Category: Soup

Ginataang Kalabasa Soup (Squash in Coconut Cream Soup)

Ginataang kalabasa Soup by Arnold Gamboa

Ginataang Kalabasa Soup (Squash in Coconut Cream Soup)


1 tsp mushroom powder or 1 packet cup-a-soup mushroom soup powder is also a suitable. You can also use 1 cup of fresh finely sliced mushroom  if you have a food processor at hand
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp salt
1/2 squash or pumpkin
2 cups water
4 cups coconut milk

Method of Preparation

Peel and chop the squash or pumpkin.

Bring the water into a boil using a big casserole pan.

Add the squash and leave to boil for at least 20 minutes or until softened.

Take the squash out and put into a big bowl (do not discard the water, just leave it in the casserole pan). Mash the squash  by hand until smooth.  Or put the softened squash as well as the finely sliced mushroom into a food processor and blitz until they are finely smooth.

Pour the squash back into the casserole pan, mix with the water and bring back into a boil.

Stir in  the coconut milk.

Add the mushroom powder (if fresh sliced mushroom was not used)

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cover the casserole pan and simmer for 5 minutes.

It is ready to serve.  Enjoy

Steak & Potato Soup

Sreak Potato Soup, photo by JMorton

Steak & Potato Soup

This soup is a complete meal in itself.  It has got everything going for it.  It is just right for the in between seasons of winter and spring – warming and appetising, perfect meal right after doing some garden works. 🙂


Melt the butter with the oil in a large casserole pan over medium heat.  Gently stir until the butter had liquified completely.

Stir in the steak cubes and onion. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the meat and onions are brown.

Meanwhile, mix together the flour, paprika, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle this flour mixture over the browning meat.  

Pour in the beef broth and bring to a boil.

Add the bay leaf and mixed herb.  Stir throughly.

Reduce the heat to low, cover the casserole pan and leave to simmer for 45-50 minutes or until the beef is tender.  Ensure to stir occasionally.

Drop in the potatoes, carrots and celery.  Stir in the tomato paste.

Continue cooking for a further half an hour under low-medium heat.

Check the adjust the seasoning by adding more salt and pepper if necessary.

Fish out the bay leaf and discard.

Serve the soup steaming hot with some crusty bread.


Sinigang Na Manok (Chicken Sinigang)

Chicken Sinigang, Photo by Mae Mercado-Sanguer

Sinigang Na Manok (Chicken Sinigang)

This is a comfort food and ‘getting-over-a-flu’ kind’ of dish.  It has that lovely sour taste that would seduce your uninterested palate! LOL


2lbs chicken thighs and chicken legs (or one whole chicken cut into serving pieces)

1-2 packets of Knorr or Mama Sita Sinigang Mix (or use 2 cups of tamarind tops/young leaves and flowers)

1/2 lb strings beans (green beans), cut into 1½ inches pieces

2 medium size aubergines (eggplants)

1 cup radish (daikon)  sliced

5 long green chilli

1½ tbsp fish sauce (patis)

1 cup tomatoes, quartered

1 large onion, sliced roughly

10-12 cups water

Method of Preparation:

  1. Using a large casserole pan, heat the water up.  If using tamarind leaves and flowers tie and wrap them using banana leaves muslin cloth/gauze and boil.
  2. Add the chicken pieces, onions and tomatoes.
  3. If using the more convenient sinigang mix, which is readily available in most Oriental supermarket, pour it in the casserole.  Mix it in.  If it is not sour enough according to your taste, add half or another packet of the sinigang mix. Simmer for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Season with the fish sauce.
  5. Add the string beans, aubergines, radish and green chilli.
  6. Cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  7. Finally check and adjust the seasoning.

Enjoy with freshly boiled rice.


Sausage Balls Minestrone

sausagemeat balls

sausage meat balls

Sausage Balls Minestrone

Chill in the air, some hearty soup can only be a good thing, especially when they are scrumptiously delicious.

We have got an Italian recipe that is a total winner to whet the appetite, perfect for the autumn weather.


350g pork sausage meat

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 celery sticks, topped and tailed and finely chopped

1 medium fennel bulb, finely chopped

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

2 ½ pints chicken stock (4 chicken cubes dissolved in hot water)

175g macaroni

200g peas

a bunch of parley, roughly chopped

salt & pepper to taste

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve


Shaped the sausage meat into balls.

Heat a large frying pan, add the oil and and fry the sausage balls until golden brown on all sides.

Remove the sausage balls from the pan and set aside.

Using the same pan over a medium heat, fry the onion, celery, fennel and carrot for 10 minutes of until they’ve softened.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Add the macaroni and cook until al dente.

Return the sausage balls to the pan and simmer for at least 5 minutes.

Add the peas.

Season with salt and pepper according to taste.

Serve topped with parley and a generous dusting of freshly grated  Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy with some crusty bread.



Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup. photo by JMorton

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup. photo by JMorton

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Autumn or fall is just around the corner.  The air is definitely chillier, the evening shorter.

