November 15, 2005

comforting soups

There are days when it’s difficult to decide what to fix for dinner. It can be quite a challenge at times. These are days that call for dishes that are refreshing and comforting at the same time.This is when tortilla soup comes to the rescue! The tart lime juice in it readjusts and cleanses the palate. The avocado adds richness which goes well with all the other ingredients, a very good balance. We had a very satisfying lunch at a tex-mex restaurant once and this was where I got the idea for the sliced avocados for the soup. Unfortunately the restaurant is now closed but I’m positive it wasn’t because of the food because everything we had there was great. Several of the branches of this family-owned restaurant are all in New Mexico. So branching out further must not have been a successful move for them.

I guess chicken soup is a universal comfort food. In Manila, a very flavorful and popular creamy kind is called “sopas” or chicken macaroni soup. Evaporated milk, instead of fresh milk is commonly used. Evaporated milk is a staple and we use it for everything, leche flan, champorado, etc. Fresh milk is always available but there are times when it just can’t be a substitute for the consistency and rich color of evaporated milk. Sopas is always a hit especially with kids. We grew up eating it and the next generation is now enjoying it.

Sinigang or sour soup with tamarind as the tart ingredient, is another popular soup in Manila. After having greasy and rich foods like during and after big holidays like Christmas and New Year, this is quite a welcome dish with plain white rice. With bangus ( milkfish ) or prawns ( I have an earlier post for this ) it's definitely healthier and lighter. In whatever form, soups are just the ultimate comfort food.

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