Quick Boil Winter Melon, Mushrooms with Corn in Chicken Broth

Quick Boil Winter Melon, Mushrooms with Corn in Chicken Broth

Quick Boil Winter Melon, Mushrooms with Corn in Chicken Broth

Soup Name

Quick Boil Winter Melon, Mushrooms with Corn in Chicken Broth

Traditional Chinese Name:  

冬瓜冬菇 玉米 雞熬湯(dōng guā dōng gū yù mǐ jī ao tāng)

Nature of soup:  Slightly cooling (primarily from the winter melon)

This is the start of the “Quick Boil Series” of soups. It was requested by a friend who wanted to know how to make healthy, but quick soups for those busy-body people. In general, quick boil soups take around 10 minutes to prepare and about 25-30 minutes to boil and contain easy-to-find, supermarket type ingredients that are readily available so not a lot of planning is required. This is one of my favourite quick boil soups – the winter melon. To start, quick boil soups usually require smaller cuts of vegetables or meats (so that they soften quicker and you can extract the flavours more quickly). The winter melon is a classic example of boiling it for around 30 minutes and you’ll find the flesh has become translucent and soft and edible. It’s simply delicious, suitable for the whole family and super easy to make!

    Start with soaking the mushrooms and dried conpoys. You’ll need a good 5 minutes to get the mushroom stems nice and soft, so for those who don’t eat them or prefer not to eat them, you can cut them off and then quarter or slice the mushrooms thinly. I keep these mushrooms in the freezer and they have been there for 6 months plus and are still great!

      Start with soaking the mushrooms and dried conpoys. You’ll need a good 5 minutes to get the mushroom stems nice and soft, so for those who don’t eat them or prefer not to eat them, you can cut them off and then quarter or slice the mushrooms thinly. I keep these mushrooms in the freezer and they have been there for 6 months plus and are still great!

        During this time, you can begin to boil your soup water. For a family of four, I used about 3 L of water and had plenty to go around. You can then begin to peel and slice your winter melon. In normal old fire Chinese soups, I would keep the skin on, but for quick boils, I would recommend removing the skin. This way, the winter melon softens much quicker, but you can add the skin into the soup for flavour. The winter melons are normally sold like this (if they are the large ones). The vendors or supermarket will already pre-slice them for you, so simply shave the skin off lying it flat on one side.  After that, cube the winter melon so they are literally bite-sized. This makes them quicker to soften and cook and also, easier to eat!

          The next things to do are slice the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces as well. Keep them cubed and consistent with the size of the winter melons. No real reason other than the fact that it’s symmetrically similar and will also cook faster. You can also slice your mushrooms into cubes or into thin slices as pictured below. Similarly, bite-sized for ease of cooking.  Same for the corn. The smaller the cut of the corn, the quicker it will cook and consistently “small” with the rest of the soup ingredients. In this case, I quartered them.

            Once the water boils, throw all the ingredients together. People do ask me why I use boiling water in so many of my soup recipes, it’s because the immediate contact with heat cooks the meat or vegetables faster and prevents too much slow breakdown of the meat overtime and you’re able to save time by boiling it in parts.

              Boil on high heat until it really comes to a big boil again – which should be about 5 minutes. Once it’s boiling, reduce heat to a medium boil – but leave it covered (in order to maintain some pressure in the pot) for another 20 minutes. At this time, I will add either half a cup of chicken stock or 1 teaspoon of powdered chicken bouillon. This way, enough time has passed for the flavours of the ingredients to come out and you can taste how much you want to further season the soup. Don’t forget to taste it along the way! You’ll know it’s close to being done with the chicken breast has turned complete white and opaque and your winter melon is a nice translucent colour. Serve and enjoy! Don’t forget to scoop out the delicious ingredients to eat as part of your hearty soup.

                Ingredients

                • 2 medium-sized chicken breasts, bite-sized cubed
                • 1 x 2-inch thick slice of winter melon, skinned and bite-sized cubed
                • 2 fresh corn, quartered
                • 7-8 dried Chinese mushrooms, sliced thinly
                • 5 pieces of dried conpoy
                • 1 teaspoon of powdered chicken bouillon
                • 3 L of water

                Cooking Instructions

                1. Being by soaking Chinese mushrooms in warm water for 5 minutes
                  2. Start to boil your soup water
                  3. Cube chicken breast
                  4. Slice and cube winter melon – don’t throw away the skin (use it in the soup)
                  5. Quarter corn
                  6. Drain mushrooms and remove the stems with a knife of scissors and slice thinly
                  7. When your soup water boils, throw all your cut ingredients into the soup (add the bouillon last)
                  8. Boil on high for 5 minutes
                  9. Reduce boil to a medium-boil for another 20 minutes
                  10. Taste and add chicken bouillon (try 1 teaspoon first)
                  11. Boil for another 5 minutes
                  12. Serve and enjoy!

