Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht Soup

Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht Soup

Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht Soup

Soup Name:

Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht (with oxtail)

Traditional Chinese Name:

羅宋湯 (luó sòng tāng)

Nature:  Warming

Taste: Savory, sweet, and slightly sour

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

 

Did you know the secret ingredient to an HK-styled Russian Borscht is Worcestershire sauce (and some lemon juice)?

Falling off the bone oxtail?

Soft delicious veggies?

Savory and a hint of tart delicious broth?

Yes, the Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht is a classically adopted fusion soup that is very different and uniquely different to the traditional European borscht (no beetroots or cream).  Instead, it’s a tomato based beef broth and a range of choice vegetables diced small. 

I love the subtle tart flavours of the soup, but yet incredibly savory and hearty.  This soup indeed eats like a meal!

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 120 minutes 

Total time: 150 mins

Serves: 8 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 full oxtail
  • Optional pieces of beef flank
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and largely cubed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and largely cubed
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled and largely cubed2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, slicked thin
  • 3 dried dates
  • Fresh green onions

Flavouring

  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 lemon
  • 5 dried bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons or Worcestershire sauce
  • 11-12 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Cooking Instructions

  1. In your soup pot, with a bit of oil on med heat, pan fry the garlic cloves and oxtails until golden brown and fragrant (they smell so good!).  I don’t blanch and will do this instead.
  2. Add the cubed beef flanks and potatoes, allowing them to also brown nicely
  3. Add in your soup water, about 11-12 cups of water and turn on high heat
  4. I will then drop in my vegetables, tomatoes, celery, onion, carrots, and the dried dates
  5. Cover and let it come to a full boil, then reduce to med heat for another 1.5 hours
  6. Here you can now add in the flavouring of the soup (this is what really makes it distinct as a the HK-styled Russian Borscht)
  7. I will also throw in the cabbage
  8. Cover and let that simmer for another 30 minutes
  9. Garnish with fresh green onions, serve, and enjoy!

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Making a Delicious Lotus Root with Vegetables in Pork Broth Chinese Soup (with Roasted Fresh Peanuts!)

Making a Delicious Lotus Root with Vegetables in Pork Broth Chinese Soup (with Roasted Fresh Peanuts!)

Making a Delicious Lotus Root with Vegetables in Pork Broth Chinese Soup (with Roasted Fresh Peanuts!)

Soup Name:

Making a Delicious Lotus Root with Vegetables in Pork Broth Chinese Soup (with Roasted Fresh Peanuts!)

Traditional Chinese Name:

蓮藕豬骨湯 (Lián’ǒu zhū gǔ tāng)

Nature: Neutral

Taste: Sweet 

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube. 

For this post, I made 6 x 2 person portions (freezing them in packs and giving some to friends).  I didn’t really make a pot that big.  LOL.

You’ll see in the image that they fit neatly into 6 packs, which are vacuum sealed (try this vacuum seal starter kit that comes with the machine and the bags) and frozen.  That means the it’s literally a take-out-and-drop soup.  NO WORK needed!  I’ve even prepped and blanched the meat so it comes clean into the soup.  

I used a frozen pack the other day and it was AMAZING.  Literally 2 minutes of work for me first thing in the morning before my meetings.  I dropped the whole frozen pack into my rice cooker, added water to the max water line, and pressed COOK RICE.  That means, I had a delicious hearty soup ready for lunch, which I had with rice.  It was PERFECT! 

This is a great, earthy, slightly nutty light soup great for the whole family!

I know, I went a bit crazy on the portions, but stay with me 🙂  I actually made extra to freeze (and give to friends)!  Each packs are made in 2 person portions and I actually tried one in the rice cooker and it was AMAZING!  I know each device is different, so the rice cooker I’m using is a Zojirushi one, which is fantastic.  I’ve been using this brand from Hong Kong and has to rebuy in Canada.

This soup is easy to make and with common ingredients.  Lotus roots are very accessible in Canada and Hong Kong and make for an amazing meal as part of the soup with the hearty vegetables and pork ribs.

 

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 60 minutes (in rice cooker)

Total time: 90 mins

Serves: 4 bowls (2 people portion)

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. I will first pre-soak the dried mushrooms to allow them rehydrate
  2. Cut and wash your pork ribs
  3. In a small pot of cold water with a teaspoon of salt (to lower the boiling point), add your ribs to blanch and set to a high boil.  Once that boils, you can remove the pork bones
  4. Drain the pork ribs and rinse one more time with cool water to get rid of any debris, bones, or foam
  5. Peel and slice your lotus roots
  6. Peel and slice your carrots
  7. Cut your corn into bite-sized portions
  8. Using the flat side of a butcher’s knife, gently crack the peanuts and remove the fresh peanuts from the shell
  9. In a shallow pan with a little bit of oil, pan fry the peanuts with a pinch of salt until golden brown on medium heat
  10. Optional to fry the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms at this point with the peanuts
  11. In your soup pot add all the ingredients together and bring to a boil covered.  Once that boils, reduce heat and let it simmer for another 60 minutes covered.  Or you can try to use a rice cooker, which worked amazing for me!
  12. Serve and enjoy!

Tips for making this soup:

  • Use fresh lotus roots.  You’ll know they’re fresh when they are super crunchy and as you cut through it, it’s pale and looks clean.  Be sure to wash thoroughly as lotus roots do have a lot of mud as they are grown under water.
  • Buy fresh peanuts (available from Asian supermarkets).  This takes a bit of work to process, but produces deeper, darker flavours versus using pre-processed roasted peanuts (which tend to be pretty salty).  But both work just as great!
  • Pan frying mushrooms ahead of time really brings out the flavour of the dried shiitake mushrooms.

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Warming Chicken and Coconut Herbal (Healing) Chinese Soup

Warming Chicken and Coconut Herbal (Healing) Chinese Soup

Warming Chicken and Coconut Herbal (Healing) Chinese Soup

Soup Name:

Warming chicken and coconut herbal (and healing) Chinese soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

椰子雞湯 (yē zi jī tāng)

Nature:  Warming

Taste: Slightly sweet and savory

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

Oh!  This soup!  It delivered – and more!!

Warm with intense flavours of rich coconut and savory chicken, it really hits the spot when it’s cool (or cold) and you just want a warm blanket to hug you.

I made a rather large pot in the morning and grazed on it all day.  As it continued to sit in its own broth and stew away, the soup became more and more intense and became a rich, earthy tone at dinner.  You can tell this by the colour of the broth.  SUCCESS!

3 key things for this soup:

  • Don’t drink the coconut water!  Save it for the soup!
  • Use the smaller round coconuts  (brown fruit) instead of the traditional larger coconuts.  Their flesh is sweeter and so is the coconut water.
  • Pan fry the chicken thighs (rather than blanch) to give it a savory, toasted flavour to the soup. 
What’s involved?

Prep time: 45 mins

Cook time: min 2 hours

Total time: 2 hours 45 mins

Serves: 6 large bowls

Ingredients
    Cooking Instructions
    1. Prepare your coconut.  This means, poking holes at the top, drain the coconut water in a separate bowl.  Using a hammer, just smash smash smash the coconut to shreds.  Remove the outer shell from the coconut meat and cut into 2×2 inch pieces.
    2. Cut your chicken thighs into 3 pieces and in your soup pot (or a shallow pan), pan fry on medium heat until the skin and edges are crispy.
    3. Add in your water to your soup pot and set it on high until it completely boils
    4. Cut your cut into quarters and drop into the soup
    5. Drop in all the Chinese herbs
    6. Pour in the reserved coconut water
    7. Cover and boil for 20 minutes and then reduce boil to a medium simmer for another 1 hour and 40 minutes
    8. Taste, salt as needed, serve and enjoy!

    What I love about soup is that it doesn’t go from clear water to broth in the snap of a finger.  At what point does it make this transition?  Fascinating.

    Do you see how deep, dark, and rich that broth looks?

