"Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don't catch steak hanging around when you're poor and sick, do you?" — Judith Martin

One thing about being part of this region is our innate penchant for anything soup-y or broth-y: that which starts our meal with a bowl of warm comfort, never mind if it's a scorching summer day in Manila.

We can also have this anytime of the day, be it for breakfast, or as a meal, or merienda. In fact, most of the food trips done in Manila would almost always include a bowl of soup from known establishments in the process.

In the region, each country has its own unique rendition — Japan has always been famous for its ramen culture; Taiwan for its beef brisket soup and xiao long bao (soup dumplings); Hong Kong for its wonton noodle soup; Singapore for its laksa; Vietnam for its pho; Myanmar for its mohingar; Thailand for its tom yum; South Korea for its sundubu-jjigae and many other soup-y culinary delights.

Locally, our soup dishes vary and are not far behind: from well-known and beloved go-to soups such as sinigang, nilaga, tinola, batchoy, bulalo, and even to just simple sinabawan dishes like laswa, bulanglang, etc. — these dishes truly give comfort, warmth and possibly even childhood memories every time we take a sip.

Get the latest news
delivered to your inbox
Sign up for The Manila Times’ daily newsletters
By signing up with an email address, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Especially during the rainy season, these soup dishes come in handy and really make a meal satisfying. Incorporating soup dishes in your meal plans would also have its own medicinal or healing benefits, so much so that a bowl of soup or lugaw when one is unwell would do its magic trick.

A sustainable way of having soup handy especially when you want to make your own soup dishes is to prepare your own homemade broth or stock. Depending on which part of the country you are, the aromatics used may also vary. In the Visayas/Mindanao region, ginger and lemongrass are commonly incorporated in the preparation of the soup base.

Making your own broth or soup stock is a sustainable way to prepare your family’s meals.
Making your own broth or soup stock is a sustainable way to prepare your family’s meals.

Below are two simple, local broth/stock recipes.

Vegetable Stock

1. You may use vegetable scraps for this one such as onion peels, garlic skin, carrots and celery.

2. Best to roast this/dehydrate in the oven

3. In a stockpot, place vegetable scraps and enough water. Bring to a boil.

4. You may season the broth or stock later on when you prepare your dish.

Bone Broth

There are a lot of benefits of drinking bone broth, and collagen is one of them.

1. Wash your meat bones thoroughly (you may use beef, pork or chicken, or a combination) to produce a cleaner and lighter broth.

2. In using aromatics, mirepoix is commonly added – using celery, onions and carrots. Aromatics are best roasted first before making the stock to maximize flavor. Add peppercorns, bay leaf and other preferred ingredients.

3. In a stock pot add the bones, water and your aromatics. Let it come to a slow boil and then simmer for a couple of hours (some even take as long as 24 hours)

4. Optional: once cooled down, chill in the fridge and you may remove the fat that rises up to the surface (de-fat). Alternatively, you may use a fat separator.

5. Your bone broth is ready. You may freeze this using your freezer-friendly storage containers to use for your next meal or to take a shot of the broth everyday for wellness. You may season the broth later on when you prepare your dish

You can now enjoy many soup dishes just by preparing your own stock. This is a healthier and more economical way of preparing your meals rather than relying on instant bouillon cubes.

* * *

The author may be reached at [email protected] or follow her at Instagram @kaycalpolugtu and @aplateofbahaykubo.