Heirloom Dish – Shanghai Borscht Soup

In this episode of Heirloom Dish, we bring you a dish that evolved over 3 different countries and transcend across three generations. See how this family shares their joy, affections and culture through their Heirloom Dish.

Borscht Soup
Borscht  is a sour soup popular in several Eastern European cuisines, including Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Belarusian, Lithuanian, Romanian, and Ashkenazi Jewish cuisines. The variety most commonly associated with the name in English is of Ukrainian origin and includes beetroots as one of the main ingredients, which gives the dish a distinctive red color. It shares the name, however, with a wide selection of sour-tasting soups without beetroots, such as sorrel-based green borscht, rye-based white borscht and cabbage borscht.

Borscht derives from an ancient soup originally cooked from pickled stems, leaves and umbels of common hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium), a herbaceous plant growing in damp meadows, which lent the dish its Slavic name. With time, it evolved into a diverse array of tart soups, among which the beet-based red borscht has become the most popular. It is typically made by combining meat or bone stock with sautéed vegetables, which – as well as beetroots – usually include cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes and tomatoes. Depending on the recipe, borscht may include meat or fish, or be purely vegetarian; it may be served either hot or cold; and it may range from a hearty one-pot meal to a clear broth or a smooth drink. It is often served with smetana or sour cream, hard-boiled eggs or potatoes, but there exists an ample choice of more involved garnishes and side dishes, such as uszka or pampushky, that can be served with the soup.

Its popularity has spread throughout Eastern Europe and the former Russian Empire, and – by way of migration – to other continents. In North America, borscht is often linked with either Jews or Mennonites, the groups who first brought it there from Europe. Today, several ethnic groups claim borscht, in its various local guises, as their own national dish and consume it as part of ritual meals within Eastern Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, and Jewish religious traditions.

Article from: wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borscht

History of  Haipai Cuisine In Shanghai
After Shanghai opened to outside, Western culture was gradually brought into Shanghai, and West restaurants began to set up in the city. According to documentary records, the first Western restaurant, Xiang Fan, was founded in Fuzhou Road. At that time, Western dishes were also known as “Fan dishes”. Although Western food became fashionable, it was still hard for the Chinese people to adapt to some types of Western cooking, such as medium rare beefsteak. Shanghai Western cuisine absorbed the essence of different Western cooking traditions and gradually formed different styles of food: French, Italian, Russian, British, German style, etc. French-style cuisine focused on fresh materials and exquisite food; British-style cuisine focused on seasoning, and Italian-style cuisine focused on the original flavor, so each has its own characteristics. After the October Revolution in the Soviet Union in 1917, a large wave of Russian white émigrés poured into China, and in particular in Shanghai. They were named luó sòng. The Shanghai Russians opened more than 40 Russian restaurants in the Xiafei Road (Avenue Joffre, now Middle Huaihai Road), in an area which at that time became known as “Little Russia”. Their two dishes: borscht and buttered bread (butterbrot) gained a great popularity in Shanghai due to their low price. By the end of 1937, Shanghai had more than 200 Haipai restaurants, most of them were located in Xiafei Road and Fuzhou Road.

The establishment of the rule of the Communist Party of China was a turning point in the development of Shanghai Western cuisine. A large number of Western-style restaurants closed down during this period, and only in the Huangpu District 18 restaurants remained after adopting the pattern of public-private Joint Management. Besides, due to a shortage of supplies at the time, “going to western restaurants” was not a common thing for ordinary people. However, the Shanghai people, whether because of love for Western food or memories of the ancient time, still tried every means to enjoy western food in this difficult era. One way was to use a variety of local ingredients instead of importing Western ingredients, such as using Chinese mitten crabs instead of sea crabs, self-roll soda crackers instead of bread powder etc. Western food was completely removed from China after the Cultural Revolution. Back then, the famous Western restaurant the Red House was renamed to the Red Flag Restaurant, and offered Chinese traditional dishes. Since the reform and opening up in China, the number of authentic Chinese restaurants in Shanghai has increased dramatically. On the contrary, the numbers of Western-style restaurants that offer Haipai dishes have been declined gradually, and a lot of Western restaurants shut off in the 1990s.

Shanghai-style borscht
Shanghai-style borscht Being quite different from its Russian origin, the Chinese-style borscht (luó sòng tāng), originated in Harbin, close to the Russian border in northeast China, and has spread as far as Shanghai and Hong Kong.  A Shanghai variety appeared when the Russian emigries settled down in the former French Concession in the early 20th century. The recipe was changed by removing beetroot and using ketchup to color the soup as well as to add to its sweetness, because Shanghai’s climate was bad for planting beets and the soup’s original taste of sour was alien for the local people. Later they usually fried the ketchup in oil to reduce its taste of sour, then put white sugar in the soup to make it both sour and sweet. Some recipe would contain beef soup, sausages and potatoes. As more and more people made borscht at home, its recipes changed to please the different tastes of its makers. The soup is often accompanied by a butterbrot.

Article from : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haipai_cuisine

Servings: 3 person 

- 300g of beef or 1 can of luncheon meat
- 4 to 5 Tomatoes
-1/2 Cabbage
- 1 Onion
- 2 Potatoes
- 50g of Tomatoes Sauce (optional)
- 3 Clove of garlic
- 2 Carrot
-  1 teaspoon of milk (optional)
-  Mum secret recipe, flour 10g
-  Pork Stock

No adding of seasoning


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *