Sweet and sour snow fungus and cucumber salad

Sweet and sour snow fungus and cucumber salad

Sweet and sour snow fungus and cucumber salad

Tea Name:

Sweet and sour snow fungus and cucumber salad (with garlic and red dates and goji berries) in a tart delightful mirin vinegrette dressing

Nature:  Slightly warming (due to the garlic, red dates, and vinegar)

Taste: Sweet and sour

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

Making snow fungus 2-ways the other day for dinner.  Since I was soaking one for my soup, I decided to economize my efforts and soak another to make a delicious, tart and sweet appetizer.

Why not more snow fungus?  This powerhouse Chinese herb is amazing at nourishing the yin in the lungs and helps retain moisture and collagen!  (YEAH, did someone say COLLAGEN?).  LOL.  Yah, it’s known to be the “poor man’s” version of bird’s nest, which helps to keep the skin firm and glowing.  In the end, snow fungus is just a mushroom.

I always keep a stash of these in my pantry now because they are perfect for soups, stews, salads, desserts, and even stir fried!  Seriously, get experimental and try it!

 

What’s involved?
 Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: No cooking needed

Total time: 15 mins

Serves: 5 cups (or servings)

Ingredients

The sauce:

 

  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of mirin
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons of white sugar
Cooking Instructions
  1. Soak the snow fungus in cool water for at least 10 minutes, ensuring it’s fully covered.  You can check out this video on how to prepare snow fungus.
  2. Wash and dice half a cucumber, keeping the skin on
  3. Dice all the garlic
  4. Once the snow fungus is fully bloomed and relatively soft and squishy, using scissors or a knife, remove the hard orange middle (cut as best as you can as this part is tougher to eat)
  5. Dice the snow fungus into bite-sized pieces
  6. Add in all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl and give it a good mix, ensuring all the sauce covers all parts of the salad
  7. Chill and serve.  Enjoy!

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The Hong Kong Grocery Shopping Experience

The Hong Kong Grocery Shopping Experience

The Hong Kong Grocery Shopping Experience!

I love the diversity of grocery shopping in Asia, especially in Hong Kong!  You’ve got so many choices, market types, and variety!  Part of the beauty of being in Hong Kong is this exact accessibility to a lot of the Asian cuisines, ingredients, and shared experiences.

There’s no right or wrong in how to make Chinese soups.  The simple act of bringing together raw and dried ingredients to create a concoction of love to share with our friends and family is highly rewarding!

One of our mission at The Chinese Soup Lady is to bring our love of Chinese soups to the world!

TYPES OF GROCERY STORES:

The Japanese Superstores

 

You’ve got your Juscos, Apitas, AEONs, Don Don Donki, and other Japanese department stores that come with a lower level grocery store.  These are clean, bright, and carry a happy variety of Japanese products.  They also have a fantastic selection of sushi, seafood, and cooked foods!  

A lot in these shops are imported, so don’t expect a lot of English labels, but they do over label with some Cantonese and minimal English.  And, most of their products are super cute and have fantastic packaging!

The Wet Mart

One of my favourite and places to shop when it comes to making Chinese food and soups.  This is as local as it gets!  It does take some getting used to, once you overcome some of the smells, the wet floors, and the truly open market concept.  The amazing thing about wet marts is that you buy the amount you want.  There are some prepackaged items such as tulip bulbs, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, but in general, meat, seafood, and vegetables are sold in whatever amount you want!  And they fascinating thing is that everything is calculated in terms of “catty”, which is equivalent to 604.8 g!  Sometimes, I just make the size of meat or vegetables I want and they adjust accordingly.  Explore my video on my wet mart shopping experience!

 

The Local Chains

These are the most common ones that are distributed everywhere.  You can find them in most of Hong Kong, in almost every neighbourhood and they carry a variety of local and mixed groceries and goodies.  I tend to go to these for basics such as rice, toiletries, and condiments.  The great thing is that they do something localize it more depending on the area it’s in.  Some may carry more western goods, while others also lean towards Japanese or Korean.  I like these.  They are predictable, stable, and also do online shipping, which is amazing when you want to buy the heavy things like toilet paper, drinks, water, rice.

 

The Independents

These are the mom and pop shops.  There are a few categories which include:  dried foods, convenience stores, candy, fruit stands, herbs, frozen foods, etc…  These are also amazing and really have that neighbourhood feel to them.  You get to know the owners closely and then share experiences and ideas.  This is where some of my soup ideas and how to use the ingredients come from!

 

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Chicken Wintermelon Soup for Summer!

Chicken Wintermelon Soup for Summer!

Chicken Wintermelon Soup for Summer!

Soup Name

Chicken Wintermelon Soup for Summer!

Traditional Chinese Name:  

冬瓜雞湯 (dōng guā jī tāng)

 

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

Here is a variation on the wintermelon soup using chicken as the protein instead of pork.  It’s slightly cooling, helping to repair your yin energy and release heat from the body. 

