How to make a simple, delicious radish seaweed soup!

How to make a simple, delicious radish seaweed soup!

How to make a simple, delicious radish seaweed soup!

Soup Name: Radish (Kombu) Seaweed Soup (vegetarian)

Chinese Name: 白蘿蔔海藻湯 (bái luóbo hǎi zǎo tāng).  This isn’t really a Chinese soup.  It’s more a blend of using Japanese and Korean radish and kombu (seaweed) components.

Nature: This is a cooling soup.  By design, the ingredients are quite cooling in the white radish and seaweed (you can follow this post on what ingredients are cooling or warming for soups)

Taste: Slightly sweet and savory

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

 

The best are the most simplest of soups!

This is a Japanese-styled white radish and kombu (seaweed) soup which I used as part of dinner.  It’s simple, it’s clean, and it’s meat-free, but still has a delicious umami taste (created by the seaweed and mushrooms).  So it’s both vegan and vegetarian!

I love that it’s very much like home.  It feels and tastes like home.  And it can be served with a variety of carbs and toppings or you can drink it clean.

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 30 minutes 

Total time: 45 mins

Serves: 8 large bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 whole white radish, thinly sliced
  • 1 whole piece of dried seaweed kelp
  • 1 whole white onion, quartered
  • 5 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • fresh green onions
  • 13 cups or 2.5 L of water 
  • salt and sesame oil to taste

For my dinner:

  • rice cakes
  • fresh enoki mushrooms
  • fish cakes 

Cooking Instructions

  1. In your soup pot, add in your sliced white onions and dried seaweed kelp
  2. Add in your soup water and cover
  3. Set this on high heat and allow that to come to a boil
  4. During this time, I will also drop in my fresh green onions (cut larger so that I can fish them out later), white radish (sliced very thinly), and dried shiitake mushrooms
  5. Cover and bring this to a full boil and reduce to medium heat and allow that to simmer for another 30 minutes
  6. Taste and salt as needed
  7. You can add this to noodles, rice, or rice cakes!  Top with your favourite toppings.  Serve and enjoy!

There are many soups that use dried seaweed kelp and white radish!

This soup is very similar to my Korean Dashi soup base, which you can add other ingredients to, although this one has dried anchovies, which also creates a different flavor and taste.

I am a big fan of this simple taste base… the seaweed and white radish! 

Would love to see your other suggestions on what you create here! 

 

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How to make a Chicken and Coconut Chinese Herbal Soup (as frozen packs)

How to make a Chicken and Coconut Chinese Herbal Soup (as frozen packs)

How to make a Chicken and Coconut Chinese Herbal Soup (as frozen packs)

Soup Name: Warming Chicken and Coconut Chinese Healing Soup (as frozen soup packs)

Traditional Chinese Name: 椰子雞湯 (yē zi jī tāng)

Nature:  Warming

Taste: Sweet

You can follow this video first on “How to make Frozen Chinese Soups in bulk“.

 

The business case for making frozen soup packs in bulk!

This use case continues to amaze me!  Literally, this morning, I was like “I feel like soup” and I took out another one of these soup packs (this one to be precise because I made extra for me and my pescatarian friend) and tossed it into the rice cooker, topped up with water, added a few red dates and an hour later, had soup ready for lunch and dinner.

To start, I did a survey when I first initially created these for friends and the time saving is phenomenal.

On average, it takes someone 2-3 hours of time to make a Chinese soup (beginning to end with checking). Compared to using frozen premade soup packs using a rice cooker, it takes 5 minutes of work (and then 60 mins of no supervision) with an upfront investment of 2-3 hours to make 6 soup packs.  So on average, you are saving 14 hours of time over 6 soups.  The math isn’t perfect, but this was my best estimate based on answers from friends.  That’s HUGE!

    This soup is similar to a Warming Chicken and Coconut Herbal (Healing) Chinese Soup that I also made into frozen soup packs (except used corn as well).

    This soup pack is smaller than my average ones because I don’t have as many vegetables, and yet it packs the same delicious punch of all my soups!  

    If you have a wet vacuum sealing kit, you can consider adding the coconut water as well, which makes it deliciously sweet!  I ended up adding my coconut water into the fresh soup I was also making parallel to the frozen kits.

    Chicken and coconuts are great pairs in taste and a traditional soup in Cantonese soup repertoire.  It is often found served in Chinese restaurants and commonly made in Chinese households (especially in Hong Kong).

     

    What’s involved?

    Prep time: 60 mins

    Cook time: no cook time when preparing soup packs, but if I do cook 1 frozen soup pack in a rice cooker, takes about 60 mins

    Serves: 6 frozen soup packs (each with 2 servings) 

    Ingredients

    Note that this portioning makes 1 frozen pack of soup (that serves 2 people)

     

    • 1/4 rounded brown coconut flesh
    • 1/2 full chicken thigh
    • 5 frozen (or fresh or prepackaged chestnuts)
    • 6 dried red dates
    • 6 dried longans
    • 6 dried baby scallops
    • 6 dried wolfberries (or goji berries)
    • 1 sealable vacuum soup bag

    Preparing the soup packs

    1. Prepare your chicken thighs by cutting them smaller pieces
    2. In a shallow pan, you can pan fry the chicken on medium heat allowing the outsides to fully brown (there is a warning here that the chicken may not be fully cooked)
    3. If you’re using dried scallops, you can also optionally pan fry them on low heat with a bit of oil until they are golden brown to create a more fragrant taste
    4. Poke a hole and drain your coconut (you can watch this video on “How to prepare coconuts for Chinese soups
    5. Using a hammer in a safe place, break open the coconut and extract the flesh (I use these crab or seafood eating tools)
    6. Also measure out all the Chinese herbs into separate bowls, that way it’s much easier to distribute as you make your soup packs.
    7. Using your soup bags, stack your ingredients starting with the meat first and then I will sprinkle the herbs around the gaps in between and then the coconut on top, sliding them in between spaces as well
    8. Using your vacuum sealer, seal each pack and then freeze immediately for usage later.

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    How to make a vegetable tomato based soup (with macaroni)

    How to make a vegetable tomato based soup (with macaroni)

    How to make a vegetable tomato based soup (with macaroni)

    Soup Name:

    Vegetable Tomato Soup

    Traditional Chinese Name:

    集菜番茄湯 (jí cài fānqié tāng).  This is a very Cantonese label of this soup.  The basic translation of this is just “vegetable tomato soup” and the vegetable translation is often used for simple soup of vegetables, even if there is meat.  It’s not necessarily a vegetarian soup, but a soup that has vegetables.

    Nature: Neutral, although the addition of ginger, red dates, and longans will warm it slightly, but it nicely balanced by the cooler celery.  Overall, this is quite a neutral soup that is perfect for the whole family.

    Taste: Sweet and sour

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    Re-creation of the Heinz’s Vegetable ABC Soup (for dinner)

    Here’s how you can make a homemade version of the Heinz’s Vegetable ABC Soup.  

    My family love this soup!  I love this soup!  In fact, I have fond memories of trying to find letters in the soup to spell words with them!  Although, my recent observation is that the letters seem more sparse than when I consumed this as a child!

    Regardless, I’ve also put my on Chinese twist on it by adding a few choice herbs (such as red dates and longans) and Worchester sauce (because it reminds me of the HK-styled Russian Borscht).  However, I would encourage you to taste test this as you go along and make it your own and ultimately, perhaps a family favourite! 

    What’s involved?

    Prep time: 15 mins

    Cook time: 30 minutes 

    Total time: 45 mins

    Serves: 8 large bowls

    Ingredients

    • 4 fresh potatoes, peeled and cubed
    • 3 stalks of fresh celery, deveined and cubed
    • 3 medium fresh carrots, peeled and cubed
    • 1 white fresh onion, peeled and cubed
    • 1 whole garlic, cloved (or diced optional)
    • 2 medium fresh tomatoes, cubed
    • 3 medium fresh corn, shucked
    • 1 small can of tomato paste (156 mL can is enough)
    • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
    • 5 tablespoons of white sugar (or taste for your personal preference on tartness of the soup)
    • 2 tablespoons of Worchester sauce
    • optional garlic salt to taste
    • 10 cups or 2 L of water (will yield 8 large bowls)

    Cooking Instructions

    1. In your soup pot, add a bit of oil and fry the diced garlic and onions on medium heat until browned.  Add in diced potatoes and also brown them until relatively crispy.
    2. Add you in water and allow that to come to a full boil covered on high heat.
    3. I will then drop in all my cut vegetables, including the chestnuts and any other herbal additives that you’d like.  For today’s soup, I added in frozen chestnuts, dried red dates and longans and let that boil for another 10 minutes to soften all the ingredients.
    4. Once that comes to a full boil, I will add in my flavorings, this includes the tomato paste, maple syrup, sugar, Worchester sauce, and salt and allow that to mix and continue to boil covered for another 10 minutes.  
    5. Don’t forget to taste test!  The tartness, tanginess, savory, sweet are all quite personal since they all coexist together!  Add more or less sugar if it’s too tart, add more salt if it’s not savory enough.  This is because the tomato paste can be quite sour.
    6. Cover and boil on medium high for another 10 minutes or until all the ingredients are completely soft.  They should soften quite quickly because the ingredients are cut quite small.
    7. Garnish with fresh green onions or chives or parsley, serve and enjoy!  You can serve with your favourite carbs, like rice, noodles, or pasta!

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    Why foot soaks (foot baths) are good for you?

    Why foot soaks (foot baths) are good for you?

    Why foot soaks (foot baths) are good for you?

    Don’t know where to start?

    Don’t know why you should start?

    Here are some answers to get you started from:

    • WHY you should do hot foot soaks
    • WHAT equipment you’ll need
    • HOW to do a foot soak
    • The BENEFITs of hot foot soaks
    • TIPs and TRICKs of hot foot soaks

    This post started from an extended question around another post on “What does it mean to have cold hands and feet? How to replenish qi and yang“: 

    Well, foot soaks or foot baths are one of my such lifestyle techniques that I use to improve my overall circulation in the body!  This is used in combination with a series of other techniques that are common in Traditional Chinese Medicine!  Keep reading to explore more!

    Why are hot foot soaks so good for you?

    From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, doing regular foot soaks will:

     

    • Stimulate the flow in the body, allowing your Qi and blood to circulate better.  From a science perspective, heat expands things, so exposure to a heated environment will allow the skin, the nerves, the blood vessels, the lymph nodes, and the muscles to soften, loosen and expand somewhat, which will allow the blood and other liquids to flow more easily through the body.  
    • Reduce blood pressure.  According to multiple studies conducted (see additional sources below), even one 20 minutes foot soak in hot water will reduce blood pressure levels within the body.  Imagine the on-going benefits of this if you can do this repeatedly!
    • Detoxify your body through the opening of your pores and sweating it out (literally!).  As the hot water warms up your feet, it will begin to circulate warmer blood around your body to the point where you will feel warmth in your chest first and then eventually your forehead.  You will notice yourself sweating, which is a good thing!  This helps drive out toxins and clear our lymph nodes.
    • Deliver more nutrients and oxygen to parts of the body that are often colder, such as hands, feet, and neck.  Your body and organs need nutrients and oxygen in order to function, so enabling these to get there faster will allow your organs to function optimally.  This includes delivering more oxygen to key organs such as the heart and brain, which will also allow you to think more clearly.

     

    • Help calm the mind.  This is in connection with how hot foot soaks allow for more blood to pass through the brain over the same period of time, which means an increased flow of oxygen.  When paired with a steady, regular breath in and breath out (almost meditatively), this will help create clarity and calm in the brain and mind.  Often, doing a foot soak is a great moment to allow for some down time if you can do it in a private or quiet space.  I recommend being intentional about this to allow time from our busy lives to benefit both the mind and body simultaneously. 💗💗💗

    How to do a foot soak

    The most basic is to simply soak your feet in warm to hot water.  What my own Chinese doctor has suggested is to soak it until you break a sweat from your forehead.  At this point, you’ll know that the warm blood has worked it’s way up throughout your body enough to literally – break a sweat!

    I was curious about testing time, so I’ve structured my foot soaks quite scientifically, but you don’t have to.  You can just soak until you feel that sweat and finish up.

    What you’ll need:

    • A consistent source of hot (or warm) water
    • A bucket or foot bag to soak in (I’m using this product that my mom got for me!) 
    • A comfortable place to sit
    • Some water (or drinks) to stay hydrated
    • A book or something to occupy your time (meditating is also a great thing to do during this moment)
    • A towel (to dry off with afterwards)
    • A change of clothes or sweater (as you’re sweating, you’ll want to cool off gently)

    If you’re testing time, add in:

    • A timer
    Try foot soaks once a week!  It’s a great time to meditate and spend some “ME” time.
    Ever wonder why you do a hot foot soak before you get a foot massage (in most Chinese spas)?

    Some tips and tricks for doing hot foot soaks

    • I usually start with hotter water first and then add cooler water to adjust.  This is because you’d be surprised how hot you can take, but make sure you can truly soak in over a period of time.  It does cool over time though.  And be sure not to burn yourself!
    • You want to soak until you feel the heat first in your chest (you’ll definitely perspire from your chest first) and then eventually from your forehead and head.  This means the warmed blood from your feet is eventually making its way up to your head, which is what you want!
    • I’m using a deeper foot bag (vs a lower foot bucket which I refill as it cools).  This saves both water and energy as it is heat proof (it retains the heat within itself) and covers more surface area of the body to include up to my calves.
    • You can add Chinese herbs such as ginger or Astralagus root for added benefits.  Some people also use various salts.  Just be sure to thoroughly clean your bag or bucket afterwards.
    • I prefer to soak into the evening as it helps me wind down and relax.  Part of this is to treat it like a meditative and breathwork session as well.  Really lean into the moment to pause and focus on breath as you soak, this will help calm the body, mind, and allow you to sleep better at night.

    Here are 5 lifestyle choices to help improve blood circulation and improve yang (and Qi), especially as we age!

    Doing hot foot soaks is definitely one of my Chinese doctor’s suggestions as well something I’ve started doing more regularly!

    1. Yang, Xiao et al. “Maternal postnatal confinement practices and postpartum depression in Chinese populations: A systematic review.” PloS one vol. 18,10 e0293667. 30 Oct. 2023, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0293667
    2. Vyas, Samruddhi Chintaman et al. “Effect of hot arm and foot bath on heart rate variability and blood pressure in healthy volunteers.” Journal of complementary & integrative medicine vol. 17,1 /j/jcim.2019.17.issue-1/jcim-2018-0181/jcim-2018-0181.xml. 15 Aug. 2019, doi:10.1515/jcim-2018-0181

    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! ❤️

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    How to make a Japanese-inspired Pork Meatball in Miso One Pot Dinner Soup

    How to make a Japanese-inspired Pork Meatball in Miso One Pot Dinner Soup

    How to make a Japanese-inspired Pork Meatball in Miso One Pot Dinner Soup

    Soup Name:

    Delicious One Pot Vegetable Vermicelli Soup for Dinner.  Literal translation from Chinese is “Mixed vegetables vermicelli pot soup”. 

    For this one, I went with pork meatballs and a Miso butter soup base.

    Traditional Chinese Name:

    雜菜粉絲鍋湯 (zá cài fěnsī guō tāng)

    Nature:  Neutral

    Taste: Sweet and savory

    For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

     

    For those days when you’re being time efficient…

    The best thing about one-pot dinners is that it’s literally in one pot.  Cooked, served, cleaned!