Warming soups are now much needed and appreciated more if they are really tasty.

And we have just the business here, spicy sweet potato soup is a delicious one dish meal.  It is easy to make and really filling and warming, a true taste of home.

I love sweet potato or camote as a child.  But I have come to love them all over again after watching Korean and Japanese dramas where boiled sweet potatoes were often shared and enjoyed by lovers and within families.  So sweet! 🙂

Anyway, for the recipe:


1½ tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped finely

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

2 red bell peppers, deseeded and diced

250g sweet potato, peeled and diced

350g tomatoes, chopped (2 cans plum tomatoes, drained and chopped)

¼ tsp of turmeric powder

¼ tsp chilli powder

½ tsp ground cumin

½  tsp caster sugar

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1½ pints vegetable stock or 3 bouillon cubes dissolved in 1.5 pints of hot water

Method of preparation:

Using a large saucepan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the garlic and onion then gently cook until softened and translucent. This may take about 3 – 5 minutes over moderate heat. Do not brown or burn. 🙂

Put in the the red peppers, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.  Also tip in the turmeric powder, chilli powder and cumin. Cook for 5 minutes until vegetables start to soften.

Turn up the heat and pour in the vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat,  cover the saucepan and leave to simmer for up to half an hour or until the vegetables are completely tender.

Remove from heat and allow the soup to cool down.

It can then be pureed using a blender or run into a sieve, leaving off all solids such as tomato rinds.

Return the pureed soup to the pan and heat up.

Serve by adding a tiny pinch of salt and ground black pepper as well as a squirt of olive oil.

Enjoy with some buttered bread!


English Onion Soup

French Onion Soup, photo by JMorton

English Onion Soup, photo by JMorton

This onion soup recipe is an English version, and pretty similar to the traditional French Onion Soup.  The recipe below uses chicken stocks rather than beef stock.  It also uses sage for extra flavouring.

English Onion Soup


50g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1kg onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp sugar
4 garlic clove, chopped
2 tbsp plain flour
250ml dry white wine
1½ tbsp sages, chopped
1.3l hot chicken stock (6 chicken oxo cubes, dissolved in hot water)

Method of Preparation:

Melt the butter with the oil in a large heavy-based pan.

Add the onions and fry over gentle heat for 10 mins or until soft.

Sprinkle the sugar over and cook for a further 20 minute, stirring frequently, until caramelised.

(Ensure that the onions are juicy rather than burnt!)

Add the garlic for the final few mins of the onions’ cooking time, then sprinkle in the flour and stir well.

Increase the heat and keep stirring as you gradually add the wine, followed by the hot stock.

Cover and simmer for 15-20 mins.

Really delicious served with toasted cheese baguette.


Beef Lauya Recipe

~Beef Lauya, Photo by JMorton

~Beef Lauya, Photo by JMorton

~Beef Lauya, Photo by JMorton

~Beef Lauya, Photo by JMorton

Beef Lauya Recipe

Lauya is an Ilocano (people from Northern Luzon in the Philippines) dish, which is much loved by our family.  It was a special treat as meat was rather a seldom ingredient to our family meals whilst still leaving in Marag, Luna, Kalinga-Apayao in the 70s.

We kept pigs, geese, ducks and chicken, but they were more like well loved pets rather than the ‘fatted calf’ for feasting or everyday food.

There were no markets either.  You planted what you would eat or go foraging in the forest, go fishing in the nearest river. lake or lagoon for subsistence.

We lived on a healthier diet of fish, shrimp, prawns, bisukol (escargot) and vegetables though.  Although once in a while, my father would come home with wild boar or wild deer after going hunting at night with his brothers or friends.  It was a tradition or accepted etiquette to share the meat to your friends, neighbours and relatives and therefore, not a great deal was left for the family; I supposed it was only right as there was no working refrigeration then.  To preserve the meat, it had to be salted and dried like tapas.  It can then be stored and then fried when needed.  I did not really like them much as they were so tough, I might as well be trying to gnaw a leather shoe.

What I did enjoy is a dish called lauya.  The meat, which usually come from wild boar (baboy damo in Tagalog language or alingo in Ilocano) was so delicious.  The meat is boiled for at least a couple of hours until the meat is coming of the bones and the sweet, fat marrows can be sucked out from the bones.  This brings back childhood memory.

The lauya process of cooking can be applied to most meat.  With spices, you can sweat out flu and cold.

Lauya is a good recipe for cheaper cuts of beef.

Recipe follows below:

3 lbs beef shank (bone-in), cut into serving pieces
4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and crushed (the amount is according to your taste; I love spicy lauya so I tend to add sliced ginger from a big chunk)
1tsp whole black peppers
1 small green cabbage, halved and cored
1 bok choy
Fish sauce or salt to taste


Put beef in a big pot and cover with water.  Add salt and bring to a boil over high heat.

Skim off the scum on the surface.

Add the ginger, garlic, onion and whole peppercorns (black pepper).

