Vegetables and Dried Octopus with Mung Beans Soup

Soup Name: Vegetables and Dried Octopus with Mung Beans Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 雜菜綠豆章魚湯 (Zá cài lǜ dòu zhāng yú tāng)

Introduction:

When it rains, the Chinese like using beans to absorb moisture from the body. Mung beans, dried beans, red beans, green beans, yellow beans, big beans and little beans – any type of beans will do really! The octopus is known to be a heaty ingredient and therefore is balanced with the cooler mung beans. This combination with lotus root is a delicious Spring Chinese soup ideal for the whole family. I’ve also added a variety of vegetables to sweeten it and dilute the unique taste of the octopus that my children pick up on. On top of this, it gives you a hearty soup that you can eat as a meal or additional dishes to your meal – like the corn.

What ingredients are required?

1 one-foot long lotus root, cut into bite size
1 whole dried octopus, sliced
100 g of mung beans
3 large fresh carrots, sliced
3 large fresh corn, quartered
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak dried octopus in cold water for about 30 minutes
  2. Boil your soup water
  3. Slice octopus in slices or quartered
  4. Wash and cut lotus root, carrots and corn
  5. Add all the ingredients into your boiling soup water
  6. Boil on high for thirty minutes and reduce to medium boil for another hour
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Excellent Chinese soup for Spring in absorbing wetness from the body
  • This soup is an excellent source of protein and low in fat
  • No salt required as the octopus already provides enough sodium
  • Octopus is rich in calcium, phosphorous, and iron
  • Dried Octopus aids in the prevention of anemia, relieves fatigue and restores eyesight and improves liver functions

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to purchase dried Chinese products from a reputable source
  • Sometimes the octopus is really salty, so if you want to reduce the saltiness, soak in warm water for a few hours
  • Dried octopus is high in cholesterol
  • People who are allergic to shellfish may be allergic to octopus

Lotus Root with Dried Octopus in Chicken Soup

Lotus Root with Dried Octopus in Chicken Soup

Soup Name:

Lotus Root with Dried Octopus in Chicken Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

章魚幹蓮藕雞湯 (zhāng yú gàn liánǒu jī tāng)

Nature:  This soup is neutral

Taste:  This soup is sweet to taste

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

This is a simple, easy-to-make soup that doesn’t require many ingredients. It’s a heavy sweet (not a light sweet) and appropriate for spring weather. This soup is quite neutral and ideal for children and adults. The dried octopus & dried mussels do give the soup a little bit of a “fishy” taste if you put too much, but use less if you’re concerned. It’s a similar taste to dried scallops almost. A naturally delicious soup for the whole family.

This combination of octopus and chicken works amazing with many types of roots, such as arrowroot, lotus root, or fresh Chinese yam.  It goes nicely with earthy tastes as it really brings out the flavours of the roots.  And the amazing thing is that it eats like a meal!  I will serve the roots and the chicken meat, with a small plate of soy sauce, and it’s delicious! 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 1 hour

Total time: 1 hour and 30 mins

Serves: 4 bowls

Ingredients
Cooking Instructions
  1. Prepare chicken (see chicken post) and blanch in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and set aside
  2. Soak dried octopus and baby mussels in water for about 30 minutes
  3. Boil your soup water
  4. Slice octopus in slices or quartered
  5. Peel and cut arrowroot into large cubes
  6. Add all the ingredients into your boiling soup water
  7. Boil on high for thirty minutes and reduce to medium boil for another hour
  8. Serve and enjoy!

An alternative which is often used with lotus roots is to stuff the lotus root with green or yellow (mung) beans.  The beans are slightly cooling, but you can drop in a slice of ginger to balance it out.  This is a very popular way of making lotus roots in southern China, particularly Guangzhou and is often served in large portions for large families.

Lotus roots can also be stuffed with sticky rice (yum!), pan fried, sliced, marinated raw in a beautiful vinaigrette, and a host of other preparation method!  It’s definitely one of my favourite and most diverse roots in the Chinese menu! 

 

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Lotus Roots with Mung Beans in Dried Octopus Soup

Lotus Roots with Mung Beans in Dried Octopus Soup

Soup Name:

Lotus Roots with Mung Beans and Dried Octopus Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

蓮藕綠豆章魚湯 (liánǒu lǜdòu zhāng yú tāng)

Nature:  This soup is slightly cooling

Taste:  This soup is sweet to taste

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When making any dried octopus soup, this is the most basic and common set of ingredients. It’s simple (with only 3 ingredients), easy to prepare and delicious (and slightly cooling). To me, most dried seafood tastes the same, something a little fishy and slightly sweet. In fact, you can substitute dried “insert your seafood here” for these type of soups. Other types of octopus soups also include peanuts or various other vegetables (like chayotes). I’ll have to make other types to demonstrate the diverseness of dried octopus, but here’s my first.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 1 hour 15 mins

Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins

Total time: 2 hour and 45 mins

Serves: 4 bowls

Ingredients
Cooking Instructions
  1. Rinse and soak the dried octopus and mung beans in warm water for an hour
  2. Boil your soup water
  3. Prepare lotus roots by washing and cutting into edible portions
  4. Using scissors or a sharp knife, slice the dried octopus into thin slices (or quartered if you don’t plan to eat it)
  5. When your water boils, add all the ingredients in and boil on high for 30 minutes.  Reduce to a medium boil for another hour.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

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Dried Octopus

Ingredient Name: Dried Octopus

Traditional Chinese Name: 章魚幹 (Zhāng yú gàn)

What is this?
  • This is basically the dried preserved carcass of a small octopus (an eight-legged mollusc that lives in the ocean)
  • It is prepared by sun drying them with salt
  • It is salty and slightly “fishy” in taste with a rubbery and hard texture
  • Commonly used in soups, stews and other Chinese dishes (usually sliced very thinly)

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse in warm water before usage and soak in warm water for about an hour to soften it
  • For soups, you can cut them into thin slices (for consumption) or simply half it

Where can I buy this?

  • Readily available at most Asian supermarkets (packaged)
  • Definitely available in Hong Kong wet marts (sold in the dried food vendor stalls)

What is the cost?

  • Very affordable
  • One average-sized octopus (as picture above) cost me around $30 HKD
  • The prices do vary depending on size, breed and availability

Any benefits?

  • This is a perfect ingredient for soups as it is makes the soup extremely tasty (without adding salt)
  • Octopus is rich in calcium, phosphorous, and iron
  • It aids in the prevention of anemia, relieves fatigue and restores eyesight and improves liver functions

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to purchase from a reputable source
  • Sometimes the octopus is really salty, so if you want to reduce the saltiness, soak in warm water for a few hours
  • Dried octopus is high in cholestorel
  • People who are allergic to shellfish may be allergic to octopus

Additional Information

  • Store in a dry and cool place (up to 3 months)
  • You can freeze them as well for longer storage (up to 6 months)
  • This is a similar ingredient to the dried cuttlefish, both are prepared and used in a similar fashion