Nido Soup is the Filipino version of the Chinese Bird’s Nest Soup. The name came from a place in El Nido, Palawan (An island in the South West part of the Philippines) where these nests are harvested. This dish is a really expensive delicacy not just in the Philippine cuisine but as well as the Chinese cuisine as the nests came from cave swifts as it known for producing saliva nests which attributes to the unique gelatinous texture of this soup. Another attribute that makes this ingredient expensive is that these cup shaped nests can only be found in really high cave walls which makes it extremely difficult to harvest. These limestone caves look similar to the island in the movie “The Beach”, and there geographical formations can only be found in few regions like in Southeast Asia. To get an idea of how much this dish would cost, a typical restaurant in Hong Kong a serving of this delicacy would cost at least US$30 and a kilo of it would cost somewhere around US$2,000.
As many Chinese believed like most of their delicacies this dish have some health benefits like better digestion, better immune system and it acts as an aphrodisiac as well. The nest itself has high concentration of calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium. This dish may not appeal you especially if you think its main ingredient came from a bird’s saliva but it is indeed healthy and taste really good.
100g dried bird’s nest (Note: this may be hard to find, so you can make a mock one by replacing the birds nest with 1 bundle bean threads and 1 tsp honey to the ingredients)
100g chicken meat, cooked and flaked
1 pc smoked ham, chopped into really small squares
6 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
2 egg whites
2 tbsp cornstarch, mixed in 1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 white onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup corn
fresjly ground black pepper
1. Soak the birds nest in water for 12 hrs, then drain and rinse in running water. Make sure the nest is clean. If you are using a mock version, soak bean threads for 30 minutes before using.
2. Flake the chicken pieces further until it resembles a floss consistency, you can achieve this by using a mortar and pestle.
3. Now sauté onions in a small amount of oil until it become translucent.
4. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes. Now using a fine sieve transfer the soup to another pot separating the sautéed onions.
5. Now bring the stock again to a boil then add the birds nest, corn and ham. Simmer for 30 minutes.
6. Now add the chicken bit by bit while stirring the soup then add the sherry and dissolved cornstarch.
7. Lightly beat egg whites then gently fold gently making sure it will not blend with the soup. Simmer for 3 more minutes, season with freshly ground black pepper then serve.