Ian Lai’s Asian Inspired Soup

May is Asian Heritage month.  The City of Richmond and Richmond Food Security Society once again present Chef Mr. Ian Lai in demonstrations of healthy, fun, affordable and locally sourced Asian inspired cooking. Cooking demonstrations that will inspire you to create fresh and tasty food from the best Richmond and Lower Mainland ingredients. This is Ian Lai’s third year involvement in this event.


Ian Lai shared with us why he keeps coming back to this event. As an Asian with heritage from Canton, China but grew up in South Africa, Ian continues to search what it means to be Asian. He even made a trip to Beijing recently but still unable to find his answer.

Ian realizes that he identifies his Asian heritage through food as he spends a lot of time cooking and enjoying food with Asian flare.


The first recipe that Ian demonstrated is a Mixed Vegetable Chicken Soup. It is a light broth loaded with lots of seasonal vegetables.


  • chicken bones from 1 chicken
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 2 pieces dried tangerine peel
  • 1 chunk of ginger, cut into half and smashed
  • 8 to 10 fresh shiitake mushrooms, remove and reserve the stems, slice or quarter
  • 1 package of enoki mushroom, remove ends and loosen the needles
  • 1 medium zucchini, rough chopped
  • 4 to 5 new potatoes or red potatoes (not russet), diced
  • 6 to 8 baby bok choy, cut into half
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oyster sauce
  • chopped green onions and cilantro for garnishing
  • sambal oelek, optional


Source: Ian Lai

P/S: some of the ingredients above are for another recipe.


Chicken-Broth-with-Matzo-Ball-5-300x200Ian started with a demonstration of how to debone a chicken.

Ian said it is much economical to buy a whole a chicken.

Asian-Inspired-Soup-5Ian used the bones from the chicken to make a light chicken broth.

Ian flavoured the broth with star anise, tangerine peel and ginger.

Ian started the chicken broth from cold water.

Asian-Inspired-Soup-3Star anise and orange peel can be purchased from most Chinese groceries stores.

Ian gets his Asian groceries from T&T.

Asian-Inspired-Soup-6Ian also threw in the stems from the fresh shiitake mushrooms and a few green onions, cut into one inch length to add flavour to the broth.

Once the broth came to a full boil, lower the heat to simmer for 30 minutes.

Simmering in low heat will prevent the stocks from becoming greasy.

Remove scums from the broth a few times during the simmering process.

Allow the scums to firm up before removing.

Asian-Inspired-Soup-7Strain the broth after 30 minutes. You will have a clear golden broth which is not cloudy. This basic chicken broth can be frozen.
Asian-Inspired-Soup-8Add the fresh shiitake mushrooms, zucchini, potatoes and enoki mushrooms.

Enoki mushroom needles has a silky texture. It is Arkensen’s favourite mushroom.

Season the broth with oyster sauce.

For those who likes their soup spicy, you can add some sambal oelek.


Asian-Inspired-Soup-9When the potatoes are softened, add the baby bok choy.
Asian-Inspired-Soup-10Once the baby bok choy softened, add beaten eggs.

Shut off heat and cover for a minute to allow the eggs to set.

Garnish with chopped green onion and cilantro.

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