Today’s soup is light and refreshing, low calorie, and chock full of fresh vegetables. In other words, it’s a perfect summertime soup! We’re cooking with Bac Ha today… a new ingredient in Crowded Earth Kitchen. I found this at my local Asian grocery store, and was intrigued by it’s appearance. It looks like fat celery on the outside, but looks like a sponge on the inside – how fun!
Bac Ha contains calcium oxalate, and MUST be boiled before eating. Don’t worry, once you boil it, Bac Ha is perfectly safe. Without boiling, Bac Ha is said to cause “intestinal irritation.” I’m, er, not real curious about what that exactly means, and boiled my Bac Ha as instructed! It’s really a delightful vegetable, light tasting and airy, and will surely find it’s way into future soup recipes. The spongy center of this veggie is perfect for soaking up delicious soup broths. Yum!
6 cups chicken stock
1 lime leaf
4 inch piece of lemongrass
1 teaspoon chili paste, such as Nam Prik Pao
2 baby Bok Choi, sliced like celery (stalks AND leaves)
1 cup snow pea pods, sliced lengthwise
1 cup mushrooms, any variety, sliced
Step 1) Add Bac Ha to a pot of boiling (not salted) water. Boil gently for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Step 2) In a separate pot combine chicken stock, lime leaf, lemongrass, and chili paste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
Step 3) Add bok choi and mushrooms; simmer for 5 minutes.
Step 4) Add previously boiled Bac Ha and snow pea pods; simmer for 2 more minutes.
Step 5) Ladle soup into serving bowls. Squeeze juice from 1/2 lime into each bowl. Slice up the squeezed lime half and add to bowl as a garnish. Serve immediately.