In hot countries, hot dishes and spicy foods help people sweat, and thus cool off. Here, we rather like cold soups. Today, I give you a Chinese soup that’s served hot or tepid. My daughter Suzanna Leigh, whose inspirational motif is the dragon, gave me the name for it. We call it Dragon Soup because near Bangkok we once ate a”dragon shrimp” the size of a lobster on the bank of the Cha Praya. It served six.
The soup below has shrimp in it, but they need not be the largest ones. It’s perfect for a hot day—provides needed liquid, plus all the elements of a well balanced meal (protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates, and needs only five minutes actual cooking time. The same essential soup is also made with tofu.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time, only about 5 minutes Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a starter
1 (10-ounce) can condensed chicken broth and
2 cups water or 3 ½ cups homemade chicken broth
1 Tablespoon chopped ginger
(don’t bother to peel it. Xiao Ning says, “Peel has nutrition, too.”)
1 to 2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons soy sauce
¼ lb. cooked chicken, diced
3 large crimini mushrooms, halved vertically and then sliced
2 green onions, tops included, washed and sliced
2 cups chopped baby bok choy
¼ lb. shelled shrimp or 1 can shrimp
1/8 teaspoon cayenne or Hungarian hot pepper, or to taste
1 cup cooked rice, optional or 1 small hank Thai noodles, broken up
In a 6-cup saucepan, bring chicken broth, ginger, garlic and soy sauce to a boil. Add chicken, mushrooms, and bok choy. Return to a boil. Add remaining ingredients, except for the shrimp. Add the rice or Thai noodles. Bring to a gentle boil. Cook 2 minutes.
If using raw shrimp, add it now. Reduce heat. Cook only until shrimp turns pink and opaque.
If using canned shrimp, remove from heat, then add the shrimp.
Chill if desired
Complete the menu with a simple fruit salad of torn lettuce, diced nectarine or mango and avocado. It’s cooling and serves as both salad and dessert. If you insist on a dressing, I suggest ranch style, or raspberry vinaigrette.