Old Cucumber and Carrots in Pork Broth

Old Cucumber and Carrots in Pork Broth

 

Another soup for the damp, wet spring season! You’ll find a recurring theme within Spring soups, mainly consisting of an assortment of beans and certain vegetables that are diuretic. This is a simple soup with a pretty strong “bean” taste – so use less beans if it’s for kids. Mine found it a bit too “beany” and didn’t really like it that much. Consider adding corn to sweeten it up, but the adults lapped it up. It’s an easy to drink soup that is excellent for our health during this time of the year, especially when it’s wet and humid. You can also use chayotes, onions and fish for variation.

Soup Name: Old Cucumber and Carrots in Pork Broth

Traditional Chinese Name:  老黃瓜胡蘿蔔湯 (lǎo huáng guā hú luóbo tāng)

Old Cucumber and Carrots in Pork Broth
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/pork-shank/”]fresh pork shank[/url], cut and blanched
  • 1 large [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/old-cucumber/”]old cucumber[/url], washed and largely cubed (with skin)
  • 2 large [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/carrots/”]fresh carrots[/url], peeled and largely cubed
  • 3 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/large-dried-dates/”]dried honey dates[/url]
  • 40 g [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/lentils/”]lentil[/url]
  • 40 g [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/azuki-beans/”]red beans[/url]
  • 1 small piece of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/tangerine-peels-dried/”]dried tangerine peel[/url], cleaned
  • 2 L of water
Instructions
  1. In a small pot of boiling water, blanch your pork for 5 minutes. Scoop out and rinse of any excess foam.
  2. Start boiling your soup water.
  3. Prepare old cucumber and carrots. Keep the peel for the old cucumber to prevent disintegration.
  4. Soak the dried tangerine peel in warm water for 5 minutes and with a sharp knife, scrape the outer peel (where it’s darker in color) to remove the outer layer of the skin (which is most bitter).
  5. When you soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
  6. Boil on high for 30 minutes and reduce to a medium boil for another 1.5 hours.
  7. Salt to taste – enjoy!

 

Miso Ramen

Miso ramen with peas, corn, narutomaki and soft-boiled egg

 

This simple, easy-to-make with readily available Japanese-styled Miso Ramen is awesome for a rainy day or when you need to whip up something quick. In short, Miso ramen can go with anything you can dig up in your fridge, including leftovers, frozen goodies or simply by itself. It’s so popular and so easy, it can be classified as instant noodles in Asia where manufacturers have made it into the 5 minute meal with all packaged sauces and condiments. In this version, I’m still using packaged dashi (Japanese fish stock) and miso, but one day, I will make dashi from scratch! We also purposefully went to buy some Japanese-styled  fish sticks, known as Narutokmaki, and some fancy looking “piggy” narutomaki. I love Japanese food (so does my whole family) and the Japanese culture, styling, food is highly prevalent in Hong Kong. To be honest with you, if I had to pick one cuisine which I had to eat for the rest of my life, it would be Japanese. And plus my kids all attended a Japanese International Kindergarten, they are/were highly influenced by their Japanese peers. You should see some of the award-winning Japanese lunch boxes that the Japanese moms prepare, they win hands down!

 

Soup Name: Miso Ramen

Traditional Chinese Name:  日本拉麵 (Rì běn lā miàn)

 

