Russian Soup (or 羅松湯 in Chinese) is a childhood favorite of mine. Prior to 1949, Shanghai had a large foreign population, including approximately 25,000 Russians. A Russian man, his Chinese wife and their two daughters even lived in the same apartment building as my family. They moved back to Russia after the Communists took over China, though I doubt Stalin Russia was any better. I hope they didn't end up in the gulags, scary times. Anyhow, Russian Soup somehow caught on in Shanghai and bacame a staple of Shanghainese homecooking.
These are the ingredients: a few potatoes, half a dozen or so tomatoes, one large onion, cabbage and beef, cut everything into 3/4 inch cubes or squares.
The cooking part could not be simpler:
1. Quickly boil the beef in hot water and rinse (I do this to get rid of impurities)
2. Combine beef and potatoes and add water
3. When 1/2 way cooked, add onions, cabbage and tomato
4. Cook a little more and it is ready, season anyway you want, I usually put a little salt and pepper
The beauty of this dish is it stays well, you can leave it in the fridge, or freeze it and it tastes as yummy as the day it was made...
Here are a few pictures of Shanghai in the 1920s-30s -- a little bit of cultural background to the European origin of this "Shanghainese" dish.
Siberian Fur Store on Bubbling Well Road