Sep 21

Homestyle 5 Treasure Soup.




Last month I told myself that I was going to dedicate the month of September to Great Britain and cook up a storm with all things British. I had a list and everything, I SWEAR!! I went so far as to prepare one dessert : Sticky Date & Pecan Pudding, and I  was going to follow that up with Beef and Ale Pies, beer battered Fish and Chips, Eton Mess, Victoria Sponge and Sherry Trifle …. even Kedgeree and Coronation Chicken crossed my mind …. but ALAS!! everything has been derailed now. I have been going gaga for home cooking ever since I was invited to do a guest blog on The Spicy Buddha; and when I say home-cooking I mean Malaysian fare.



I was asked to make and write about something typically Malaysian, so I made and wrote about Lemon Chicken. However, before I came up with the idea to submit that as an article, I went through a whole bunch of material and recipes with my friend and foodie partner-in-crime, Kerry. She’s in Switzerland (ahhh … the joys of hi-speed internet communication) and we chat pretty much everyday, and when I have a food idea we’d bat out suggestions online; via computer, phone, it doesn’t matter.



So the tipping point came when I was looking up all those Malaysian favourites in a single day. I went through three cookbooks and drooled my way through every page. Laska Lemak (noodles in rich coconut curry); Hainanese Chicken Rice; Lobah (minced pork and chestnuts wrapped in bean curd skin); Nasi Lemak (fragrant coconut rice served with sambal); Lo Mai Gai (sticky glutinous rice steamed in a lotus leaf with chicken and dark sauce); Pan Mee (handmade noodles in a pork and anchovy broth) and Sago Pudding (sago pearls served in palm sugar syrup and coconut cream) just to name a few. I could go on but that’ll just make me wanna hop a plane home.



This soup in particular is not a classic Malaysian dish per-se, rather I’d like to think of it as being Malaysian inspired. The flavours are definitely Malaysian, but the dish is completely made up, by me, a good few years ago when I was still living in Australia. One not-so-warm autumn evening I suddenly wanted a Chinese-style soup and I wanted a dish to resemble those soups served up at Chinese weddings. For all you Malaysian readers out there will totally get this concept. And for all you Western readers, just think of this soup as being a rather embellished chicken-n-corn soup. I didn’t know how to get started, nor did I have a recipe to guide me, so based on memory alone, remembering the smell, the texture and the flavour, I came up with this version. Even the name is a made up one coz I didn’t know what else to call it. Mind you, the soup I made back then has been tweaked, altered and twisted to what it is today, and I think this one is pretty much spot on.








  • 1 cup chicken thigh meat, chopped
  • 50 g tiger prawns, chopped
  • 5 large shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh crabmeat
  • 50 g sweet corn kernels
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 L water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 4 thinly sliced young ginger root
  • spring onions, chopped
  • coriander leaves, chopped
  • chives, chopped
  • fried shallots
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch + water mixture
  • sesamee oil




I use chicken bouillon cubes because I want to have as close a flavour to all those soups in Chinese restaurants ~ it has that distinct chickeny flavour and I like that in my Chinese soups. You can use liquid chicken stock from a box or make stock from scratch, but let’s face it … who wants to? This dish is all about being quick and comforting, and you don’t want to be slaving away chopping up bones and then waiting 12 hours for it to cook down. Do yourself a favour and just use ready-made stock. It won’t kill you or ruin the soup. If you are not a fan of the chicken stock flavour then just use veggie stock, or go 50% – 50% on both. Whichever way you choose to go, always remember to taste your broth because one brand of chicken stock may differ vastly from another.



Oriental cooking, especially the Cantonese ones, is a quick process. I would say 80% of the time spent in the kitchen is prep work; then the other 20% is the time actually spent over the fire. So chop up the chicken thigh fillets and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside. Then slice the shitake mushrooms, corn spears and tiger prawns. Set aside. You want all the components to be roughly the same size. I like to use tinned corn kernels coz they are nice and sweet, and it saves me chopping time.



Get your stock up to the boil then lower the heat to a low simmer. The idea is to poach rather than boil the bejezuz out of all the ingredients. We are dealing with some rather delicate ingredients here that do not require a rapid boil. If you boil the meat and prawns on high you will end up with a rubbery texture and a soup that lacks flavour. Flavour the broth with the white bits of spring onion, ginger slices and the crushed garlic. We want the flavours of these to permeate thru the broth to liven things up.





Chicken and mushrooms go in first. If you are using the dry black mushrooms then you will need to soak them in boiling water for up to an hour before using. Allow to poach in gently simmering water for 5 to 10 mins. Then add prawns and crabmeat followed by the sweet corn. If you like a sweeter soup add the corn earlier to allow time for the corn to release it’s flavour. Simmer gently for a further 5 mins.



Cornflour and water is used here to thicken the soup’s consistancy, so place the cornflour in a cup and add tap water to get a watery white mixture. Just before shutting off the flame add the cornflour and water mixture to the soup. Then stir thru the egg whites. Shut off the flame , place the lid on the pot and let the residual heat cook the egg whites. And that’s it really.



Now remember, the garnish in this recipe imparts another layer of flavour and should not be omitted if you can help it. I like to garnish this soup with fresh coriander leaves, chives and fried shallots just before serving, but you can also stir thru some of the coriander stalks into the soup. Add a few drops of sesame oil and sprinkle some fried shallots (very important component!) on top followed by finely chopped spring onion. Some people like the option of adding dark vinegar at the table, but that is completely optional. I like mine with a few drops of soy sauce. This makes for a good starter if you are serving an Asian style dinner.



Excellent as a meal on its own or a great pick-me-up if you are down with a cold ~ ginger and chicken broth works a treat.







However, on certain days I like to add a carbo component to my soup for a fuller meal, so I add softened glass noodles (bean thread noodles/ Chinese vermicelli/ dōng fěn/ soe-oen), the same kind I used in making Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls. Regular wheat noodles or rice noodles would go well here … but I don’t think you want to go with the egg noodle variety… I find it too heavy for this soup. Whichever way you choose to have it I guarantee it will be just as yummy as the ones sold at your local Chinese restaurant (if not yummier) … and you can have the whole pot to yourself!




So as always, I hope you give this a try and maybe drop me a note telling me how you went with yours. Until next time ….



~ ENJOY! ~





Permanent link to this article: http://foodflurries.com/savoury/homestyle-5-treasure-soup

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *