Turn leftover rice into a delicious, warming congee with shrimp and yams

Turn leftover rice into a delicious, warming congee with shrimp and yams

Turn leftover rice into a delicious, warming congee with shrimp and yams

Soup Name:

Shrimp Congee with Fresh Yams and Lettuce

Traditional Chinese Name:

蝦粥 (xiā zhōu)

Nature: Neutral

Taste: Sweet 

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube. 

Want something easy?  Want something delicious?

This is the perfect lunch to make in 30 minutes with leftover rice.  Instead of going the traditional fried rice route (which I usually do), I went with a delicious, warming, and kind of a random mix of ingredients that blended nicely.

The key is the congee base.  I defrosted 10 shelled shrimp using the their creamy heads as the flavour base.  And then added ingredients I found in the fridge that would go nicely.

It was super easy to make and so yummy!  I had about 2 bowls of leftover rice in the fridge, so it was just perfect because I pretty much grazed on it from lunch until dinner!

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 30 minutes 

Total time: 40 mins

Serves: 6 bowls (2 people portion)

Ingredients

  • 10 shelled shrimp, keeping the heads

  • 5 pieces of garlic, diced
  • 1 yam, peeled and cubed
  • Some lettuce (I used half a romaine)
  • Fresh green onions
  • 2 bowls of leftover white rice
  • 7 cups of water
  • Salt to taste

Cooking Instructions

  1. Remove the heads of the shrimp and in your pot, add some oil and diced garlic and saute on medium heat until fragrant
  2. Deshell and devein your shrimp and marinate with a bit of soy sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper to taste
  3. Add in 7 cups of cold water and cover, allowing that to come to a boil
  4. Once that boils, scoop out the shrimp heads and foam (the garlic will also come with it, which is OK)
  5. Add in your leftover rice and cubed yam.  Cover and reduce to a low-medium heat and let that boil for 15 minutes.
  6. Now add in your shrimp and diced lettuce.  Cover and boil for 5 minutes.
  7. Once it all boils nicely, mix it around and garnish with fresh green onions.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
  9. Salt as needed.

Tips for making this congee:

  • The shrimp heads are key in this congee, which is what creates that delicious congee base
  • I tried to blend ingredients that would go nicely with the shrimp flavour (so you can get creative here).  Carrots, potatoes, or onions would also compliment.  [I had tofu in my fridge and thought about adding that with seaweed, but to be honest, not sure seaweed would go with this blend!]
  • It’s quick boil because the rice is already cooked (which is typically the longest to cook since it’s raw, but that’s why this congee can be made in 30 minutes)
  • Use small, diced cuts for quick boil soups or congee (they cook faster)

For videos, visit us on YouTube. 

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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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    What basic equipment do I need to get started in making Chinese soups?

    What basic equipment do I need to get started in making Chinese soups?

    WHAT EQUIPMENT IS NEEDED TO MAKE AMAZING CHINESE SOUPS?

    Theoretically, a giant pot is all you need.  I mean, my ancestors certainly did it that way!  But of course, with technology and innovation comes a suite of tools that help us save effort, time, and resources in making delicious and amazing Chinese soups!
    One guiding principle in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the yin yang theory.  In the natural world, there exists a balance between 2 opposing and co-existing forces and yet, they also exist in each other.  Our bodies, minds, and souls are designed the same way in that to be healthy, we need to be in harmony between these 2 bipolar states.  Yin is receptive and passive, calm and slow, embodying cold and damp qualities (when we are sleeping).  Yang is its exact opposite in aggressive and active, embodying heat, dryness, and movement (when we are awake).

    One of our mission at The Chinese Soup Lady is to bring these principles into the foods and drinks we consume in order to support harmony.

    You can explore more about some Traditional Chinese Medicine theories in these posts.

    Links to all products below.  Please do support me if you wish to purchase through my amazon associates link.  Thanks so much for your continued support to produce content!

    💗💗💗

     

    What equipment do you need to make amazing Chinese soups?

     

    SOUP POT!

    Any pot will do.  I mean, any good quality, large pot, easy-to-clean, easy-to-use, sustainable, long life pot will do!  This is your life as a soup, in that pot!  I have a few, but the one I will also default to is my thermal pot.  I also use a cast iron one if I’m doing an all-in-one fry first and soup later.

    You can find a Shuttle Chef Thermal Soup Pot here.  However, if you’re in Canada and can access Zojirushi products, that’s the one I’m using both in Hong Kong and in Toronto.

    I will admit, I also use my rice cooker to make soup!!  It’s possible!  This makes 3-4 portions as I have a 5 cup sized Zojirushi rice cooker.  You can check out this video on how I was experimenting with making soup using a rice cooker because I was curious on how well it would turn out.  As it turns out, time and life savers for those busy bodied people!!

    You can buy my exact rice cooker here on amazon.  It is AMAZING!

     

    OIL SCOOPER!