    The best thing about this soup post making is that you can eat it all!  The chicken thigh is falling off the bone, tender, and tastes like coconut.  I don’t even need to dip it in soy sauce like I do with pork shank.  The corn is bulbous and some of them are filled with soup.  I don’t even need to butter it!  And the coconut meat is soft, flaky and rich.  You can really taste the coconut flavours.  This soup was super nice.  I’ll need to make another batch.  The only downfall is that preparing a coconut is like going to battle – me vs the coconut.

    Here are some tips on using fresh coconut in Chinese soups! 

    • Reserve the coconut water (where possible!).  It’s delicious, sweet, and adds an amazing fragrance to the soup!  I ended up drinking one because I had 2.  LOL.
    • Use a hammer to smash it open.  I’ve seen people do it with a butcher’s knife (back side), but hammer works!  
    • Put a towel to absorb the impact of the smash underneath the coconut.
    • You can use a butter knife to cut out the flesh if it sticks to the shell.
    • Rinse the freed coconut flesh under water to remove debris, shell, dirt before adding to your soup.
    • Boil for at least 1 hour to soften slight, but coconut meat doesn’t really become that soft.  It’ll stay slightly crunchy and textured.
    • Don’t overcomplicate the soup with a lot of ingredients to allow the highlight of the soup (the coconut) to shine!

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    Warming Chinese herbal tea for cold days (post run hydration)

    Warming Chinese herbal tea for cold days (post run hydration)

    Warming Chinese herbal tea for cold days (post run hydration)

    Tea Name:

    Warming red dates, longans, and red and black wolfberries Chinese herbal tea (which I use for post cold day runs).  In fact, I also add this into a thermal flask for the car post colder rides (which is like mid September in Toronto!).  Where’s Hong Kong weather?

    Traditional Chinese Name:

    红枣茶 (hóng zǎo chá)

    Nature:  Warming

    Taste: Sweet

    For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

    OK, honestly, I really feel the temperature variance in my lungs when it hits 13C or lower in Toronto.

    This means, I’m already going into yin excess (too much yin in the body thanks to both cold and wind into the lungs first… and then ultimately, if I don’t address it, it goes into the body).

    I think if it goes any lower in temperature, I’m taking out the base layers, the face buffs, the gloves, and ultimately, the thicker wear.

    Here’s my post cold run routine:

    1. Slow down the pace. The slower the air turnover, the less yin I bring into the body. This means running in zone 2 or slower. Save the intervals for the indoor treadmill or the bike trainer (also indoors).
      2. I will also carry warm water with me to sip in a small plastic holder.
      3. As soon as I’m home, I’ll make this herbal tea with boiling water.
      4. Take a hot shower and spend 5 extra minutes to breathe in warm steam to the lungs.
      5. Sip on my tea all day (adding boiling water to it 2-3 times until it runs flavorless).

    You can check this article that explains the balance of yin and yang in the body, AN INTRODUCTION TO YIN AND YANG IN OUR EVERYDAY SOUPS AND FOOD. 

    The tea is primarily warmed by the red dates and longans, offering a sweet yang enhancing experience that is delicious and soothing.  This is one of my favourite and easiest teas to make from your Chinese Soup Pantry!

    However, I love adding both the red and black goji berries to give it a little more sweetness and that tartness.  Goji berries are perfect for yin excess conditions (avoid if you’ve got patterns of excess heat) and are great for the eyes, liver, and kidneys.

    For those interested in the tea cup with infuser and lid, you can find it here through this link.

    Some or all of these links may contain Amazon product referral links; as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. If you decide to use them, I would be grateful. If not, I am always thankful for your continued support! ❤️❤️❤️

     

     

     

    What’s involved?

     Prep time: 2 mins

    Cook time: 3 mins (steep time)

    Total time: 5 mins

    Serves: 1 cup

    Ingredients
      Cooking Instructions
      1. You can put all the ingredients into an individual empty tea bag for easier management of the ingredients
      2. Drop all the ingredients into a ceramic or glass mug
      3. Add in boiling water to 1 cup full
      4. Cover and steep for 2 minutes
      5. No additional sweeteners needed for this tea!
      6. Serve and enjoy!
      Any benefits?
      • This Chinese herbal tea is warming and soothing
      • This tea tonifies and nourishes the blood and both red dates and longans calm the spirit, so this tea is perfect for taking some moments to yourself
      • Great for traveling, on the go, or in the office
      • Super easy to make

      For videos, visit us on YouTube.

