Bowl of Pork and Spinach Soup
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Pork with Spinach & Silken Tofu
China - Shanghai   -   Bo Cai Rou Si Dou Fu Geng
Serves
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
4 soup  
***
1-1/4 hr  
Yes
This soup presents wonderful flavors and textures you may not have experienced before. Soups of this pattern are typical of the Shanghai region. Shepherds Purse is the usual green, but is not much available in North America (see Comments). Yellow Croaker or strands of Crab or Scallops can be used instead of the pork.




4
6
10
4
1/3
1
1/2
4
1/2
1/3
-----
1
oz
oz
oz
T
c
T
T
c
t
t
---
T
Pork, lean (1)
Spinach Leaves (2)
Tofu, Silken
Potato Starch
Water
Oil
Rice Wine (3)
Stock, light (4)
Salt
Pepper
-- Optional Finish
Lard, or (5)
Prep   -   (10 min)
  1. Slice PORK thin and cut into thin slivers.
  2. Remove most stems from SPINACH and weigh just leaves. drain well, or use a salad spinner.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Stir in spinach just until wilted, well under 1 minute. Refresh in cold water. Squeeze dry and chop as fine as you can.
  4. Cut SILKEN TOFU into dice a little less than 1/4 inch on a side.
  5. Mix Potato Starch with Water to make a slurry.
Run   -   (10 min)
  1. In a wok, heat Oil over high flame and fry Pork, stirring until all strands are separate and it has completely lost its raw color.
  2. Stir in Rice Wine, then Stock and Tofu. Bring to a boil. Stir in Spinach and bring back to a boil.
  3. Season with Salt and Pepper.
  4. Stir up Potato Starch slurry. Stir it into the soup a bit at a time, keeping the soup at a strong simmer. Don't over-do it - stop when the soup has a silky texture and the Tofu and Pork are suspended.
  5. IF using: Stir in Lard or rendered Chicken Fat just before serving..
  6. Serve hot
NOTES:
  1. Pork:   Weight is boneless and after removing any excess fat.
  2. Spinach:   Weight is for trimmed leaves with most stems removed. For regular spinach you will need at least a 10 ounce bunch to yield 6 ounces. The photo example used Taiwan Spinach, which has huge leaves and huge but very tender, flavorful stems, so more stems can be included. For details see our Spinach page.
  3. Rice Wine:   Use a good, drinkable Chinese rice wine, not that horrid salted "cooking" version. If you don't have this, use a Dry Sherry. Sake is made from rice but is not considered a good substitute. For details see our Chinese Rice Wine page.
  4. Stock:   A clear Chicken Stock would be expected in the Shanghai region.
  5. Finish:   In many hard working cultures, soups are finished with some sort of oil. For this soup, Lard or rendered Chicken Fat would be used. While "authentic", this is rarely done in more modern cultures where the extra calories are not appreciated so much.
  6. Comments:   Shepherds purse is a common vegetable in the Shanghai region and surrounding, but is not grown commercially in North America. While a common weed here, it is usually not leafy enough in the wild to gather. Shepherds Purse is in the mustard family, so possibly Small Gai Lan could also be a good substitute. For details see our Cabbage, Mustard, Turnip & Radish Greens page.
  7. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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