Jan 30, 2012

A Tribute to my Mentor

My Saviour, My God, Written and performed by Aaron Shust

When I started Kitchen Capers forum back in July 2004, my mentor and good friend, Seok Buay taught me how to cook this delicious and most delightful French soup. I told her back then that this dish will be the FIRST recipe I will share online at the forum.

And since then, I have not stop sharing recipes online. Whether its at my forum or at other forums which I visited often.

Yesterday I cook this again for our family's lunch at home.

When I was cooking this soup, memories came flooding back to me. I was tearing all the time. Because I was reminded again, how much I loved her and how much I missed her.

When people talk about things in their life that pauses them to think about life. I could only think about food and about how Seok Buay has made an impact in my life. She left behind her legacy to share with anyone, everyone, any where and every where. She selflessly shared with me the deepest secrets to good food. Which is actually just LOVE, TIME and whole lot of PATIENCE. And these 3 key ingredients makes the best of everything you put out on the dining table.

This soup may not be cooked in the way it is explained here. If you have learnt to cook this from a French method, this method differs greatly. I fused both Western and Chinese methods of cooking to perfect this soup.

Its alot of work, alot of time and effort. But the end result was that our guests came back for seconds. It was so satisfying that they ask for a bigger bowl to have the soup and wouldn't stop at 2 bowls.


French Seafood Soup
Recipe by the late Mdm Tan Seok Buay
Re adapted by Gina Choong

Serves 10

4 carrots(cut)
2 large white onions(diced finely)
8 large red tomatoes

4 flower crabs(medium size)
1kg Mussels
1 kg white clams
1 kg of large King Prawns
1 kg of squids
500g scallops
1kg salmon fillet
2 bottles of White Wine

4 litres water

Herbs/Spices: **
10 pcs of Bay Leaves(dried ones are fine)
1.5 tbsps each of the following:
Ground Thyme
Rosemary Leaves
Ground Oregano
Sage Leaves
Ground Majoram
Ground Black Pepper

1. Clean and chop/break crab claws and cut into smaller pieces.
2. Using a large sauce pot, add 3 tbsp Olive oil and stir fry onions till fragant.
3. add all the herbs/spices into it and stir fry.
4. Add tomatoes(chop), carrots and then water
5. Cook on medium heat/fire till boiling.
6. Add all the crabs into it. Boil for 10 mins on medium heat.
7. Remove the crabs and add it each seafood item one at a time.
8. Remove each item to briefly cook it. Drained well. Set aside.
9. Remove the vegetables, puree it, and then put it back into the soup to boil for 10 minutes.
10. Then strained the pureed vegetables and discard. return the soup to the pot to cook.
11.Once it starts boiling, add in all the seafood items back into the pot.
12. Leave it to simmer for 10 mins, then add wine.
13. Serve warm..

My notes on Seok Buay's recipe:
Seok Buay uses dried herbs as she says most Asians are not used to the strong flavours if you use fresh herbs. I find this extremely true. It took a while to win friends over to try the soup.

Seok Buay says that this soup is versatile and you can just change the ingredients list each time based on what you can get from the fresh seafood market each time. And every time you cook this dish, its different again. But what stays with this dish is the love you give out to others. That's what I liked about this dish.

Who would ever thought that a humble French seafood soup would cause such an impact to someone unseen, unheard like me? In July 2004, no one knew who I was or what I was doing. And obviously no one cared too.

But this dish spin-off and started a whole new career for me. Teaching me the simple things in life and the riches you get in life isn't all about money or fame. Its the friends you made, the people that left their foot prints in your life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gina, this looks yummylicious... i so agree with you. our food is best when prepared with lots of love. miin