      You can actually make these little tea bags or pouches yourself!  The ingredients are all part of my standard Chinese Soup kitchen pantry and then I use disposable and decomposable tea bags!

      Use disposable, environmentally friendly, degradable tea bags!

      There are various individual tea bags you can find out there!

      The two I’ve been using are these Japanese ones (sourced from Hong Kong) that fold over.  I’m not sure if they are degradable completely, but finishing up a batch I took back with me.

      I would recommend these disposable and environmentally friendly tea bags from amazon.  I also bought some and now have a pile of tea bag holders sitting in my drawer!  But I do love how convenient they are and will pre-make my own tea bags to bring to work or pre-fill in my thermal mug for drinking on the go!

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      Green radish with carrots & corn in a Chinese herbal pork broth

      Green radish with carrots & corn in a Chinese herbal pork broth

      Green radish with carrots & corn in a Chinese herbal pork broth

      Soup Name:

      Green radish with carrots & corn in a Chinese Herbal Pork Broth

      Traditional Chinese Name:

      紅青蘿蔔湯 (hóng qing luóbo tang)

      Nature:  Cooling

      Taste: Sweet and savory

      For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

      My parents came home last night from a cruise from Italy and are jet lagging and there’s nothing more warming, homecoming, and beautiful than a familiar Chinese soup waiting for them!

      I made an easy green radish, carrots, and corn pork herbal broth.  The trick to this soup is to really let it boil out.  I made it early morning and then pretty much let it sit in the thermal pot all day until dinner.  

      TIP:  This soup actually tastes even better left overnight!  Don’t forget to boil it before you sleep and don’t open the lid or cover (this will ensure that everything is killed off and isn’t reintroduced, this is how they manufacture canned food and soups in large scale!).  Re-boil the next day and you can still drink it.

       

      Traditionally in the Cantonese soup repertoire, this green radish and carrot soup is cooling and often recommended if you’re feeling heaty, want to cool the body, or it’s hot and humid in the summer and autumn months.

      It is also commonly found as a dinner soup, where restaurants will serve it at the beginning of the meal known as “lai tong” (or aka, free soup).  You’ll find the bits of carrots and green radish chopped up and along with pork (or chicken).

      What’s involved?

      Prep time: 20 mins

      Cook time: 2-3 hours

      Total time: 2 hours and 20 mins

      Serves: 10 bowls

      Ingredients
      Cooking Instructions
      1. Boil both your soup water (3L) and another pot to blanch the pork bones in (enough to cover all the bones)
      2. Once your blanching water boils, gently drop in the pork bones and boil on high for 5-7 minutes, until the brown foam begins to form on top of the water.  You can turn off the stove at this time.
      3. Prepare your vegetables by peeling and chopping into large bite-sizes
      4. Once your soup water boils, transfer the pork bones to your soup pot.  You can either rinse them gently in the water, or do a water rinse under warm water to remove all the debris and foam stuck to the pork bones
      5. Drop in all the ingredients (herbs + vegetables) together
      6. Cover and boil on high for 30 minutes
      7. Transfer to a thermal pot for at least 2-3 hours
      8. Re-boil for 10 minutes prior to serving
      If you’d like to quick boil this faster, I’d suggest cutting up the pieces smaller, almost cubed.

      Be sure to also buy fresh, firm green radish.  You’ll know they’re fresh because they are super hard to touch and you can’t really squeeze them.  When they get soft, squishy (but not leaky), they’re already drying out and aging.

      This combination of green radish and carrots are amazingly delicious!  Some people will also add white radishes, which makes the soup even more cooling, and corn is also a nice addition!  Enjoy!

       

      Q&A

      A huge thank you to my Instagram community for the questions as they also hugely benefit other readers who may be thinking the same thing!  

