Cooking is my passion and food is our family’s love language. Eating out in new restaurants before the pandemic was part of our weekend adventures. This helped hone my flair for cooking.
No matter how busy I am, I cook and make dinner since my two sons and husband work. It delights me to see them savor the food I prepare for them.
Sunday lunch is sacred to us. I make special dishes which are carefully planned and prepared.
Being together during mealtime is special for us. We don’t just partake of our meal but, more importantly, we also talk about how our day went. We are brought even closer as we relish our food together.
I do not claim to be an expert in the realm of cooking, but I believe that it is a skill that can be honed and eventually mastered. I started my cooking journey by consulting cookbooks, watching YouTube videos, and exchanging recipes with my friends and sisters-in-law. I also attended culinary classes.
Chef Reggie Aspiras helped me the most through her culinary classes. She introduced me to various cuisines; to proper preparation and cooking techniques; to unique and creative plating styles. I also learned how to choose and buy the right kind of ingredients and gadgets. So, whenever I traveled, I bought kitchen wares and gadgets from the local markets, which gave me the confidence and feel of a professional chef. Because of this, I am inspired to cook even more.
I am adventurous enough to try new dishes, but there’s this recipe chef Reggie taught me many moons ago that still brings joy to my heart: the savory Chicken Sotanghon Soup. It brings back fond memories of my dad each time I cook it. Sotanghon soup was my dad’s favorite and now my family’s comfort food. He always ordered it whenever we ate in a Filipino restaurant. He enjoyed it even if it didn’t seem quite appetizing to me.
I resolved to learn how to cook it from chef Reggie. So I did. Every now and then, I proudly cook it for my family. Regretfully, though, my dad is no longer around to sample it.
Best Chicken Sotanghon Soup
⅓ c achuete oil
3 Tbsp garlic, chopped
1 whole white onion, chopped
1 chicken breast bone-in (boiled), keep the chicken stock
1 Knorr Chicken Cube
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 c pork liempo, thinly sliced
1 c red onion, finely chopped
½ kg shrimps, peeled
Chicken meat, flakes from the boiled chicken breast
Black fungus (tengang daga), soaked and chopped
⅛ kg sotanghon noodles
1 c Baguio green beans, sliced
1 whole medium-sized carrot, cut into matchstick-sized pieces
8 c chicken stock
3 Tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp black pepper
Garnish: Quail eggs or chicken egg, cooked
In a soup pot, heat the achuete oil, brown 3 Tbsp garlic. When almost brown, add the chopped white onion and stir for 3 minutes until caramelized.
Put the boiled chicken breast bone-in into the pot. Brown it on both sides. Add a bit of green onion. Stir well.
Add 8 cups soup stock. Add 1 Knorr Chicken Cube. Allow it to boil.
Remove the chicken breast and shred into flakes.
Using the same soup pot used in cooking the chicken breast, put 3 Tbsp vegetable oil.
Add the chopped garlic, stir well.
Add the peeled shrimps. Stir together with the garlic and pork. Add the flaked chicken breast and black fungus. Mix well. Pour in the soup stock. You may add 2 more cups of soup stock. In low fire, cover and allow to cook and boil.
When the soup stock is boiled, add the sotanghon noodles. Allow it to simmer over low fire. Season. Add the carrots and Baguio beans. Do not overcook the carrots and Baguio beans. It is good to eat them with a bit of crunch. Season with fish sauce and black pepper.
Garnish your sotanghon soup with sliced hard-boiled egg, fried garlic and fried shallots. Personally, I love to squeeze in calamansi for a more sour taste.
How to make fried shallots:
Slice the shallots thinly and sprinkle with ½ tsp rock salt. Soak in cold water for 5 minutes to make the shallots crispy.
Remove from water and squeeze it dry.
Fry in vegetable oil in low fire.
Cook until golden brown then remove from oil.
The author is a homemaker-wife to Ramon and mother to Reimond and Richard.
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