Pork Ribs

Ingredient Name:  Pork Ribs (Fresh)

Traditional Chinese Name:  豬肋骨(zhū lèi gǔ)

What is this?

  • Pork ribs is the part of the pork where the ribs are (usually in the upper chest cavity area)
  • This cut contains both meat and bones
  • Depending on where the ribs are cut, you can get baby back ribs or spare ribs (both are OK for soups)
  • The meat in its raw state is tough and lean with some fat content (depending again how it is cut)
  • When cooked, it is soft and is usually eaten with soy sauce and will fall off the bone (yum!)

How do I prepare it?

  • Simply wash with cool water
  • Blanching is required when used in soups
  • You can cut the ribs into either singular ribs or in multiple ribs (not too large though, at most 2 bones kept together)

Where can I buy this?

  • You can buy this in any supermarket
  • In Asian supermarkets, you can purchase them by weight and request the size of cut you want

What is the cost?

  • Pork ribs costs around $30 HKD for 200 grams

Any benefits?

  • Pork contains many nutrients (including 6 essential vitamins)
  • It is a good source of iron, zinc, Vitamin B6 and protein
  • It is said to be a healthier red meat substitute over beef
  • This cut is lean and has a low amount of fat

Any precautions?

  • Pork must be cooked thoroughly before consumption as there is still a potential risk of salmonella
  • Consumption of meat must be done in moderation

Additional Information?

  • Pork ribs can be kept frozen for up to 3 months
  • Fresh pork ribs should be consumed within 4 days

Arrowroot and Water Chestnuts Vegetarian Soup

Soup Name: Arrowroot and Water Chestnuts Vegetarian Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 馬蹄粉葛湯 (mǎtí fěn gé tāng)

Introduction:

This soup is great for heated bodies and sore throats.  It is mildly cooling, but extremely soothing with it’s sweet taste and smoothness.  Since it’s meat free, it’s completely oil free and by adding more carrots, you can sweeten it to the point where you can consider drinking it cold (definitely tasted amazing cold because it really helped cool my poor, fiery throat).  You can consider adding other ingredients as well, such as corn, onions, pumpkin or even meats (pork, chicken or fish are all good meats to “salty” up the soup).

What ingredients are required?

1 arrowroot, peeled & sliced
10-15 fresh water chestnuts
2 fresh carrots, cut into large pieces
1 peel of dried tangerine peel
3 large dried dates
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Peel and cut arrowroot into large cubes
  2. Wash & peel water chestnuts
  3. Wash, peel and cut carrots into large cubes
  4. Wash and prepare dried tangerine peel (by scraping it with a flat knife on both sides)
  5. Boil your soup water and when it boils, add all the ingredients together
  6. Boil on high for thirty minutes and reduce to medium boil for another hour
  7. Serve and enjoy!
  8. Can be served cold, so you can refrigerate before serving

Any benefits?

  • Helps eliminate sore throats and heaty bodies
  • It is a mildly cooling soup
  • It’s quite diverse in that you can add meats (to make it more salty or just add salt in moderation) or keep it a sweet, cold drink and refrigerate prior to consumption
  • Excellent for young children

Any precautions?

  • Pregnant women in their first trimester or menstruating should take caution as it is mildly cooling
  • Avoid if coughing (as mildly cooling ingredients may further aggravate your cough)

 

Voice Recovery Tea

Soup Name: Voice Recovery Tea or “Lost Voice” Tea

Traditional Chinese Name: 開聲茶 (kāi shēng chá)

Introduction:

This drink is literally called “Open Voice Tea”.  I’m not posting the ingredients to this tea because I don’t actually know them all.  I bought this as a prepackaged “tea” from my Chinese doctor because I lost my voice due to a cold or cough or throat infection (I’m not sure because it’s been a long 4-week marathon of illness).  What you will notice in this tea is that there are these GIANT, MEGA flies in them.  I have yet to figure out what breed they are and what are the uses, but my Chinese colleagues at work have told me that it’s common to drink these flies when one loses their voice (so it’s not completely a wacko’s idea of a joke).  The tea tastes pretty minty and thoroughly bitter and I didn’t enjoy it one bit.  I’m not sure whether it worked or not, but I did eventually get my voice back after drowning myself in Chinese medicine because all else failed.  You can buy this prepackaged from your local herbalist or Chinese doctor and it cost around $30 HKD per pack.  I’m not a fan of Chinese medicine, but I couldn’t help post this very interesting discovery.