                For video on “7 Basic Chinese Soup Pantry Ingredients”, visit us on YouTube.

                Here are some examples of other soups using winter melon:

                Have you seen those whole winter melons that are carried out and the soup’s inside?  Well, here it is!  Make your very own double-boiled whole winter melon soup! 

                  I love a good fusion soup once in awhile and this winter melon parma ham mix is delicious!  It eats like a meal!  

                    Winter melon is also a great ingredient for teas!  This cooling tea is perfect for clearing the heaty body and relieving excess yang.

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                      Shimeji Japanese Mushrooms

                      Shimeji Japanese Mushrooms

                      Shimeji Japanese Mushrooms

                      Ingredient Name:

                      Shimeji Mushrooms

                      Traditional Chinese Name:

                      日本蘑菇 (rìběn mógu)

                      Video on “How to Prepare Mushrooms for Chinese Cooking” on YouTube. 

                      • This is a mushroom native to East Asia and is a group of mushrooms which are widely cultivated
                      • There are a variety of mushrooms that belong to this family (Mycorrhiza, Saprotroph, Hatake-Shimeji)
                      • As a raw mushroom, the taste is slightly bitter
                      • The texture is firm and slightly crunchy with a slightly nutty flavor when cooked (which ultimately translates into the soup taste)
                      • Commonly used in stir-fried foods, soups, stews and sauces
                      • This is also available as a dried product where you’ll need to rehydrate before usage

                      How do I prepare it?

                      For fresh shimeji mushrooms, cut off the stems where the bunch begins to grow, rinse in cool water, and use directly as is.  Be sure to be using fresh shimeji mushrooms.  They should be firm and dry to feel.  You’ll know they’ll begin to outlast their shelf life when they either dry out, shrivel and become wrinkly, or have a wet film around them (which is a sign they may begin to mold).

                      For preparing and using mushrooms, both dried and fresh, you can watch our video on “How to prepare and use mushrooms in Chinese cooking“.  

                      There’s also an amazing section below on preparing and using mushrooms as a meat substitute.

                      Where can I buy it and cost?

                          • You can purchase these from most Asian supermarkets prepackaged (dried shimeji mushrooms)
                          • They are also sold fresh in supermarkets and wet marts
                          • You can also purchase this in bulk from specialty stores (online herbal shops)
                          • Be sure that you’re buying from a reputable source
                          • These mushrooms aren’t very expensive at all!  For a pack of 2 bunches, they cost $3-4 CAD.

                      Any benefits?

                          • Shimeji mushrooms are amazing source of fiber, including Vitamin B
                          • They are known to contain equivalent amounts of amino acids as meat, making them great substitutes for meat
                          • The taste of dried shimeji mushrooms are acquired, but pack a punch in flavour when added to soups and stews
                          • They are immune boosting and have antioxidant properties
                          • You can use these in a variety of soups and stews and can be found in many recipes

                      Any precautions?

                          • Be sure you are buying these from a reputable source as there are cases where they are fake

                          • I like to soak them and then rub them a bit to ensure they’re clean.  This is to remove any potential drying agents or additives that are added as part of the drying process.

                          • Be sure to soak them for at least an hour until they are soft or they’ll be hard to digest

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                      Chayotes, Corn with Mushrooms in Pork Broth

                      Chayotes, Corn with Mushrooms in Pork Broth

                      Chayotes, Corn with Mushrooms in Pork Broth

                      Soup Name:

                      Chayotes, Corn with Mushrooms in Pork Broth

                      Chinese Name: 合掌瓜玉米茶樹菇豬骨湯 (hup jeung gwa yù mǐ cha shu gu zhū gǔ tāng)

                      This soup is neutral in nature and sweet to taste.

                       

                      For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

                      A very simple, healthy and slightly sweet soup to make that is ideal for all seasons and weather.  The ingredients are all very neutral, although the mushrooms aren’t the easiest ingredients to find, but you’re welcome to used the dried version instead or other mushrooms such as shiitake mushrooms (or Chinese mushrooms) or shimeji mushrooms.

