Hearty soups and stews | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 02, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:49 AM, March 02, 2021

Hearty soups and stews

A bowl of soup warms us right up from within, giving us a core warmth that is sure to spread to every part of the body. Since soups, stews or broths are mostly liquid, they are a great way to stay hydrated and full. They give our immune system a boost and helps to stave off cold, flu, or any kind of seasonal discomfort as they are a great antidote for times when we are sick.

Most soups are loaded with disease-fighting nutrients, especially if we load up with fresh garlic, onion, ginger along with colourful vegetables and savoury herbs and spices.

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Here are some fabulous soup and stew recipes to keep you warm and healthy this season.


Pho is Vietnamese soup made with 'Ga/chicken' or beef broth, rice noodles, various herbs, and thinly sliced meat, tofu or poultry. Due to its nutritious ingredients and high protein content, it may offer several benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved joint health.


To make the broth —

1 large onion

1 piece thumb-sized ginger

2 pods star anise

1 long cinnamon stick

4-6 black peppercorns

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp sugar

Salt to taste

1 whole chicken

2-3 litres water

100g rice noodles

For garnish —

Chopped onions 

1 spring onion

Red/green chilli

Lemon juice

Bean sprouts

Basil leaf/cilantro/culantro

Crispy fried shallots


Toast cinnamon, star anise, and black peppercorn in a dry skillet over medium heat to release their aroma, or about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer and set aside.

In the same skillet, place whole onion, ginger, and roast them over high heat until they are blackened outside and oozing their juice, or about 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, slice ginger, and peel onion and remove onion's tip and root.

In a large pot, place chicken along with water, fish sauce, salt, sugar, roasted onion, ginger, toasted spices, and bring it to boil. Hard boil soup for 10-15 minutes, and meanwhile skimming residue off the surface of soup carefully. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour and skimming as needed.

After 1 hour, simmer, remove chicken from soup, make thin slices and set aside. Meanwhile, prepare rice noodles by following directions of the package you are using.

In a serving bowl, place cooked noodles, sliced chicken pieces, chopped onion, spring onion, chopped chilli, basil, cilantro or any herb. Pour enough hot soup to cover the noodles. Sprinkle fried shallots right on top and lemon juice as required.



200g rohu or any fish, cube cut

100g dill

2 medium sized onions, chopped 

½ tsp chopped ginger

¼ tsp turmeric powder

1 small tomato, chopped

2-3 green chillies, sliced

Salt to taste

1 tbsp oil

2 cups water


In a large cooking pot, place fish cubes, chopped onion, ginger, chillies, tomato, salt, oil, turmeric powder and give a good squeezing mix by using a clean hand. Pour water, cover with a lid and stew it in medium-low flame for 8-10 minutes. Add dill and simmer for 1-2 minutes in low heat with covered lid.



200g ground meat

2 tbsp chopped spring onion

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp oyster sauce

½ tsp sugar

Salt to taste

¼ tsp white pepper powder

1 tsp sesame oil

1 egg white

1 tbsp corn flour

Wonton wrapper

1 litre vegetable/chicken stock

2-3 baby bok choy


In a large mixing bowl, put ground meat, spring onion, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, salt, white pepper powder, sesame oil, egg white and corn flour. Mix well by hand for about 2-3 minutes to combine all the ingredients to make a smooth wonton filling.

Take a wonton wrapper and put about 1 teaspoon of meat filling in the centre and damp all edges with water by pressing a wet finger all over to seal the filling. Fold or wrap the wonton as preferred.

Heat the stock in medium-low heat. Place wonton into the boiling stock one by one, make sure not to overcrowd the pot. Simmer wonton for about 10-15 minutes. Once the wontons are floating on the pot, it means they are well cooked. Cut all baby bok choy in half and place inside the soup pot and simmer for 2 minutes with a covered lid. Transfer into a bowl and garnish with chilli oil.


It is a traditional braised chicken soup of the Chakma tribe from the Chittagong Hill Tracts, known as 'amile-huro-juice.'

Roselle is a perennial shrub herb that has many amazing health benefits and has been used as a therapeutic plant for centuries. The sweet and tangy taste of roselle leaves and fruits makes the chicken broth more flavourful, delicious as well as nutritious.   


1 whole chicken

2 large onions chopped

1 tbsp garlic minced

1 tbsp ginger minced

1 tsp crushed cumin powder

½ tsp turmeric powder

4-5 sliced green chillies

¼ cup oil

1-2 litres water, according to your chicken size

10-15 pieces roselle fruit

Salt to taste


Cut the chicken into small pieces and transfer into a large pot, along with onion, ginger, garlic, salt, oil, turmeric, cumin, chillies. Mix well by hand and heat the pot in high-medium flame and stir it for a few minutes until water gets dry and oil comes out. Then pour water, cover with a lid and start braising in medium heat until the meat gets well-cooked.

When meat gets tender, add roselle fruit, cover the lid and simmer for another 3-5 minutes in low heat. Adjust soup quantity by adding extra water or heating for a few more minutes.




¼ cup kidney beans

¼ cup chopped carrot

¼ cup chopped cauliflower

¼ cup chopped tomato

¼ cup chopped onion

1 tsp chopped garlic

½ tsp cumin powder

¼ tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp oil

Salt to taste

1 litre water

Chopped coriander, for garnish

1 tsp butter, or clarified butter

½ tsp paprika powder


Soak kidney beans overnight. Heat a large cooking pot in medium heat with oil. Sauté chopped onions and garlic until a nice aroma is released. Put drained beans, turmeric, cumin, salt, water and cook for 20 minutes. Then put carrot, tomato, cauliflower and cook for another 20 minutes.

Adjust the soup quantity with extra water if needed. Blend beans and vegetables using a hand blender and make smooth creamy soup. Transfer into a serving bowl. Garnish with chopped coriander and paprika oil.

Tip: To make paprika oil, melt butter/ghee in low heat pan for a minute, put paprika into hot melted butter, stir quickly and garnish on top of the soup.


Food and Photo: Chaingmi Talukder Lena


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