If you are feeling a little under the weather, this bowl of chicken soup can bring a big smile to your face. With a bit of fermented soybean paste, it brings the taste of the soup up a notch. Having this soup when the weather is slightly chilly brings so much comfort to the soul.
Fermented soybeans or 'tauchu' are easily found at Asian grocers. They are packed in bottles. These soybeans are sold either as whole beans or mashed. I prefer using those which are mashed, from Malaysia or Taiwan. Otherwise, fermented soybeans from Singapore which are usually whole can be used too. Just mashed them with a fork before using. There is no substitute to the taste of fermented soybeans, unfortunately.
For the base of the soup, you may substitute chicken with either pork, anchovies or vegetables. Just skip the meat if you are a vegetarian.
Serve the soup as a side dish with steamed white rice. Otherwise, enjoy this soup by itself for a light dinner as the ingredients alone can be quite filling.
Pour hot water over chicken meat for about 10 seconds to get rid of the poultry smell. Then, place the meat in the refrigerator while preparing the other ingredients. This step will make the meat even chewier.
Pound or blend the shallots, garlic and ginger. Leave aside. Cut potatoes into bite-size pieces.
In a pot, lightly fry the pounded ingredients with some oil until fragrant. Add fermented soybean paste and continue to stir-fry for 30 seconds. Then, add chicken meat and quickly stir for another 30 seconds.
Pour water into the pot and bring to boil. Once it boils, lower the heat and allow the soup to simmer for 1.5 hours. If required, add salt to taste.