Miso Ramen
Recipe Type: Noodles
Cuisine: Japanese
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 2 oz of fresh ramen
  • 1/2 teaspoon [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/dashi-japanese-fish-stock/”]dashi powder[/url]
  • 1 tablespoon [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/miso-paste/”]miso paste[/url]
  • 1 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chicken-eggs/”]fresh egg[/url]
  • 1 tablespoon frozen or fresh peas
  • 1/2 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/corn/”]fresh corn[/url], boiled and cut off the cob
  • slices of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/narutomaki/”]narutomaki[/url]
  • 3 pieces of sausages
  • 3 cups of water
Instructions
  1. In a pot, start boiling your water and add in the egg(s) while the water is still cold and the corn.
  2. Once the water starts boiling, add in the dashi and miso (to help also flavor the eggs and corn).
  3. Boil the eggs on medium heat for 8 minutes, remove and set aside to cool to peel later.
  4. Boil the corn for another 5 minutes, remove and let cool.
  5. Throw in the frozen peas, sausages, and the fresh ramen and boil for another 5 minutes (or until desirable tenderness).
  6. Remove ramen and put into a serving bowl.
  7. Scoop out peas and sausages and set aside.
  8. Add soy sauce to soup to desired saltiness (although with the amount of dashi and miso, to me, it’s sufficiently salty).
  9. Scoop desired amount of soup into serving bowl.
  10. Cut corn off the cob and serve on top of noodles.
  11. Rinse egg under cold water and gently remove the shell. Half the egg with a sharp knife. The middle should be soft and gorgeous!
  12. Place peas, sausages, narutomaki, corn on top and serve!

 

For my family, I made 4 portions, but the portioning of the toppings is really dependent on what people prefer. I am talking about custom-design Miso Ramen! For example, one child is crazy about green peas, so she pretty much ate them all! The other is crazy about narutomaki, so she also ate them all!

I boiled the corn in the miso and dashi soup at the beginning with the egg. This will help infuse flavor into the corn.

Shucked corn off the cob (boiled in miso soup for added flavor)

You can use either fresh or dried ramen. The fresh kind are pretty awesome though and can be bought at Japanese supermarkets in the cold sections.

Fresh ramen

For these types of noodles, the toppings can get as creative as your imagination.

You can use:

  • Any types of veggies really (corn, peas, carrots, bak choy, choy sum, onion, green onions…)
  • Any types of readily prepared meats (sausages, BBQ pork, sliced pork, ham, chicken strips, fish balls, beef balls…)
  • Japanese styled narutomaki (they are really creative with the types of narutomaki available – see piggies below!)

You can use ANY toppings you want!

Here are some really cute and yummy narutomaki piggies! The Japanese kiddies bring these to school as is and eat them with cute toothpicks.

CUTE narutomaki piggies!

The final product for the children. We turned it into “buffet-styled-make-your-own-ramen” dinner – so basically laid out all the toppings and just gave the kids a bowl of soup with ramen and let them figure out the rest! It’s a great activity and they loved it! Plus, you hold them accountable in all the food they took.

Japanese miso ramen – for kids!

 

 

Dashi (Japanese Fish Stock)

Dashi, Japanese fish stock

Ingredient Name:  Dashi (Japanese Fish Stock)

Traditional Chinese Name: 出汁, だし (dashi)

What is this?

  • The name of a common Japanese soup base or stock used in a variety of soups (such as miso soup or clear broth), noodles, stews, or various simmering liquids and sauces
  • It’s made from kelp and fermented or dried bonito fish
  • You can always add vegetables and or other types of dried fish (similar to making basic chicken stock)
  • It’s a clear, yellowish liquid and can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 month

How do I prepare it?

  • I will definitely need to “make” it from scratch another day
  • But for the purpose of my miso soups, I’m using dried and prepackaged dashi bought from the supermarket

Where can I buy this?

  • Japanese supermarkets will definitely carry this such as Jusco, AEON and Apita
  • I had trouble finding it in even Asian supermarkets

What is the cost?

  • 1 box (with 4 packs) costs $25 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Ready-to-serve and ready-to-use fish stock
  • Non-perishable and comes in these tiny packs that are great for one portion use

Any precautions?

  • These products normally contain MSG and should be consumed in moderation
  • From my personal opinion, they are high in sodium (salt / NaCl)

Narutomaki or Naruto

Narutomaki or Japanese cured fish “stick”

Ingredient Name:  Narutomaki, Naruto (which is the name of a Japanese anime!)

Traditional Chinese Name: 鳴門巻き/なると巻き (narutomaki)

What is this?

