This is a subtle, clear vegetable soup that is easy to make. It is a light opener to any meal. Use vegetable stock to make the soup suitable for non-meat-eating friends.
Cut the Chinese leaves into fine shreds. Finely slice the mushrooms and courgettes. Split the baby corn in half and string the beans.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until it is hot. Add the oil, and when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the garlic, salt and pepper and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Then add the Chinese leaves and stir-fry for 1 minute. Then add the mushrooms, courgettes, baby corn and beans and continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the stock, turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the cabbage is very tender.
Stir in the fish sauce and sugar and continue to simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the basil leaves. Ladle into a large soup tureen and serve at once.
© 2001 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.