Margaret Gu's Pumpkin Soup

Courtesy of  Margaret Gu

1 skinless boneless chicken breast
white pepper
3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided use
1 teaspoon cooking wine
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
4 whole scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup canned winter bamboo shoots, cut in matchsticks*
1/2 cup Chinese preserved snow cabbage, drained and chopped**
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 14-ounce cans chicken broth
7 cups cold water
8 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut in small chunks
1 cup rice ovalettes***

*Substitute 1 small kohlrabi, peeled and cut in matchsticks, for canned bamboo shoots.
**Preserved snow cabbage, also called pickled cabbage, is sold in small cans. Margaret prefers the MaLing brand.
***Gnocchi or elbow macaroni can be substituted for rice ovalettes.

Winter bamboo shoots, MaLing pickled cabbage and rice ovalettes are available at Cam Asia Supermarket, 21200 Miles Road in North Randall, and other Chinese grocery stores.

1.Wash and dry chicken. Slice very thin, in 1/2-inch pieces. In a bowl, toss with a small amount of salt and pepper. Combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce and cooking wine in a measuring cup, add corn starch and mix with fork to thoroughly blend. Pour liquid mixture over chicken, gently toss to coat, and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat until it smokes. Add scallions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add chicken, sauté an additional 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add kohlrabi or bamboo shoots, chopped snow cabbage and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Sauté 3 minutes.
3. Add chicken broth, cold water and pumpkin chunks. Bring to a boil uncovered, continue boiling for two minutes. Then cover, simmer for 45 minutes or until pumpkin is fork tender.
4. Bring soup back to a boil, stir in rice ovalettes or gnocchi. Cook uncovered over medium heat, stirring occasionally until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Add salt to taste if needed.

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