How to make a Spring Lotus Root and Sweet Corn with Carrots Chinese Herbal Soup (for Dispelling Dampness and Heat)

Soup Name: Spring Lotus Root and Sweet Corn with Carrots Chinese Herbal Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 蓮藕豬骨湯 (lián’ǒu zhū gǔ tāng). The direct translation is “Lotus Root Pork Bones Soup”.  This is also a very generic name for this type of soup and you can add carrots and corn (or whatever complimentary vegetables) work.  It is because the lotus roots are the star of this soup, so I kept the soup name quite generic.

Nature:  Slightly cooling

Taste: Sweet and savory. 

(You can read this article on the impact on your body of different food tastes!)

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

Join me as I make a Spring Lotus Root with Sweet Corn and Carrots Chinese Herbal Soup as:

  • Soup for dinner tonight (2 portions)
  • Frozen soup packs (4 portions) 

The soup design is based on wanting to make a Spring soup and what’s available as fresh (and on sale) at the Chinese supermarket.  Today was fresh lotus roots.  They were firm and looked amazing, so I bought 3 to make a soup.  Lotus roots tend to be paired with pork, which is a cooler meat over Chicken, so it’s perfect since it was warmer these past few days, but still wet. Lotus roots also pair beautifully with beans – particularly green beans, but I didn’t have any, so I went with black eyed beans.  You can use red or yellow beans as well.  Add in barley as a diuretic and my special find, corn silk.  

Corn silk!

This is my special ingredient for Spring soups.  Corn silk is the silky, weak fibers of the corn that grow as part of the ears and come out of the top of the corn.

In Chinese medicine, they are used as a diuretic, helping the body dispel dampness and water and regulate sugars in the blood.  Commonly found in Chinese herbal teas and soups, this ingredient is practically free (if you’re buying corn).  Don’t throw away the corn silk!  You can dry them yourself once extracted from the corn.  If I’m using it right away, I will wrap in a paper towel to keep it dry and put into a soup bag for easier disposal at the end of soup cooking. 

 

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!

    What’s involved?

    Prep time: 45mins

    Cook time: 30 mins on stove (+ time in thermal cooker)

    Total time: 1 hour 15 mins

    Serves: 4 bowls x 4 soup packs

    Ingredients

    This is for 6 x portions of soup:

    • 1.3 kg of fresh pork back bones (or 2 pieces each portion)
    • 3 fresh corn (+ keep the corn silk)
    • 3 medium sized fresh lotus roots
    • 2 large fresh carrots
    • 4 x 6 dried baby shiitake mushrooms
    • 1 x 6 tablespoons of dried uncooked barley
    • 1 x 6 tablespoons of dried blackeye beans
    • 4 x 6 dried baby scallops
    • 2 x 6 tablespoons of dried salted cashews
    • 2.5 L of water

    You’ll also need:

    Prep Instructions

    1. You can follow along in the YouTube video as well.
    2. In a separate blanching pot, add your washed pork bones in cold water and set that to boil on high heat. As soon as that boils, drain the water, and set aside to cool.
    3. You can begin to boil your soup water at this point (me being efficient)
    4. Peel and chop all your vegetables. I tend to cut my lotus roots and carrots quite thinly so that they boil quick and can fit into my rice cooker or smaller soup pot. I’ve had friends who also have used instapots for this recipe!
    5. Count out your Chinese herbs.
    6. Once your soup pot boils, add in 2 portions for soup for that day. 
    7. I’ll then pack each soup pack starting with the pork bones first, corn on the bottom and then layer the carrots and lotus roots around then finally the Chinese herbs into vacant spaces.
    8. Be sure to leave at least 2-inches from the top of where you’d like to seal.  You can cut the bag as well to ensure it’s fit to size.
    9. Don’t forget to label the soup with the date of production.  I’ll normally do this with a permanent market.
    10. Insert into your soup bag into the vacuum sealer and seal!  TA-DA!
    11. Immediately put them into the freezer.
    12. When making this, simply take out of the freezer, cut open the soup pack, drop into a rice cooker, instapot, or small pot.  Fill waterline to max.  Press cook rice (usually 60 minutes) and wait until it’s finished.  Serve and enjoy.

    Tricks and tips on prepping frozen Chinese soup packs

    • You can follow this YouTube video on “How to make frozen Chinese soup packs”
    • Cut your ingredients smaller so that it will fit into a rice cooker (or small pot or instapot)
    • Fully wash, cut, and blanch all meats so that they can drop directly into the soup
    • Pack the largest ingredients on the bottom of the pack, working your way up to the smallest (I’ll typically put meats on the bottom)
    • Consider what ingredients are best for frozen conditions.  This is usually roots, melons, starchier vegetables (like broccoli, cauliflower).  I don’t use leafy vegetables that often in these types of soups, although now that I think about it, would love to try a watercress and see how that freezes!
    • Prepare these packs for 3-4 bowls worth (also depends on the size of the rice cooker)
    • Write the date of production with a permanent market so that you know when it was produced, especially if you have a selection in the freezer.
    • Always reserve at least 2-inches at the top of soup pack before you seal to allow for more room to make the seal
    • Use a wet + dry vacuum sealer if you intend to use some of the juice or water reserves (such as coconut water, which is delicious and sweet!)

    For videos, visit us on YouTube.

    Here is the equipment you’ll need for preparing frozen soup packs:

     

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