Pale Jade Soup

Hisui Wan

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

An American Taste of Japan

An American Taste of Japan

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1985

  • About

Once considered an exotic Oriental vegetable, fresh snow pea pods are increasingly popular and available from supermarkets as well as specialty greengrocers throughout the United States, nearly year-round. With top-quality fresh peas coming to market from March through September and aromatic fresh mint available for only a slightly shorter growing season, this soup takes advantage of the bounty of America’s spring and summer.

In this recipe I have barely blanched and pureed the snow pea pods to preserve their vivid greenness and fresh garden flavor, adding them to a subtly seasoned chicken-based broth. I created this soup to serve with broiled and roasted meats and fish.

Ingredients

  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced scallion (green and white parts)
  • 1 tablespoon saké (Japanese rice wine)
  • 2⅔ cups tori-gara dashi (basic chicken stock)
  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces) freshly shelled peas
  • 3–4 ounces fresh snow peas, strings removed pinch salt (optional)
  • tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh mint
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint, for garnish (optional)

Method

In a 2- or 3-quart saucepan, melt the butter, add the scallions, and sauté over low heat. When the scallions have wilted, add the rice wine and 1 ⅔ cups of the chicken stock, and simmer for 10–15 minutes after the soup has come to a boil.

While the stock is simmering, cook the peas for 3 minutes in several cups of boiling salted water. Toss the snow peas into the same pot, stir for 10 seconds, and drain. Place the peas, snow peas, and the remaining cup of chicken stock in a food processor or blender and puree to a smooth consistency.

Pour the pureed pea mixture into the saucepan containing the seasoned chicken broth, and stir to mix thoroughly. Over medium-high heat bring the soup to a gentle simmer, then taste and adjust if necessary with a pinch of salt. In a separate cup, combine the cornstarch and cold water, mixing them into a smooth paste. Dribble the paste into the soup, stirring it constantly, and continue to cook over medium-high heat for 30 seconds until the soup thickens. Stir in the fresh cream and remove the soup from the heat. Sprinkle fresh chopped mint over the soup, stirring it in so that it becomes combined.

Serve immediately, garnishing each portion with a sprig of mint, if you like.