Writer and Food52 contributor Yi Jun Loh’s mom discovered this sleight-of-hand trick when his sister Jia went vegetarian, and the long-simmered chicken or pork-based soups that fed their family in Malaysia needed to be rethunk. Jun, a reformed chemical engineer who trained at culinary school and restaurants like Blue Hill, recognized the brilliance of this substitution, experimented with it further himself, and then—lucky us!—sent it our way. “There's clearly some sort of liquid magic happening here,” Jun wrote. “Sure, it does taste slightly different, but the depth and richness it adds to the broth simply blows my mind.” You can use this trick to quickly give a backbone to any soup or stew, but this ABC soup—the Malaysian version of the classic simple chicken soup—is a very good place to start. Adapted very slightly from Yi Jun Loh of the blog Jun & Tonic. —Genius Recipes
medium white or yellow onions, peeled and quartered
medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks (we especially like starchy Russets for this)
medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
medium tomatoes, quartered (drained canned tomatoes are fine)
salt, or to taste
crushed white peppercorn, or to taste
In This Recipe
In a deep pot, combine the water, half of the coconut water (4 cups), and salt. Bring this to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer.
Add the onions and potatoes into the pot, and let it simmer on very low heat, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Then, add in the carrots and tomatoes, and let it simmer for a further 20 to 30 minutes. The vegetables should all be close to falling apart at this point, which is perfect; it really adds to that heart-warming, rustic texture of soup that we just love!
Add in the crushed peppercorns and the rest of the coconut water, and bring the soup to a final boil. Season to taste with salt, and serve piping hot.