oysters with dried scallop (one piece only). i also drop a piece of rock sugar into the water, something i do when preparing the other soups.

when the soup starts to boil, i will turn down the fire to let it simmer for about an hour or so. the other day when i prepared winter melon soup, i extended the simmering time and ended up with a dry pot.


pablopabla said...

How did it turn out? Scallops are a good substitute. I usually use Honey Dates rather than rock sugar as I prefer the natural sweetness instead.

Thanks for trying out the recipe :D

yg said...

hi pablopabla,
i used whatever that were available in the house. i didn't have dried oysters, so i used scallop. if i have honey dates, i don't need the rock sugar, right? the soup turned out quite nice; i could taste the white radish but i find that it was not as full-bodied as soups in which i used pork ribs instead of cuttlefish.
thanks for sharing.

pablopabla said...

Yes, I won't add rock sugar if I am already using honey dates. As for the overall taste, you still need pork ribs as the "base". Using cuttlefish alone is insufficient. Adding cuttlefish gives it a more intense flavour.