I used a new root that I normally don’t put into this soup, which is the Japanese gobo root.  It’s has earthy, dark, and rich tones, so only use 3-4 pieces of it.  Add in your Chinese herbal base of dried red dates, dried longans, dried scallops, and dried goji berries to lighten it up and you’ve got yourself a beautiful summer soup for the whole family!

 

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 30 mins on stove + 4 hours in thermal pot

Total time: 5 hours 

Serves: 8-10 bowls

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Boil 1 separate pot of water to blanch your protein
  2. You can also begin to boil your pot of soup water in the thermal pot with the 3L of cold water
  3. Prepare your chicken any way you’d like.  I tend to quarter it and reserve the breast for another meal, using only the legs and bones.
  4. In your blanching pot, drop in the chicken bones and meat into the boiling water and blanch for 5-6 minutes, or until the water re-boils.
  5. Slice the wintermelon into large pieces, keeping the skin on.
  6. Using gloves, peel the Chinese (or Japanese) Yam and cut into large 2-inch thick pieces
  7. Cut the gobo root into 2 inch long pieces, keeping the skin on
  8. When your soup water boils, transfer the meat, add in the dried herbal ingredients, and all the roots and wintermelon
  9. Boil on high for 30 minutes
  10. Transfer for a thermal pot for another 4 hours to let it finish cooking
  11. Serve and enjoy!

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

 

 

 

Chef tips:

  • Keep the skin on the wintermelon to prevent it from disintegrating into the soup
  • Use gloves when handling the Chinese or Japanese Yam root as it is slippery and can make your hands itchy
  • When using a whole chicken, you can save either the breasts or legs for another meal and use only the bones
  • Use a thermal pot to conserve energy and make the technology work for you!  

 

Vegetarian Lotus Root with Chestnuts and Carrots Chinese Soup

Vegetarian Lotus Root with Chestnuts and Carrots Chinese Soup

Vegetarian Lotus Root with Chestnuts and Carrots Chinese Soup

Soup Name:

Vegetarian Lotus Root with Chestnuts and Carrots Chinese Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

蓮藕栗子素湯 (Lián’ǒu lìzǐ sù tāng)

 

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

I’m using dried mushrooms to replace pork bones and trying to honour the flavour profile of the lotus roots and carrots.  Slightly sweet, slightly earthy, that hint of nuttiness, but in a light broth that’s savory and smooth.

You can explore more vegetarian substitutes for meats in Chinese soups and get creative!

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 2 hour and 30 mins

Total time: 2 hour and 45 mins

Serves: 8 bowls

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Pre-soak your dried Chinese shiitake mushrooms in a bowl for 2 hours until they soften
  2. Remove the stems from the mushrooms
  3. Prepare your soup water on high heat with the 2 L of cold water in your thermal soup pot
  4. In a shallow pan, add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and on medium heat, pan fry the mushrooms with a bit of salt until fragrant and slightly browned on both sides
  5. Wash & peel the lotus root, cutting into large pieces
  6. Wash, peel, and cut carrot into large cubes
  7. Wash, peel, and cut corn into large pieces 
  8. When the water boils, add all the ingredients together
  9. Boil on medium to high heat for 30 minutes
  10. You can continue to boil on low heat for another 2 hours or put into your thermal pot 
  11. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • A neutral soup ideal for the whole family
  • Better for dryer, cooler weather as chestnuts are known to be a little bit wet and warming in nature
  • A versatile soup where you can change it up a bit and add other vegetables such as Chinese Yam, chayotes, or potatoes
  • Be sure to buy good quality Chinese dried mushrooms

For videos, visit us on YouTube. 

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Using Amazing Substitutes for Meats in Vegetarian Chinese Soups

Using Amazing Substitutes for Meats in Vegetarian Chinese Soups

Using Amazing Substitutes for Meats in Vegetarian Chinese Soups

When you want to go meatless, but don’t want to trade off flavour!  

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

There are so many options when you want to replace meats in Chinese soups!  I try to keep the flavour profile of the soup without compromising it with the replacements.  I find vegetarian soups less oily, have more fiber, and provide a different offering to my soups!  I am able to venture into a more unique group of ingredients I don’t always traditionally use.

Some tips for Vegetarian Chinese Soups:

  • While you don’t need to blanch these ingredients, some do taste better if you pan fry it first (ie: soy products, mushrooms, even some vegetables such as potatoes)
  • Many vegetarian choices have great shelf life (dried mushrooms can last greater than 1 year, packaged nuts like chestnuts and peanuts can also last 3-6 months), although fresh peanuts last around 5 days in the fridge
  • Save your tummy as these ingredients eat like a meal
  • You can get creative to mix and match, or create your own!
  • Mushrooms have a rich, earthy, profile to the their taste, while nuts also have some earthy taste, but lighter
  • There are so many amazing fruits and vegetables available in the Asian repertoire such as gobo (or burdock root),  Japanese pumpkin, seabed coconuts, even normal coconuts can work!
  • Don’t forget to consider Chinese Herbs as replacements as well

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