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Monday, March 30, 2009

mixing your own Malaysian soup spice


It is very easy to pick up a spice mix called Sup Bunjut anywhere in Malaysia. the most ubiquitous is probably Adabi Soup Mixes - soul in a plastic packet. Inside you'd find a cinnamon stick, one or two star anise, green cardamom and clove with one cute little muslin parcel filled more aromatic seeds. In the little parcel, you'd find a mixture of peppercorn, cumin, coriander, some mustard seeds, one or two petals of star anise, shredded cinnamon and maybe some fennel seeds.
It is not so easy to find this beautiful and handy packet when you're outside Malaysia though. But don't worry, follow these steps and you can make your own spice mix in no time!

My secret in making my own spices is using a little tea strainer basket which I can open and add my spices in after warming them in my soup pot. You can also use some tea muslin sleeves - easily found in specialty tea shop. Or make your own little Muslin bundle and tie it together with a little white thread. But tea strainer is handier, can easily be washed and used again in a later date.

By making your own spice mix, the spices are fresher and therefore more aromatic. If you see the picture with the filling of the commercial soup mix packet, the cardamom is already white therefore not so fresh anymore.

Heating up the spices in the soup pot you're using ensure the oil of all the spices is released and coating the base of the pot. This is very important in enhancing the aroma and the flavour of the soup as we're not going to use any oil at all in making the soup (I will post the recipe and story in the next 2 days).

These are the spices you need to make Beef Rib Soup (Sup Tulang) for 1-2 kilo of Beef Ribs. You can use the same spice for chicken and lamb soup.

Ingredients A
Loose spice mix:
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
3 cloves
3 cardamom

Ingredients B - for the sup bunjut
Spice mix in tea strainer/muslin parcel:
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 white peppercorn - you can use black or a mixture of peppercorn but I usually use white in the bunjut and add freshly crushed black pepper for seasoning
3 petals of star anise
some broken pieces of cardamom stick
a pinch of mustard seeds
a pinch of poppy seed
1/2 tsp fennel - optional but very good to add to fish soup/stew

Method:
Heat up the pot you're using for the soup and add all the spices listed as Ingredients B. Warm thoroughly for about 1-2 minutes. You can then transfer this to your mortar and pestle and crush lightly -maybe only 2-3 poundings and then quickly add it into the tea strainer/muslin sleeves.
Use immediately.
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