What ingredients are required?

Ask your Chinese doctor or herbalist if such a tea exists.  I didn’t delve too deeply into the ingredients because I was in a rush and just wanted something to give me my voice back.  I will write this section if and when I have time to go back to dissect it.

How do I prepare it?

  1. Put all the ingredients into a cup
  2. Add boiling water to the brim and steep for 5 minutes
  3. Drain or pour out the tea only
  4. You can drink the tea a few times by adding boiling water back into the original cup (repeat above instructions)

Any benefits?

  • It’s supposed to help you recover your “lost” voice – literally

Any precautions?

  • I drank 2 cups in a period of about 3 hours and started getting dizzy right after (ie: felt like I was on a floating high – oscillating around the office)
  • Take caution if you don’t think you can handle too cooling ingredients (definitely ask the Chinese doctor)
  • It tastes very bitter

The flies (up close & personal)

Vegetarian Snow Pear and Corn Soup

Soup Name: Vegetarian Snow Pear and Corn Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 雪梨玉米湯 (xuě lí yù mǐ tāng)

Introduction:

This simple, clean and very sweet soup is great for people with sore throats or heaty bodies.  You can actually drink it cold or hot and it’s ideal for all seasons.  I’ve decided to go meatless because I wanted to drink it cool and it turned out fabulous.  Fat free, oil free and made with all natural ingredients, it’s great for kids and adults alike.

What ingredients are required?

4 fresh snow pears, halved and cored
3 fresh carrots, cut into large pieces
2 fresh corn, cut into large pieces
1 fresh onion, quartered

2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Wash and prepare all the vegetables and snow pears
  2. Boil your soup water
  3. When your soup water boils, throw all the ingredients together
  4. Boil on high heat for 30 minutes and reduce to a medium boil for another 1 hour
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Meatless soup is great for vegetarians and is fat and oil free
  • Helps cool the body
  • Great for sore throats
  • Excellent source of Vitamin C
  • Can be drank both cold or hot

Any precautions?

  • Snow pears are a cooling food, so may not be suitable for all consumers

Dried Salted Fish

Ingredient Name: Dried Salted Fish

Traditional Chinese Name: 鹽魚 (yán yú) in Cantonese

What is this?
  • A dried fish that is preserved in salt (carried down from many centuries of tradition and food preparation)
  • It is a fish that is treated with a salt solution or dry salt and then left in the sun to dry
  • Chinese-styled dried fish is usually softened by partial decomposition before or during salting
  • The fish comes available as you see it (see above picture) or in western super markets, is prepackaged
  • Salted dried fish is commonly used in many Chinese dishes and stews
  • It actually tastes very salty and the texture is quite dense, but not too hard

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse in warm water before soup usage
  • Cut off required portion only (as it is really quite salty) – usually a quarter is sufficient

Where can I buy this?

  • Commonly available in all wet marts in Asia (Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and South East Asian countries)
  • You can even purchase this in some western supermarkets that stock Asian food

What is the cost?

  • This is not an expensive ingredient and the price varies depending on size and packaging

Any benefits?

  • Adds a lot of extra salt “punch” without adding other additives
  • Minimal preparation is needed
  • Low in fats

Any precautions?

  • This type of dried salted food is extremely high in salt content and consumption should be moderated
  • Some types of Chinese salted dried fish are high in carcinogenics (cancer causing agents)
  • I would take extra caution with serving this to children if possible (once in a blue moon is OK, but why take the risk?)

Additional Information

  • Store in a dry and cool place in a tightly sealed container
  • Can store in the fridge for up to 3 months