Reduce the heat and cover the pot and leave to simmer for at least two hours or until the meat is tender. Check on the meat once in a while to ensure that it has not boiled dry. Add more water if necessary. Remember this dish is soupy, the soup will be so heavenly.

Increase the heat a little and then add the potatoes or any other vegetable you fancy, even plantain; cook for 10 minutes.

Add cabbage and bok choy or pechay and cook for another 5 minutes.

Season with more salt or by adding fish sauce, if using.

Serve with freshly boiled rice or if several types of vegetables, like carrots, sweet potatoes, and yams have been added, this soup can be a one dish meal.

If eating it with boiled rice, a little dish of fish sauce generously drizzled with calamansi or lemon is a delicious side.


Wonton Soup – Family Favourite

Won ton Soup Photo by Jean Morton

Won ton Soup
Photo by Jean Morton

Wonton Soup is a family favourite.  Our youngest member of the family can’t get enough of it.  He loves it. He wantonly craves wonton soup.  We always order it when we go out to Chinese restaurant whatever the weather.

Oh yes, Peter actually orders a soup of his own called Hot and Sour soup  which is like a combination of seafood, bamboo shoots, mushrooms vinegar, sugar syrup and chili, so strong it will clear your sinuses after having a good cough due to the spiciness of the soup. 😉

Anyway as I was saying Wonton soup is something that most people would want to eat.  Apparently wonton means literally as “swallowing a cloud”.  Self-explanatory really if you have seen and eaten a wonton soup.

And the recipe is as follows:


  • 18 – 24 won ton wrappers


  • 1/2 pound boneless lean pork, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • a few drops sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 green onion, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 grinds of white pepper (a pinch)

For boiling:

  • Water for boiling won tons
  •  5 cups chicken stock (OXO chicken cubes or knorr cubes are ok if you do not have the chicken bones to boil)
  • green onion or spring onion, thinly sliced, as desired
  • a few drops sesame oil (optional)


Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl, mixing well.
Lay one won ton skin in front of you.
Cover the remaining won ton skins with a damp towel to keep them from drying out.
Filling the won tons:
Moisten all the edges of the won ton wrapper with water.
Place a heaping teaspoon of won ton filling in the center.
Fold the won ton wrapper in half lengthwise, making sure the ends meet.
Press down firmly on the ends to seal.
Use thumbs to push down on the edges of the filling to centre it.
Keeping thumbs in place, fold over the won ton wrapper one more time.
Push the corners up and hold in place between your thumb and index finger.
Wet the corners with your fingers.
Bring the two ends together so that they overlap.
Press to seal.
The finished product should resemble a nurse’s cap.
Repeat with remaining won tons.Alternate method: Place the teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper and twist to seal. The final result should resemble a money bag or drawstring purse.Boiling the won tons:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add the won tons, making sure there is enough room for them to move about freely.
Let the won tons boil for 5 – 8 minutes, until they rise to the top and the filling is cooked through.
Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon.To make the soup: bring the chicken stock to a boil.
Add the won tons and bring the soup back to a boil.
Add the green onion, remove the pot from the heat and add the sesame oil, stirring. Ladle into soup bowls, allowing 6 won tons per person.
The origin of the recipe is Rhonda Parkinson from

Nido Soup (Bird Nest Soup)

Nido Soup By Carol Elep

Nido Soup
By Carol Elep

Nido Soup (Bird Nest Soup)

Nido soup is an adaptation of the Chinese’ Bird Nest Soup, which is made from the dried nest of swift birds.  The nest is a real work of art.  It is formed by the bird’s dried saliva.

I do find it strange how they get to find out that the bird nest can be edible and palatable. But then again civet coffee is now big business and much sought after and you know where the beans came from?!!! ;(.

Nido is a place in Palawan in the Philippines.  There are plenty of caves in Palawan, one of which is the Underground river cave were swifts nest along the many crevices.

Bird nests are very expensive commodity as they are rather hard and can be dangerous to harvest, the height of the cave ceilings are rather challenging to reach.

Anyway if you are lucky enough to get a bird nest, here is the recipe for it.  Just remember it takes time to cook this recipe as it involves soaking the nest for a minimum of 12 hours.

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 100g dried bird’s nest
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100g chicken breast, cooked and flaked thinly
  • 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup creamed corn
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1½ tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 small carrot, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 stalk spring onion, chopped finely
  1. Soak the bird nest for a minimum of 12 hours, ensure that it is thoroughly cleaned and every foreign body has been discarded.
  2. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan and saute the onion until translucent.
  3. Add the chicken broth and bring it to a boil, then lower down the heat and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the bird nest, carrot, creamed corn and grated ginger and continue simmering for half an hour.
  5. Add the thinly flaked chicken breast, stir.
  6. Dilute the cornstarch in ¼ cup water. Stir it in and mix well.
  7. Add the Chinese cooking wine or a drop of sherry.
  8. Pour-in the beaten eggs as you stir.
  9. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  10. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the chopped spring onions.

Enjoy this real gourmet treat. 🙁 poor birds missing their nests!