    A must have if you’re planning on using any ingredients that have oil, meat debris, or little pieces that will float up and out.  These fine meshed scoopers pick up almost anything except the soup.  I’ll use them right after some of the meats boil or right before service.  My mom (grandma) actually uses it like a sieve and pours out soup through it to catch anything her grandchildren may find in the soup.  That’s definitely another way to get creative with this tool!

    I ended up buying a sturdier oil scooper here from Amazon.  I’ve also tried the $2 ones from Temu or the local Chinese supermarket, but these flip and flop around and end up snapping at the head over time.

     

    SOUP BAG (FISH BAG, HERBAL BAG, MESH BAG)

    This is also an amazing tool to have if you’ve got a lot of small herbs (such as barley, beans, apricot kernals, dried flowers) or any fish (especially smaller fish with bones).  This will keep these ingredients together so you don’t have to wade through them or sieve them out of the soup.  I am also a fan of the decomposable and environment-friendly ones, especially one that are reusable!  Just throw out all the used ingredients, flip inside out, and rinse it out with washing fluid like you would a towel.

    Here’s are the soup bags that I use from Amazon that are reusable and environment-friendly!

     

    SOUP LADLE

    Any ladle will do!  But how else will you serve your soup?  The one I find I love using is my green rubbery one, which is heat resistant and dishwasher safe.  It’s pretty huge, scoops a lot of soup, washes easily, and is just overall a really easy ladle to use.

    Here’s the soup ladle available on amazon.  I actually bought it in HK and took it back with me to Toronto.  It’s THAT good!

     

    TONGS

    You’d be surprised how heavy meats can get when you’re trying to blanch them in soup or trying to move them from one pot to another!  I must admit, my chopstick skills are good… but maybe I need more muscle strengthening in my hands because carrying a whole chicken carcass with regular chopsticks just wasn’t doing it.  Tongs are my next best friend when it comes to making soups!!

    Here’s a locking tong that I’m using from Amazon as well.  Works well, has great grip for those slippery oily meats, and is dishwasher safe, too!

     

    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! ❤️❤️❤️

    There’s making soups.
    And then there’s making soup BY DESIGN.

     

    HOW DO YOU KNOW WHICH SOUP TO MAKE? HERE’S MY DECISION MAKING PROCESS WHEN DECIDING WHAT SOUP TO MAKE!

     

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    Here are 5 ways to prepare meats for Chinese soups!

    Here are 5 ways to prepare meats for Chinese soups!

    HERE ARE 5 ways to PREPARE MEATS for CHINESE SOUPS!

    What’s all that “stuff” floating around in my soup? Almost all bones and bone-in meats will have a little something extra extra.

    One guiding principle in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the yin yang theory.  In the natural world, there exists a balance between 2 opposing and co-existing forces and yet, they also exist in each other.  Our bodies, minds, and souls are designed the same way in that to be healthy, we need to be in harmony between these 2 bipolar states.  Yin is receptive and passive, calm and slow, embodying cold and damp qualities (when we are sleeping).  Yang is its exact opposite in aggressive and active, embodying heat, dryness, and movement (when we are awake).

    One of our mission at The Chinese Soup Lady is to bring these principles into the foods and drinks we consume in order to support harmony.  

    You can explore more about some Traditional Chinese Medicine theories in these posts.

    The back story…

    I know everyone has a different process or methodology about how they make Chinese soups and I welcome all methods and suggestions.  I can attest that I didn’t have TikTok or Instagram or YouTube growing up, so when my mom taught me to make Chinese soups, it’s was good old show and tell.  Even the ladies at the wet marts were amazingly helpful and would always share wisdom and tidbits as I was grocery shopping.  This is essentially where I learned most of my techniques and recipes and over time, eventually built my own, integrating science, Traditional Chinese medicine, and experimental cooking!

    Why I prepare my meats before using them in soups?

    There are many reasons why I take time and effort to clean, wash, and properly prepare my protein before using them in soups.  Here’s why:

    • I’m not always sure how it’s been processed before purchase.  It’s nice to assume that whomever was cutting it was using a clean knife or blade, but I never know.  The first and easiest thing I’ll do it to wash meats in cool running water first.  I know some cooking techniques tell you not to do this with chicken (salmonella risk), but I know I’m usually blanching or boiling anyways.
    • This will remove any debris left from preparation such as blood, bone bits, skin, fat bits, or marrow content.  This helps keep my soup clean without “weird” floating stuff around the soup that my grown children still make comments about.
    • It will keep the taste of the soup clean.  Marrow and blood have a certain taste and texture when cooked and I’m conscious to not dilute the soup with other taste if I’ve properly designed my soup for taste and benefits.  
    • Helps render and melt fat off the meats so the soup is healthier and has less fat content.  This is particularly true for whole chicken (including chicken thighs and sometimes chicken bones as it isn’t completely fat free), fatter cuts of pork, or ox tails (which have quite a bit of fat content wrapped around the tail).  
    • This also helps tone down and eliminate fishy or raw tastes of protein so it also doesn’t takeover the flavour of the soup and you can truly bring all out all the amazing blended flavours that it was intended to be!

