This tomato-based “Chinese Borscht” soup was in fact introduced and adapted by Russian refugees who migrated to Shanghai. Hence the Chinese name: 罗宋汤, which derived from the pronunciation of “Russian Soup”. The “Chinese Borscht” doesn’t include beetroots though, as Shanghai doesn’t have the suitable environment to plant beets.
- 300 to 400 beef chunk or shank (any cuts for stew), cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 large yellow onion (about 250g), roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 medium size carrot, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 stick of celery, cut into cubes
- 2 to 3 tomatoes (about 300g), roughly chopped
- 3 to 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 6 cups of unsalted beef stock (Use 3 cups of beef stock + 3 cups of water if you use concentrated beef stock)
- 200g cabbage, roughly chopped
- 1 to 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 teaspoon ground black peppercorn
- 1 small russet potato, peeled and cut into 7 to 8 large pieces
- Ground black peppercorn and salt to taste
- Rinse the beef chunks and pat them very dry (this helps brown the meat.). Cut them into small cubes. Place two tablespoons of cooking oil in a thick-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the beef cubes and saute till they are browned.Add into garlic and yellow onion cubes and cook over medium heat till the onions turns soft.
- Add into carrot and celery cubes and cook for a few minutes. Add into chopped tomatoes. Clear a space in the center of the pot, and add 3 to 4 tablespoons of tomato paste, letting it fry lightly. Stir and cook until the tomatoes are slightly dissolved and the oil in the pot turns reddish––a few minutes over medium heat.
- Now add 6 cups of beef stock (or 3 cups of beef stock + 3 cups of water) and turn up the heat to high. Add into cabbage and bay leaves add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/3 teaspoon of ground black peppercorn. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 60 minutes.
- After 60 minutes of simmering, peel and cut the potatoes, and add them to the soup. Bring it to boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 30 more minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Salt to taste before serving.
- Soup and stews always taste better the next day, so don’t fret if you have leftovers. Freeze the soup for another meal, and you will be very happy that you did.
- As this is tomato-based soup, the quantity of the tomato paste varies depending on how flavourful of your fresh tomatoes are. If you are luck to find very good quality tomato, you can use less tomato paste.