                      This soup is relatively neutral because of the pork bones, corn, and mushrooms.  The chayotes are slightly cooling, but in general, aren’t extremely cooling (like winter melon or other melons). 

                      You can learn more about cooling and warming ingredients in Chinese soups to help you design the soup you need for your personal conditions and balance, and weather!  

                       

                      What’s involved?

                      Prep time: 30 mins

                      Cook time: 2 hours and 30 mins

                      Total time: 3 hour

                      Serves: 8 bowls

                      Ingredients

                       

                      Cooking Instructions
                      1. Pre-marinate the pork bones overnight with the salt (although this step is not necessary)
                      2. Boil your soup water
                      3. Blanch pork bones in a separate pot of boiling water
                      4. Wash and soak mushrooms
                      5. Wash, cut and cube chayotes and corn
                      6. When the water boils, add all the ingredients together
                      7. Boil on high for thirty minutes, reduce to a simmer boil for another 2 hours
                      8. Serve!
                      Any benefits?
                      • This soup is extremely easy to make and tasty
                      • It is neutral, so the whole family can enjoy (including children)
                      • Ideal for strengthening the stomach, spleen, and kidney
                      • The mushrooms, chayote, and corn also make for great additions to the meal
                      • This soup is great source of fiber
                      • You can use this with chicken as well (as the protein)

                      For videos, visit us on YouTube.

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                      Chinese Mushrooms

                      Chinese Mushrooms

                      Chinese Mushrooms

                      Ingredient Name:

                      Dried chinese Mushrooms, dried shiitake mushrooms, 

                      Traditional Chinese Name:

                      冬菇 (dōng gū)

                      Video on “How to Prepare Mushrooms for Chinese Cooking” on YouTube. 

                      This is a MUST HAVE in your Chinese soup (or cooking) pantry!  It can be used for soups, stews, stir-fry, herbal drinks, or hot pots and has a very flavourful taste (and sometimes a more unique smell depending if you like it or not) which enhances whatever it is you’re making.

                      These typically come dried and you’ll see all sorts of sizes, shapes, and colours (ranging from dark brown to light brown and various patterns).  Shiitake mushrooms are the most commonly used mushrooms in the Chinese cuisine and their Chinese name comes from the fact that they are grown in colder climates.

                      How do I prepare it?

                        These little mushrooms come pretty hard and firm (they are dried after all) and need a good soak before they are usable in any form.
                        I’ll usually use 5-6 in a soup and soak them in cool water for an hour, rotating them once in awhile to ensure they’re fully submerged.  Once the stems and the body becomes soft, sponge-like, and malleable, you can remove the stems or slice them as needed.
                        You can also watch our “Mushrooms:  How to use them in Chinese Food!”  video on  YouTube.
                          There’s also a great video section in this video on using vegetarian options in place of meats in “Amazing Substitutes for Meats in Chinese Soups”.

                      Where can I buy it and cost?

                          • You can purchase these from most Asian supermarkets prepackaged
                          • You can also purchase this in bulk from specialty stores (online herbal shops)
                          • Be sure that you’re buying from a reputable source
                          • The price range of these mushrooms is insane!  And I thought they were only mushrooms!  Supermarkets normally carry a package of 200g for less than $10 CAD
                          • However, at the specialty shops, I have seen these for way more!  They scale almost similarly to dried scallops where you can cheaper ones or more expensive ones.  To be honest, if you’re using them in soups, normal ones will do.  Sometimes, they have perfectly round, large ones when they make wedding or Chinese New Year’s dishes (like the mushrooms and fat choy dish).

                      Any benefits?

                          • Shiitake mushrooms are amazing source of fiber, including Vitamin B
                          • They are known to contain equivalent amounts of amino acids as meat, making them great substitutes for meat
                          • The taste of dried shiitake mushrooms are acquired, but pack a punch in flavour when added to soups and stews
                          • They are immune boosting and have antioxidant properties
                          • You can use these in a variety of soups and stews and can be found in many recipes

                      Any precautions?

                          • Be sure you are buying these from a reputable source as there are cases where they are fake

                          • I like to soak them and then rub them a bit to ensure they’re clean.  This is to remove any potential drying agents or additives that are added as part of the drying process.

                          • Be sure to soak them for at least an hour until they are soft or they’ll be hard to digest

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                      HOW TO CHECK IF YOU'RE IMPROVING BLOOD CIRCULATION? I'm always curious about metrics and measuring success or at least measuring progress.  What started as an initial recommendation from my Chinese doctor to do foot soaks to improve circulation, turned into a full...

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