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Beef Barley Soup is one of my faves to make whenever I’m craving something soupy and hearty. Full of diced vegetables and nutty barley, the bovine flavor packs a punch that’s both filling and comforting at the same time. Have you had this soup before?

I recently came down with a nasty flu and was knocked out for almost a fortnight. It totally crept up on me, one morning I woke up with a sandpaper-y throat and by lunch time I felt like a ragdoll. After a week of sipping tea and eating porridge, I was borderline frustrated and depressed from having poor appetite while constantly hungry for something flavorful. I was not quite ready for solid food yet, so I decided to make a big pot of Beef Barley Soup instead and that really hit the spot.

Check out the recipe below, it’s simple to make and ready in a jiffy using a basic normal pot.

Beef Barley Soup

1 Tbs olive oil
1 kg beef chuck roast
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 cups diced carrots
3 cups diced celery
1 medium potato, diced
2 Tbs minced garlic
1 litre beef broth (low sodium)
1 can tomato paste
1 cup dried barley
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 Tbs worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper

Saute olive oil, onions, and diced vegetables until soft, then put aside. Cut beef into small cubes and brown for a few minutes with diced garlic. In a large pot, add in all the ingredients. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat if needed and simmer until the barley is cooked and the beef is tender. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Ready to serve in about 30 minutes.

I am feeling much, much better now even though there’s still a lingering dry cough. Just wanna share that I am filled with so much gratitude for the body’s ability to heal and the luxury of having time that allows for recovery. Being healthy and having pain-free days should never ever be taken for granted.


Other soup recipes:

Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup

Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup - Vimeo

Gamjatang (Korean Pork Bone Soup)

Gamjatang Korean Pork Bone Soup - Vimeo

Sop Merah (Surabaya-style Red Soup)

Sop Merah (Surabaya-style Old Dutch Red Soup) - Vimeo

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Lunar New Year is the peak season for eating Bak Kwa — thin slices of sweet barbecued pork; similar to jerky — so every year stores increase prices to capitalise on the feverish demand and there are long, long queues, not to mention a limit on purchase quantity. This year, people has started queueing in front of a store in Chinatown the night before!

Turns out it’s actually simple to make Bak Kwa at home. Lemme share with y’all the step by step of how to do it.

The backstory:

A year ago, Kiss92’s Charmaine Yee asked me to be a guest in one of her CNY videos where we tried making Bak Kwa for the first time, and then did a blind taste-test against the retail version. Even though I love eating Bak Kwa, the thought of making my own batch at home had never ever crossed my mind! But after seeing the recipe that Charmaine shared with me, it didn’t look all that difficult so I hacked the original recipe a bit and prepared a batch.

And what a SUCCESS that turned out to be! When we did the blind taste-test, we found that the store-bought one is tough, not as flavorful, and definitely nowhere near any hint of juiciness. In contrast, our homemade Bak Kwa was fragrant, had a juicy bite, it was ro-ro-robust in flavors. The difference was night and day, I kid you not.

It was such a cool and unexpected experience for me so this year, I decided to invest a bit more attention into the recipe and modified it slightly again. Last year I bought a packet of ground meat and hacked it with minced pork belly. This time I bought pork fat *separately* and pulverised it using my food processor first before mixing it with ground pork. Both times I let the meat mixture marinade overnight in the fridge. I believe these small modifications enhanced the result greatly.

Bak Kwa

320 grams Ground Pork
80 grams Pork Fat, minced
80 grams Sugar
1 tablespoon Oyster Sauce
1 tablespoon Light Soya Sauce
2 tablespoons Fish Sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese Cooking Wine
1/2 tablespoon Sweet Soya Sauce
1/8 teaspoon Five Spice Powder
a dash of Ground White Peppercorn
1 tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon Water

Mix all ingredients except the last two and stir until the meat become sticky.

Cling wrap the bowl and place in refrigerator overnight.

Spread the meat on the baking paper, place a cling wrap on top and roll flat using rolling pin.

Remove the cling wrap and bake in preheated oven 160 degree Celcius for 15 minutes.

Take the meat out of oven and place onto a cutting board.

Set the oven to 230 degree Celcius on grill mode.

Slice the meat into smaller pieces, change the baking paper and place cut pieces on it.

Prepare honey glaze by mixing water with honey.

Brush the honey glaze on both sides of the meat.

Bring the meat back to the oven, grill one side for 3 minutes and the other side 3 minutes.

Monitor the oven closely as the meat will be burnt easily.

Place the meat on wire rack to cool.

Trust me, Bak Kwa is not difficult to make at all and after you take a bite of the result, you may not want to buy from the store again!!!

I will make this again soon and for the upcoming version I’m going to try incorporating bacon slices…*dun~dun~dunnnn~~~* That’s gonna be exciting, isn’t it? Follow me on my Instagram or my Facebook page to stay in touch, stay updated, and see what else I’m up to.

Gong Xi Fa Cai,

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