There are some dishes we must have a few times every week. Staples that we have gotten so used to having and if we haven’t had them for a while, we’d feel weird. I don’t know about you but oddly for us, it’s spinach.
Yes, of all things. Thing is hubs love spinach. It’s his favourite vegetable. The kinds we get here aren’t baby ones that I always see in salads and such online. The ones we have are fully grown with long stems. Hubs favourite would be red spinach, though today I’m going to feature a recipe with the usual green variety. You’ll understand why in a moment.
In many highend Chinese restaurants, you’d find a dish called something like “Spinach in Superior Broth” or its equivalent, describing a spinach dish that consists of the vegetable being cooked in clear chicken broth with the addition of large scallops, sometimes oysters. The addition of those high quality ingredients can drive up the price of this dish… like a lot! I can get one bunch of spinach for about RM1.00 a bunch, sometimes even cheaper.
Consider this my cheaper spoof of the classic favourite.
To prepare the broth, all I basically did was to boil some water with the dried scallops, goji berries, minced garlic and fish sauce. The miso paste added on later will give tons of flavour so we don’t need to add more now. Though, if you don’t have miso paste on hand, a chicken bouillon cube would do the trick as well.
Now onto the controversial century eggs. In Chinese cuisine, century eggs are eaten alongside congee or even as an appetizer together with pickled ginger. I happen to love century eggs a lot. I know it looks a little scary, being black and all. It is definitely an acquired taste, something many Asians I know have never acquired. If you are interested in reading more about them, you can do so here. Feel free to leave it out or substitute it with hard-boiled regular eggs.
Century eggs are usually covered with a hardened mixture of alkaline clay and husk. I usually soak them in a bowl of water for 5-10 minutes. This softens that layer of clay. Then I’ll remove as much clay as possible, over a bowl to catch all the falling mud and husk. After that, I’ll give the shell a thorough washing before peeling off the shells. The peeled eggs get a final wash and they are ready to eat! Best part is no need for cooking or anything as they are already solid and ready to go. Poifect.
This doubles up as soup too, making it a great week night addition to the menu.
Oh, and remember when I mentioned on top about why I didn’t use red spinach for this? Yeah, it would have turned the soup all red. Not that it’s bad or anything because we’ve had it tons of times that way. I just didn’t want to surprise you with a neon red soup.
“That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.” (1 Kings 8:60)
Spinach with Century Eggs
1 bunch (about 350gms or 12 oz) Spinach, roots trimmed & stems cut to 2 inch sticks
1 tbsp Fish Sauce
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tbsp Goji Berries
1 tbsp dried Scallops
1 heaping tbsp Miso Paste
4 cups Water
4 Century Quail Eggs, shelled & halved or 2 Century Duck Eggs, shelled & quartered
- Bring water in a pot to boil, together with garlic, goji berries, scallops & fish sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Throw in spinach and simmer until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Turn off heat.
- Stir in miso paste.
- To serve, pick up cooked spinach and place in soup bowls. Ladle in some broth, but not too much. Carefully place century egg wedges of halves on the bed of vegetables.
- Enjoy with steamed rice!