Kow Kei Soup
If you’re familiar with Chinese cuisine, you will know that Kow Kei is a vegetable oft eaten to improve one’s eyesight. Now, what exactly is Kow Kei? I scoured the Internet and from what I gathered, it is theChinese Wolfberry plant – also known as Gou Qi, Red Medlar, Boxthorn, Kei Chi or Goji. Am I right? Anyone out there who can affirm this, I would be most grateful 😉
This morning, there was an abundance of Kow Kei at the market. Every vegetable seller had large bundles of it displayed at their stalls. I didn’t need much goading into buying some because they were going for a song.
As you know, we only eat the leaves of the Kow Kei plant. So first, you need to strip the leaves from the stems. Then you wash them and drain the excess water.
See the Extreme Makeover: Kow Kei Edition below.
“Before” – bedraggled and unkempt.
Now, Kow Kei is just like Spinach. In their raw form, they may look like a daunting pile. But once you start cooking them, they wilt to a fraction of the original. So load up, else you might not even have enough for one serving! I bought 600g (I think) … a big bundle … and it was good for 3 adults and 2 kids.
I have been making Kow Kei Soup for many years now (see my very first photo). It hardly needs any skill: boil the leaves in diluted stock, throw in a handful of Chinese Wolfberries and before turning off the flame, stream in 1 beaten egg. Season with salt or pepper if desired.
Since I had a large stash of Kow Kei today, I divided it into 2 batches: one for the regular soup (for my kids) and another for trying out something new. Surprise surprise! My Internet search brought me back toCamemberu, one of my favourite food bloggers 🙂 She had featured a dish she tried at Hua Ting (at Orchard Hotel) – Kow Kei with 3 different eggs in stock, and it looked so yummy I just had to try replicating that.
With no recipe on hand, I just did whatever I thought would work. LOL! I am open to suggestions, if anyone has tips on giving this dish its X-factor 😉
Having said that, I was really pleased with the final result. I will definitely make this again, for the ménage à trois of the eggs was oh, so seductive! I love all kinds of eggs! I could eat eggs everyday. Come to think of it, I do! Well, almost.
Kow Kei (With 3 Eggs In Stock) – Home cooked version 😉
(Serves 3 adults)
– Kow Kei (about 300g gross weight), strip the leaves from the stems. Discard the stems.
– 1 or 2 cloves garlic
– 1 handful Chinese Wolfberries
– 1 salted egg, separate yolk from white
– 1 chicken egg, lightly beaten
– 1 century egg, cut into cubes
– 1 tbsp vegetable oil
– Dash of sesame oil
– Vegetable stock (or chicken stock, if you prefer)
1. Fill water in a saucepan (about half full). Bring to a boil, then throw in Kow Kei leaves. Boil for 8-10mins, or until leaves turn tender. Do not cover the saucepan, as veggies tend to turn yellow. Not pretty.
2. In a skillet, add about 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Throw in whole garlic cloves and fry till fragrant. Discard the garlic. You only want the flavour. Add in dash of sesame oil.
3. Add in vegetable stock and Chinese Wolfberries. Bring to a boil over a very low flame.
4. When stock comes to a gentle boil, add in salted egg yolk. Use a spatula to mash yolk into coarse bits.
5. Next, stream in lightly beaten egg as well as the salted egg white. Note that I did not add any salt to this dish because the salted egg (in addition to the stock) provided enough seasoning, for me at least.
6. Make sure your flame is very small, so that the eggs do not overcook and become tough. They should have the texture of soft-boiled eggs – a little runny and very silky. You should turn off your fire as soon as your eggs go into the stock. The heat from the stock is enough to cook the eggs.
7. By this time, the Kow Kei would have been cooked till tender. Drain them and put them onto a serving plate.
8. Pour the stock/egg mixture over the blanched veggies. Top with century egg cubes and serve.
Here’s to bigger, brighter eyes! *bats eyelids*