    Here’s the concept of the one-pot soup dinner.  You’ll need to design:

    • The soup base (see below for options)
    • The toppings

    There are a variety of soup bases you can use for one-pot soup dinners:

     

    Tonight’s dinner was DELICIOUS!  The meatballs were a nice added protein to the soup, topped with a silky tofu that everyone loved.  The green bean vermicelli functions as noodles, and there are plenty of green vegetables with the bean sprouts, napa cabbage, and broccoli.  So yummy!  We had enough for leftovers

    What’s involved?

    Prep time: 10 mins

    Cook time: 30 minutes 

    Total time: 40 mins

    Serves: 8 bowls

    Ingredients

    • 1/4 cup of dried shrimp
    • 3 slices of fresh ginger
    • 1 pound of fresh ground pork
    • 1 bunch of fresh enoki mushrooms, diced
    • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
    • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
    • 1 egg
    • 1 whole large napa cabbage, sliced
    • 1 head crown broccoli
    • 2 bundles of dried green bean vermicelli
    • 1 bunch of fresh bean sprouts
    • 1 pack of fresh soft silken tofu 
    • 10 cups of water
    • 1 tablespoon of miso paste
    • 1 teaspoon of butter
    • green onions for garnish

    Cooking Instructions

    1. In a bowl, take out your dried green bean vermicelli and add in cold water, ensuring it’s completely covered and let it soak (to soften) – this step is optional and will just allow the vermicelli to cook faster.
    2. In your soup pot, add a bit of oil and pan fry the dried shrimp and fresh ginger slices on medium heat until fragrant and slightly golden brown
    3. Add in your 10 cups of soup water, cover, turn on to high heat and let that come to a boil
    4. In a separate bowl, mix in the ground pork, finely chopped enoki mushrooms, garlic salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, and egg until fully combined.  Then roll out into 1.5 inch in diameter meatballs (or whatever size works for your family – huge meatballs are also fun, while baby ones are great for smaller kids).
    5. Once the soup water boils, drop in your meatballs gently into the boiling water and then cover and let that come to a boil again on high heat.
    6. Once the soup water is boiling, add in all the vegetables, stacking them gently into the water.
    7. You can also add in your vermicelli at this time, ensuring they are completely submerged into the soup water.
    8. Cover and allow that to boil on medium heat for 5 minutes.
    9. Gently layer on top the silken tofu.  This can actually rest on top of the vegetables and not be fully submerged.  When you cover it, it will be like steaming the tofu, so it will be cooked anyways.  Cover and boil for another 5 minutes.
    10. At this point, I will drop in my miso paste and butter and cover again for another 2 minutes on boiling.  This will allow the butter to melt and some of the miso to dissolve, but you can also swish it around before covering.
    11. Garnish with fresh green onions
    12. Serve and enjoy!

    Tips for making this soup:

    • For a more neutral soup, use neutral vegetables (both in nature and in taste) such as leafy greens like napa cabbage, cabbage, broccoli, gai lan, choy sum
    • Vegetables such as watercress are more cooling and spinach as a particular unique taste that may throw off the soup
    • Add in a few Chinese herbs of choice that are slightly more warm (such as dried red dates, dried longans, even 1 piece of dong quai would be amazing!)
    • Chop your root vegetables thin like the potatoes and white radish.  It makes it easier to cook and eat.  This is literally a quick boil soup!  So you want your ingredients to cook quickly and thoroughly.
    • Get creative with the vegetable base!
    • Vermicelli and vegetables go last.  They cook really fast!

    For videos, visit us on YouTube. 

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    Making Frozen Chinese Soup in Bulk at Home (Saving Time and Effort)!

    Making Frozen Chinese Soup in Bulk at Home (Saving Time and Effort)!

    Making Frozen Chinese Soup in Bulk at Home (Saving Time and Effort)!

