Yes, you read correctly. One of the main ingredients of this soup IS indeed chrysanthemum; however, not of the same variety of ornamental mums we see on everyone’s doorsteps during Autumn. Instead, these are the edible flowers and leaves of a type of Chrysanthemum, cultivated for thousands of years. This flowering plant, a member of the daisy family, is a very popular vegetable in Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese cuisine. Some other names are “Tung Ho” (Vietnamese), “Shingiku” (Japanese), “Ssukgat” (Korean), “Gul-chini” (Indian), and “Tong Hao” (Mandarin). Garland Chrysanthemum can be eaten raw, served in salads, or cooked in soups or stir fries. This Flickr blogger has some amazing photos of VERY intriguing Asian foods, most of which I have had the pleasure of trying.
This delicious soup is an original “Lulu Recipe.” 🙂
- 1 bunch garland chrysanthemum greens (you can find these at your local Asian market) ~ thoroughly washed and drained
- 30 snow peas ~ washed
- 8-10 cups filtered water
- 1 lb white shrimp ~ peeled, deveined, washed; size is unimportant
- 1/4 cup cilantro ~ washed and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup scallions ~ washed and roughly chopped
- 5 cloves garlic ~ peeled
- 1 small shallot ~ peeled
- ginger root ~ washed, unpeeled; add to taste (I like a lot in mine)
- sesame oil
- olive oil
- sea salt
- organic evaporated cane sugar (plain white sugar will do)
- onion powder
- fleshly ground black pepper
- Thai chilies ~ optional; add to taste
- In a food processor, combine shrimp, cilantro, scallions, garlic cloves, shallot, ginger root, sesame oil, olive oil, sea salt, cane sugar, onion powder, black pepper and Thai chilies and pulse until you get an evenly blended, smooth paste. Once this is achieved, set it aside in the fridge with plastic wrap over the container otherwise it will make your fridge smell like garlic.
- Put a pot of water on the burner as you prep your mum greens. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
- When cleaning the mums, be sure to wash them all thoroughly in a large bowl of water and pick out all the bruised leaves. I normally run them through three rinses.
- With a soup spoon dipped in olive oil each time, scoop out dumpling-sized shrimp “balls” and drop them into the boiling water. It does not take long for the shrimp to cook.
- Once you’ve added as many shrimp balls as you like, let the soup boil for a few extra minutes, skimming off any foam.
- Turn off the burner and set aside.
- In a large soup bowl, arrange a handful of mums and about 8-10 snow peas in the bowl. Scoop the broth, along with some shrimp balls, into the bowl, making sure to pour the still boiling-hot broth all over the greens. This makes the vegetables a perfect al dente texture.
- Garnish with a fresh sprig of mum and or cilantro.