Monday, December 12, 2005

Gingered Sweet Potato Soup

It's hell not having an appetite. When a friend's husband found out that I was too ill to even think about food, his comment was "Wow, she really IS sick!"

Having lost massive amounts of weight and still with the appetite of a fussy 2-year-old, I decided to brew myself a Chinese style sweet soup a la dessert. I had no appetite during dinner and nothing tasted right. It could be the arsenal of medicines that I've been on that has deadened my usually vibrant tastebuds. Or it could be the phobia left over from my losing battle with the dreaded stomach bug.

Anyway, I thought a clear, sweet dessert might pique my appetite again. And I needed something that would stick to my stomach and perhaps help me keep some weight on. Am so light right now that I swear a brisk breeze almost swept me off my feet last night. At least buy me dinner and a drink first!

The recipe is fairly simple even if the ingredients are not totally traditional. Instead of the usual sweet potatoes with the bright sunrise shade common to the Chinese, I decided to use the Japanese sweet potatoes. With their deep purple (it must be the not-so-closet rocker in me) skin and cream-coloured flesh, there is something a little majestic about these humble spuds. Of course, purple and white being one of my purple colour combination, as evinced by my bed drapes, could have been a factor. Since my taste buds have been having anxiety attacks, I've found myself relying on the visual to tempt my palate again.

I also discovered during a previous encounter with the Japanese sweet potato that these have a smokey taste reminiscent of chestnuts. I love chestnuts. Christmas is carnage for chestnuts. So I peeled 3 Japanese potatoes, wistfully lamenting the loss of that lovely purple skin. But I hardened myself with the thought that the colour would become a dim shade of black upon cooking. Sigh ... all that glistens brightly turns to shite when tested by fire ... life, eh?

The recipe is beyond simple and all it takes is some time. I'd realised too that Japanese sweet potatoes take a bloody long time to cook.

Gingered Sweet Potato Soup
3 Japanese sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped into in 1 inch discs - you can use the normal ones as too
About 3-4cm knob of ginger, peeled and sliced into 5mm slices or so - don't be pedantic
About a fistful of rock sugar - just add to your taste

1. Put your sweet potatoes and ginger slices into a pot of water and boil
2. Keep on boiling
3. G'wan ... keep on boiling
4. Check the doneness of the potatoes by sticking a fork into a fairly large piece. You want it only 3/4 cooked at this point.
5. Add the rock sugar to taste
6. Continue cooking till the potatoes are done. They're done when they look like they will break apart on their own accord when you pierce them with your fork.

It's a strange combination of warm, comfort food with a sweet burst of spice from the ginger. On one hand, it lulls you into this womb-like zone (or what I would imagine it to be) of loving warmth and succor, then you get this impudent kick to the sensations from the ginger. Being an oxymoron myself, of course I loved it.

I am not sure if my appetite will pick up after this but I certainly tasted it and was not sick of it after a couple of mouthfuls - a real boon after weeks of eating for the sack of eating and not really tasting much of anything.

I observed something though. When I used the Japanese sweet potatoes to make porridge the last time, the skin turned dull black upon cooking and convinced me that the lovely colour would not survived the trial by fire. But being someone who likes to experiment, I left a couple of sweet potatoes with their skin on this time just to test this theory. And to my surprise, the skin turned a pale shade of purple instead this time. I think it is due to the method of cooking which will affect the colour of purple (I am so sorry ... I am in a punacious mood today obviously. Apologies.) I might try to roast these potatoes next time to see how the colour turns out.

Anyway, I am rather pleased with the soup as I think the taste is just right. So healthwise, since it helped me feel a lot better, it scores a 9/10. Tastewise, I'll rate it 8.75/10. Again, this validates my belief that the simplest things are really the best things.

Oh, I am trying a new font so please bear with me.

Categories - In Hot Soup, VeggieMight, Sweet Thang


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