  • The name “Naruto” is actually an Anime
  • Narutomaki – the maki is meant as a long roll or something in a cylindrical form – ie: “maki” sushi rolls
  • A steamed Japanese fish “stick” or “cake”, similar to the Chinese fish balls
  • It’s normally sold as one long, white stick in a flower shaped, with a pink swirl in the middle
  • The taste is slightly salty and fishy, but not a bad way. It’s actually quite delicious!

How do I prepare it?

  • They are edible when bought frozen or cold
  • You can quickly boil to make warm before adding directly on top of noodles, soup or other dishes

Where can I buy this?

  • Most Asian supermarkets will carry this
  • The frozen section of the wet marts in HK will also carry this (or the “fish ball vendors”)
  • Japanese supermarkets will definitely carry this such as Jusco, AEON and Apita

What is the cost?

  • In Hong Kong, 1 length cost between $12-15 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Ready-to-eat and slice directly from the freeze or fridge
  • They are great for kids because of the decorative look
  • Low in fat

Any precautions?

  • These products normally contain MSG and should be consumed in moderation
  • From my personal opinion, they are high in sodium (salt / NaCl)

 

Narutomaki in it’s pre-cut form being sliced

Spring Chayotes and Figs in Pork Broth

Spring Chayotes and Figs in Pork Broth

My herbalist recommended I make this soup given the recent change of temperature and humidity. She actually only provides the “dried goodies” – see below – in terms of herbs. She will tell you that you additionally need a pork shank and chayotes to complete the soup. This soup is targeted to help reduce wetness in the body and aid with the dampness that comes with Spring in Hong Kong. It’s slightly sweet to taste, and surprisingly, my children drank it all!

 

Soup Name: Spring Chayotes and Figs in Pork Broth

Traditional Chinese Name:  合掌瓜豬展湯 (hup jeung gwa zhū zhǎn tāng)

 

Spring Chayotes and Figs in Pork Broth
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese Soup
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/pork-shank/”]fresh pork shank[/url], cut and blanched
  • 3 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chayote/”]fresh chayotes[/url], largely cubed with skin
  • 5 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/string-figs-dried/”]dried figs[/url]
  • 5 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/large-dried-dates/”]dried honey dates[/url]
  • 30 g [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/apricot-kernals/”]apricot kernals[/url]
  • 30 g [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/lily-bulbs/”]dried lily bulbs[/url]
  • 40 g [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/lotus-seed/”]dried lotus seeds[/url]
  • 40 g of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/fu-ling-or-tuckahoe/”]dried fu ling (or tuckahoe)[/url]
  • 2-3 L of water
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Start boiling your soup water and immediately (while the water is still cold) throw in all the dried herbs (figs, honey dates, apricot kernals, lily bulbs, lotus seeds)
  2. In a separate pot, blanch the pork shank for 5 minutes, drain and set aside
  3. Once the water boils, add in cubed chayotes (with the skin on so it won’t completely disintegrate in the soup) and pork shank
  4. Boil on high for 30 minutes
  5. Reduce to a medium boil for another 1.5 hours (or put it in a thermal pot)
  6. Salt to salt
  7. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
[b]Any benefits?[/b][br][br]The combination of chayotes and figs help relieve wetness from the body as chayotes are diuretic.[br]The soup is high in potassium (which help remove water from the body).[br]Chayotes are often used in cleansing diets or used as the season changes to help cleanse the body.[br]Chayotes are rich in amino acids.[br]The soup is good for removing damp heat (from the fu ling).[br][br][b]Any precautions?[/b][br][br]Add the figs into the soup while it’s cold or it will turn the soup sour if you add it in hot. I have never tried it, but this is what both my mother and my herbalist tell me![br]Most melon soups, chayotes included, will sour the day after, so consume the soup that day.

 

This is the base of the soup. Just add chayotes and any type of meat (either pork, chicken or fish).

Dried Herbs for Chinese Soup