    Here are 5 ways you can prepare meats for Chinese soups

    There’s making soups.
    And then there’s making soup BY DESIGN.

    HOW DO YOU KNOW WHICH SOUP TO MAKE? HERE’S MY DECISION MAKING PROCESS WHEN DECIDING WHAT SOUP TO MAKE!

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    What soup to make?  Here’s how I decide what Chinese soups to make…

    What soup to make? Here’s how I decide what Chinese soups to make…

    HOW DO YOU KNOW WHICH SOUP TO MAKE? HERE’s MY DECISION MAKING PROCESS WHEN DECIDING WHAT SOUP TO MAKE!

    There’s no exact science to this, but guided by a combination of 4 factors that I consider: 

    The consumer, conditions, preferences, and external factors.  

    One guiding principle in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the yin yang theory.  In the natural world, there exists a balance between 2 opposing and co-existing forces and yet, they also exist in each other.  Our bodies, minds, and souls are designed the same way in that to be healthy, we need to be in harmony between these 2 bipolar states.  Yin is receptive and passive, calm and slow, embodying cold and damp qualities (when we are sleeping).  Yang is its exact opposite in aggressive and active, embodying heat, dryness, and movement (when we are awake).

    One of our mission at The Chinese Soup Lady is to bring these principles into the foods and drinks we consume in order to support harmony.  

    You can explore more about some Traditional Chinese Medicine theories in these posts.

    Read more below on HOW MY BRAIN WORKS!

    And I tried really hard to document this in a more logical process.

    There’s making soups.
    And then there’s making soup BY DESIGN.

    And here’s my thinking process outlined into an infographic.  Stay with me!  One of my challenges is brain dumping my thinking on to a page.  It’s simple enough in my brain, that’s why I need a full blog for this!

    How I define what to look at (merging some of my experience in Retail):

    1. Who is the consumer?  Who is consuming the soup?  Even if it’s yourself, it matters.  The point is to ensure your consumer is having an AMAZING experience consuming your soup or tea.  Eating, drinking, savouring, tasting is meant to be enjoyable.  This is why we continue to cook, continue to serve, continue to make.  It’s because it was an enjoyable experience!

    2. Are there any immediate things to address?  And this is second priority because symptoms are superficial and short-lived.  The idea is to relieve these symptoms so we can get to the root of true balance in the body.  This can include a cough, a cold, having gone through a certain life body stage (such as birthing [or confinement] or menopause or a surgery).  This step usually informs the type of herbs (and ingredients) I will use.

    3.  Any dietary considerations?  This step helps with determining my soup base, usually the meat (or not) involved.  My 2 primary default meats are chicken or pork.  Chicken usually for more warming soups (such as Herbal healing soups) and pork for more cooling soups (like a winter melon double boiled soup).

    4.  Any external factors to consider that impact the long term balance in the body?  This includes weather, humidity, or anything not covered in step 2 around conditions.  This will also inform some of the herbs (but not as primary input) and ingredients, such as using winter melons in the summer and more beans in the spring to help dispel moisture from the body.

     

    HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES

    USE CASE 1:

    Having a barbeque (PARTY!!) and it’s in the dead of summer.  Which means the external conditions are hot and dry.  Consuming barbeque, hot pot, or anything deep fried creates excess yang (or heatiness) in the body.  

    Sometimes you’ll either develop canker sores, a rough cracking red tongue, or pimples, these are all signs of excess yang in the body.  This is explained in this guide to using TCM in teas and soups here.  I’ll make a soup that’s more cooling (reducing yang) with pork that can help eliminate heat in the body.  Ingredients include winter melons, fresh snow pears, chayotes, green radish are a few.  This is also why the Chinese love serving watermelons and drinking prune juice during hot pots!  I’ll also prepare teas that help cool the body, which can include water chestnuts, fresh and dried snow pears, or American ginseng and honey.

     

    USE CASE 2:

    I run and ride outdoors A LOT!  This includes during questionable weather conditions where I know it’s bad for me, but I still do it thinking I’ve bundled myself well enough and thinking I can always make a warming, yin reducing tea.  LOL.  I know I’ve accumulated too much yin, especially in the lungs when my extremeties become numb and cold (like hands and feet and fingers), I have a runny nose immediately to exposure (a lot of us get this), and I’ll develop a surface cough in the throat in the evening.  You want to catch the pathogen before it goes too deep into the lungs!

    What I’ll make is a tea right away to warm the body (increasing yang), such as a red dates, longans, and ginger tea, or decreasing yin tea with monk fruit, ginger, and rock sugar.  

     

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    FOLLOW US AND SHARE.