Malayalis attuned to beating humidity were in for a big shock when the January weather took an overnight about-turn from sticky to chilly. This is perhaps a first for Kerala leaving folks shivering in the early morning fog. The cold season has given reason enough for another first, a soup to warm up people. The Taiwanese beef noodle soup being ladled out at 'The soup Shop' on the Kaloor-Kadavanthra stretch in Kochi is doing just that.
Think soup and what pops up in mind are sweet-corn chicken, mutton, crab, or veg varieties. However, contrary to expectations, the serve here is a bowlful of piping hot soup with the aroma of tender beef and fresh peppercorns filling the room. In pure Taiwanese style, here's a bowlful high on the health factor.
Beef stock is set aside while the meat gets cooked. What's added to the beef are salt, tomatoes, masalas, pepper, and bay leaves. The whole stuff is left to simmer over a low flame for about three hours. The pieces and the stock are then set aside. Huge chunks of meat are put in to get the sufficient quantity of stock. The chunks are diced into smaller bits only when the order is placed. The stock is then once again boiled along with broccoli and other vegetables as per customers' choice. Generous helpings of beef slices and pre-cooked noodles are blended in, in a final act.
No maida here to thicken the soup. What goes in are rice noodles with celery, lettuce, and spring onion for garnish.
As the 'Soup Shop' has started catering to the soup and salad health combo, a taste of the chef-special grilled chicken salad seasoned with olive oil and lemon is highly recommended.
Coming back to the beef soup, it's free of cream or corn flour padding. Beef tastes just like beef. The tasty soup packed with beef and fibre aplenty is a complete meal in itself. And with garlic bread to go for a bite, the broth is simply divine. This is no appetizer, but a full meal.