Black Bean Soup on You Tube & Hakka Cookbook Recipe Update

On the home page I promised soups for February. This one is really easy, especially if you use Eden Foods Organic Beans in a can with no BPA in the lining. While I usually buy dry beans and soak them & put them in the freezer, using as needed, canned organic beans from Eden Foods are fine, since they use no BPA in their can linings. Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic resins, epoxy resins, and other products. It is used to line cans of food, so I avoid it, because its safety is questionable by people in the health food industry. I have made the soup both ways: soaking the beans overnight and then cooking them slowly the next day in a crock pot and also using Eden’s beans. Both work, but the canned beans are quicker.

I also posted this on You Tube. Here is the link: (It is scheduled to be available @ 4 pm today.)

Black Bean Soup

I garnished one batch with onion and the this one with ripe avocado slices. Yum!


Utensils: Blender or food processor, cutting board & knife, spatula
Prep. Time: 10 minutes if beans already cooked, either canned or soaked and cooked
Cooking Time: 5 minutes to heat soup  (If making beans from scratch, allow 2 hours; can be made ahead of time)


one cup cooked black beans
3/4-1 cup water or veg. stock
one carrot, cooked or raw, grated (0ptional)
1/8-1/4 chopped onion
one garlic clove, minced
1-2 tsp. spices of your choice: salt & pepper, cayenne, or curry powder


1. Place cooked black beans in blender or food processor. Add about 3/4 cup water or stock and puree.
2. Add carrot (if using) , onion and garlic and buzz til smooth.
3. Add spices to your taste and blend one more time.taste and adjust the seasonings,if needed. Also, if too thick, add another 1/4 cup liquid.
(Soup tends to thicken when refrigerated, so if you use again the next day, you may need to add more water or stock.)

Yield: Probably enough for 3-4 portions, unless you eat it as your entree with bread and salad, then maybe 2-3 portions.


Ginger-Scented Squash, Peas, and Lily Buds


On Chinese New Year,  Sunday, Feb. 10th, I posted a review of Linda Lau Anusasananan’s wonderful book, The Hakka Cookbook from University of California Press in Berkeley. I did not have the rice wine I needed when I posted this recipe, but I purchased it at Whole Foods late Sunday and made the dish the next day. Here is a picture of the dish and my comments on a few slight changes. I have re-posted the recipe for your convenience, but please go to the link for the entire review, because it is a lovely culinary memoir. Here’s the link: or just go to Reviews on the lefty-hand side of the Home Page.


Ginger-Scented Squash, Peas, and Lily Bulbs
pages 52-53


In Meizhou, we ate this colorful combination of ginger-scented orange squash, green pea pods, and white lily bulbs.  The lily bulbs were new to me. They looked much like the small onions or large garlic cloves and tasted mildly sweet, with a slightly starchy texture and a bit of crunch. Back home, I found vacuum-packed fresh lily bulbs in an Asian supermarket.  Use shallots as an alternative. Serve as a vegetable side dish in a Chinese or Western meal; it’s a lovely companion to chicken or pork. (For me, it would be tempeh or tofu. es)

Makes 4 to 6 servings as part of a multicourse meal.

8 ounces winter squash, such as kabocha or butternut (see note)
2 fresh lily bulbs or shallots, each about 1 1/2 inches wide
3/4 cups water, or as needed
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (shaoxing) or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon fresh ginger
4 ounces snow peas or sugar snap peas, strings removed

1. Peel the squash, cut in half, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into strips about 1/4 inch thick, 1/2 inch wide, and 2 inches long to make 1 1/2 to 2 cups. If needed, use a flat mallet or hammer to help force the knife through the squash.

2. Trim off the base and any soft or discolored parts from the lily bulbs.  Separate the bulbs into layers to make about 1 cup. (If using shallots, trim the ends and cut in quarters lengthwise.  Peel and separate into layers.)

3. In a small bowl, mix the water, wine, sugar, and salt.

4. Set a 14-inch wok or 10-inch fry pan over medium high heat.  When the pan is hot, after about 1 minute, add the oil and tilt the pan to spread.  Add the ginger and squash; stir-fry to coat with oil. Add the water mixture. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until the squash is almost tender when pierced, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the lily bulbs and peas. If almost all the liquid has evaporated, add 2 to 3 more tablespoons water. Cover and cook until the peas are crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes longer.  Transfer to a  serving dish.

Author’s Note: Although you may sometimes find small kabocha or squash pieces at farmers’ markets, it’s likely you may have to buy a larger squash.  Cover and chill the leftover squash and reserve for another use.

Ellen Sue’s Notes: I followed the author’s suggestion about the leftover squash and now have the lower part of the squash to make a soup I had in Florida, which I will make over the week-end and post next week. I used butternut squash because I could not find kabocha in Whole Foods, which is unusual. I used the top and cut it in quarters and cooked it for about 10 minutes in 2 inches of water to soften the skin so I could peel it easily. Here’s how I cut it:

Because I precooked the squash for easier peeling, I did not need as much water as the recipes called for; maybe 1/2 cup would do. But don’t overcook the squash or you won’t be able to peel it without its falling apart.

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