       

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      Papaya and Snow Fungus in a Pork Herbal Soup

      Papaya and Snow Fungus in a Pork Herbal Soup

      Papaya and Snow Fungus in a Pork Herbal Soup

      Tea Name:

      Papaya and Snow Fungus in a Pork Herbal Soup

      Chinese Name: 

      木瓜雪耳豬骨湯 (mù gua xuě ěr zhū tāng)

      Nature:  Warm and ideal for moisturizing the body and lungs, supporting digestion and soothing the stomach.

      Taste:  Sweet

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      I simply love snow fungus!  And this combination is a beautiful one in that at times, you’ll find this a dessert and other times, a soup!  I know, super strange.  But the combination of papaya + snow fungus can swing both sweet and savory! Which makes it so amazingly diverse!

      What makes this combination so amazing?  It’s a combination of nourishing and lubricating the lung, stomach, and spleen with the papaya and the snow fungus.  This soup can soothe and aid in digestion, heal the stomach and stomachaches, and support lung treatment in coughs and dryness.  And of course, the added benefits of the plant collagen that is found in snow fungus (which, by the way can hold 500 times its weight in water!).  Reference this interesting article in the National Library of Medicine regarding snow fungus and its composition of collagen.

      This is an easy to make, nutritious soup that is packed full of Vitamin C and beta-carotene. It is deliciously sweet and refreshing and ideal for autumn or winter days. You can use chicken to make it more warm and also add a variety of other ingredients to make it a meal.

      Regardless of weather, this soup is designed to be moisturizing (from the inside) and perfect if you’ve got dry skin, dry lips, dry tongue (this is one key indicator from a TCM perspective).  In fact, some Chinese people claim that it’s part of their skin care regime to be consuming foods of this nature.  Bird’s nest is another one of those delicacies that call into this category of “self care”.  And you will often here Chinese ladies (and mothers) tell you how great this recipe is to stay looking “young”!

       

      What’s involved?
      Prep time: 15 mins

      Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins

      Total time: 1 hour 45 mins

      Serves: 8 bowls of soup

      Ingredients
      Cooking Instructions
      1. Rinse and soak dried snow fungus in a bowl of enough water to immerse it in for about an hour (or until soft)
      2. In a separate pot of boiling water, blanch pork bones for 5 minutes, set aside and cool
      3. Boil your soup water
      4. Wash and cut papaya into large edible cubes
      5. Using scissors, cut out the middle of the snow fungus (the hardest part) and cut the other portions into edibles pieces
      6. When your soup water boils, add in the pork bones, papaya and Chinese herbs.  I made this soup in the morning and set it into the thermal pot for the whole day, coming back to the soup in the afternoon and then dropping in the snow fungus to cook for another 2 hours.  Depending on how soft you want the snow fungus, I’d say at least an hour.
      7. Boil on high for 30 minutes and reduce to medium heat for another hour
      8. Serve and enjoy!
      Tips and tricks:

      • Here’s a quick video on how to prepare snow fungus for Chinese soups
      • Be sure to cut out the hard middle, or buy snow fungus that doesn’t have the middle and is broken up
      • I like to use red papaya instead of green papaya for this version (green is more traditionally known to support milk production in post partum Chinese soups)
      • You can opt to keep the skin on the papaya during soup boil so it doesn’t disintegrate and break down into the soup
      • Snow fungus cooks and softens quite quickly.  Depending on how soft you’d like it, you can drop it in about 30 minutes before you serve, although I like it super soft and some of it dissolved into the soup (for that collagen benefit), so I drop it along with all the other ingredients.

       

      EQUIPMENT USED

      To answer your questions on what equipment I'm using, I've built a section here where you can find and explore what I'm using to make soups.  Ingredients are a little harder, but I will do my best as I source them around.  However, you can always message me on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or Facebook, and I will reply and try to point you in some direction!  

      A great help for fish or small bones in soups, including small ingredients such as barley, fox nuts, spices just to keep everything together.

      A MUST HAVE in the kitchen!  Energy saving, cost effective, and perfect for busy chefs!  Check out my article here that explains it.

      Another MUST HAVE in the kitchen for soups!  It's so fine that it will scoop off the top oil and foam layer when using meats in your soup!

      I use these types of stove top safe tea pots to make most of my herbal teas!

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