    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 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.  

    How to use this guide:

    • This is purely a reference guide 
    • Do see a Chinese medicine practitioner as this information is not a replacement for a doctor

    The benefits of making Chinese soup in bulk (frozen).

    This idea started out as a delivery to a friend.  She was sick, super busy, and had a lot going on in her life, so I packed a few soup packs for her.  I was super primitive then, using saran wrap very poorly and causing so much waste, only to have some of them come undone in the freezer!

    So that’s where I tested a few affordable options of vacuum sealers at home.  I wasn’t sure where I was going with it (follow your passion right?).

    However, sharing this because so many people have started asking me how to make these, what equipment I’m using, and what the best combinations are.

    I have also been sharing with friends and seeking feedback to make this a better experience!  Tips below!

    The Business Case

    So, what is the real quantifiable benefit of this?  It’s not an exact science at this point, but I am looking to do a more a thorough time study one day.  Just out of interest.

    I did a survey when I first initially created these for friends and the time saving is phenomenal.

    On average, it takes someone 2-3 hours of time to make a Chinese soup (beginning to end with checking). Compared to using frozen premade soup packs using a rice cooker, it takes 5 minutes of work (and then 60 mins of no supervision) with an upfront investment of 2-3 hours to make 6 soup packs.  So on average, you are saving 14 hours of time over 6 soups.  The math isn’t perfect, but this was my best estimate based on answers from friends.

    I would love to hear about your experience – you can leave it in the comments below or on any of my socials and I will collect it as a data point!

     

    EQUIPMENT USED FOR MAKING FROZEN SOUP PACKS

    I get this question a lot, especially as I am now making more clips of these soup packs as showcased above.  The real additional equipment you'll need is the vacuum sealer and bags.  You can most certainly boil these in pots as well.  I would love to hear your comments on how this is going and how you're finding the different equipment.  My house has now turned into a soup factory - literally!  LOL.

    Start with a low cost option that also comes with a few pre-sealed bags.  You really don't need anything fancy to do this job!

    These come in handy especially as you finish the ones that come with the starter kit.  And I tend to give a lot of my soup packs to friends! HOORAY!

    I get this question a lot about which rice cooker I am using.  It is a 1 L (5 cups) one that I use in both HK and Toronto.  Amazing product!  

    Amazing product in both usability and durability.  Comes in many colours!  I've used this to ladle congee into freezer bags - highly recommend it! To freeze congee in bulk.

    Additional tips for making Chinese soup packs in bulk (for freezing):

    I won’t go into too much detail here as all the details are in the video post, but I will add some overarching things to think about as you embark on this journey!

    • It is all about experimentation and experiencing different recipes and combinations as frozen soup products for you and your family.  Don’t be afraid to try try try… and if it didn’t work out, try something, or try again later.
    • Teach your children to make the soups themselves, too!  This is such a helpful step and if they can use a rice cooker, they can make this soup.
    • Give the love of soup.  See further down.  I am a huge advocate of creating and giving and spreading LOVE and in this way, LOVE is through soups!
    • You can definitely do with sweet Chinese soups as well, such as sweet potato dessert soup!  The vegetables become soft and you can drop in the sugar really towards the end and mix and serve!

     

    GIVE LOVE through SOUPS!

    I actually do this as part of my personal mission to create love, give, and spread love around the world.

    You see, creating love doesn’t have to be this big rah rah thing.  It can be as simple as making extra soup packs for your busy friends, for people who want to make soups (but don’t know how), or people who want to experience Chinese soups and their benefits, or anyone whom you wish to offer your gift (that’s not for me to judge) 💗💗💗.

    And I have found a way I can spread love with something that I am deeply passionate about!  How beautiful!  Just something to think about as you “spread” your own “love” through your highest excitement!  It truly is such a wonderful thing for me, to share this blog, my videos, my experiences, my soup packs to everyone!

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    FOLLOW US AND SHARE.