Quick Boil Chinese Soup Tips

Quick Boil Chinese Soup Tips

Quick Boil Chinese Soup Tips

So I’ve had various enquiries as to what constitutes a great quick boil and what are some tips I use for quick boils. It started out as a conversation with a colleague who said “I don’t have time to make these old fire Chinese soups!”, and I thought, well… there is a whole repertoire of quick boils soups available, why don’t I show my readers some and demonstrate just how easy and simple Chinese soups can be?

 

As a start, quick boil soups are soups that you typically can make under 30 minutes of boil, with 10-15 mins of prep time and is ready for immediate consumption.  Basically, you either have limited time or your stomach is demanding something quick.

 

 

Here are some common ingredients used in quick boil Chinese soups:

 

  • Melons make great quick boil candidates (winter melon, bitter melon, fuzzy melon, even watermelon and honey dew can be used!).
  • Fresh leafy greens such as bak choy, choy sum, napa cabbage are easy editions. Leafy vegetables tend to fare better in quick boil soups rather than old fire (or double-boiled soups).
  • Those great (smelly) dried Chinese seafood you find at the wet mart or Chinese herbalists are excellent! These include dried scallops (or conpoys), snails, conch, octopus, squid (cuttlefish), shrimp and whatever else you can find are excellent flavour enhancers when needed on such short notice.
  • Dried Chinese vegetables such as Chinese mushrooms, monkey head mushrooms,  and dried bak choy are also great quick boil additions! You’ll just need to soak the first thing you do if you’re preparing this soup.
  • Ready to go meats such as preserved Chinese Ham, cooked beef, fish, cuttlefish balls that are ready-to-serve or even any leftover meats such as pork ribs, steamed pork patty, chicken wings can be thrown into a quick boil.
  • Tofu! Tofu is a delight to add to quick boil soups. Tofu balls, large tofu chunks, ready-to-serve-tofu, tofu slices, however you can find them – you can definitely use them! A great vegetarian protein addition.
  • Easy meats such as fresh chicken wings, drumsticks, breasts, or sliced beef are good – you can even use frozen ones and use room temperature water to thaw quickly by soaking them in the water and changing the water a few times.

 

Here are also a few tips and tricks I’ve used for quick boil soups. Actually, I’d almost say they are critical to the success of the soup because you’ve got one constraint against you – time.

 

  • Use small cuts for everything – small cubes are best, especially for melons and vegetables such as carrots. Or go thin, like 2 cm thin slices of carrots, radish, mushrooms, etc..
  • Shuck corn if you like the corn separate, this will cook way faster. You can also use the cobs as part of the soup base.
  • Cut meats into smaller bite-sized pieces as well – they will also cook faster and as the water boils, it will release the flavours from more parts quicker.
  • Broths are your friends. If you need to enhance flavours, use chicken, beef or vegetable broth to boost the taste of the soup. Be sure to use MSG free ones.
  • Consider using the soup to help boil other parts of your dinner. For example, I will use the soup to boil broccoli for the children or choy sum for us. It’s a win-win situation!
  • If you’d like the soup to last a few days, you can definitely store leftovers in the fridge to be reheated up to 2-3 days later. I like making a bigger batch so I can consume later as to economize my efforts.

 

Try any of these quick boil soup recipes

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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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