Quick Boil Wintermelon, Lotus Seeds and Beef Soup

Soup Name: Quick Boil Wintermelon, Lotus Seeds and Beef Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 牛肉冬瓜熬湯 (niú ròu dōng guā áo tāng)

Introduction:

In a rush but still want to make tasty, healthy Chinese soup?  There is this thing going around Hong Kong where people say that “old fire” soups aren’t always the healthiest thing.  They can be heavy in ingredients and potentially an overkill on herbs, especially when boiled for so long.  The latest soup fad?  Quick boil soups – so lately, that’s all I’ve been making!  This beef and winter melon soup is simply delicious, refreshing and super easy to make.  You don’t even need the Chinese herbs to keep it simple, especially when you’re in a location where you can’t get them or they are not readily available.  I ended up making this soup for lunch and used the soup base to go with noodles, perfect!

What ingredients are required?

1 pound of beef slices
1 large slice of winter melon (as much as you want to eat)
30 g dried lotus seeds
25 g white hyacinth beans
25 g fu ling or tuckahoe
20 g dried lily bulbs

1 L of chicken broth/stock
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak in water for 10 minutes and then rinse with running water the lotus seeds, fu ling, lily bulbs and beans
  2. Add your water and chicken broth together and turn on high heat to boil
  3. Wash and slice the winter melon into edible pieces (while keep the skin on)
  4. When the water boils, add all the ingredients together
  5. Boil on high for 30 minutes
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Excellent in removing heat from the body
  • Mildly cooling soup that is great for the hot summer
  • Easy soup to make that is tasty and the winter melon absorbs the flavor of the meat and broth making it very tasty to eat
  • You can substitute the chicken stock with water, but add some salt for flavoring

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to use relatively fat free beef (you can ask your wet mart vendor for the least fat)
  • Or use an oil scooper if too much fat content

Ham and Vegetable Soup

Soup Name: Ham and Vegetable Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 火腿湯 (huǒtuǐ cài tāng)

Introduction:

An Asian take on a Western soup, this is one of those perfect soups that naturally flow from a Christmas or Easter party (using the left-over turkey or ham bones).   In this case, we had the ham bone (and extra bonus ham meat on the bone) and everything went into the soup and we boiled it up Chinese style.   The soup was naturally salty and sweet from the ham and required very little to flavor it.  We added carrots and onions to round it out and up the flavor and nutrition and it was good to go as a meal with a side bowl of rice.  Easy peasy and delicious!   If you are lucky, your ham bone may still contain some marrow which can add additional flavor and nutrition to your soup.  Also great for kids; my 4 year-old loves this soup.

What ingredients are required?

1 ham bone
3 large fresh carrots
1 whole onion
2-3 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Boil your soup water
  2. Wash, peel and chop carrots and onions into slightly-larger-than bite-sized pieces
  3. When soup water boils, add the ham bone, carrots and onions.
  4. Boil on high for 10 minutes and reduce to low heat and simmer for another 1 hour.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • High fiber and beta carotene from the carrots and vitamin C from the onions
  • Child-friendly soup
  • Great use of left-overs

Night Blooming Cereus and Figs in Pork Broth

Soup Name: Night Blooming Cereus and Figs in Pork Broth

Traditional Chinese Name: 霸王花無花果瘦肉湯 (bà wáng huā wú huā guǒ shòu ròu tāng)

Introduction:

This unique soup is ideal for removing heaty phlegm and nourishing the lungs.  It is best for those with pathological heat and fire in their bodies, which makes it ideal to be consumed at the beginning of the autumn season to help clear heatiness from the body from the summer.  The soup is slightly sweet, very refreshing and creates a clear broth that is easy to drink – however it is an old fire soup and requires quite a length of time to boil.

What ingredients are required?

1 pound fresh pork shank
40 g dried night blooming cereus
5 dried figs
5 honey dates
20 g apricot kernals
2-3 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak night blooming cereus in water for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Boil your soup water
  3. In a separate pot of boiling water, blanch pork shank for 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  4. Rinse night blooming cereus in running water (to remove all the bugs)
  5. When soup water boils, add all the ingredients together.
  6. Boil on high for 30 minutes and reduce to low heat and simmer for another 3 hours.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Excellent in removing heat from the body
  • Helps nourish and moisturize lungs
  • Naturally sweet soup

Any precautions?

  • Recommended to use a thermal pot instead of boiling the soup for the whole 3 hours
  • Rinse night blooming cereus thoroughly as they have many bugs
  • Relatively cooling soup to be consumed cautiously by menstruating women or women in their first trimester of pregnancy (as it may cause contractions)

Night Blooming Cereus (Dried)

Ingredient Name: Night Blooming Cereus, Cereus

Traditional Chinese Name: 霸王花 (bà wáng huā)

What is this?

  • The dried plant known to bloom at night
  • There are many species that belong in this category, but specifically one that is used in Chinese medicine and soups
  • It blooms with white flowers (roughly 7-8 inches in diameter) with many petals and blooms for a few hours before dying
  • Extremely fragrant flower once bloomed
  • The flower is grown both in homes and in batches for soup/medicinal consumption
  • The dried plant is tasteless

How do I prepare it?

  • Soak in water for at least an hour, rinsing several times to remove all the bugs (mainly ants)

Where can I buy this?

  • Most Asian supermarkets and herbalists will carry this product dried in packages

What is the cost

  • 1 pack will cost around $20 HKD (about 5-6 flowers)

Any benefits?

  • Excellent for nourishing and detoxifying the lungs
  • Helps moisturize and lubricate the lungs
  • Helps eliminate pathological heat and fire in the body and cool it down

Any precautions?

  • Soak in water for at least an hour – large cultivated batches of this plant will have many bugs, so be sure to wash thoroughly
  • Mildly cooling ingredient (take with caution if in the first trimester of pregnancy or menstruating)
  • Avoid this ingredient is you have hypertension

Additional Information

  • You can store this ingredient in a tight sealed container in a dry place for up to 6 months

Vegetarian Pumpkin and Bean Soup

Soup Name: Vegetarian Pumpkin and Bean Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 七色素湯 (Qīsè sù tāng)

Introduction:

A bean-filled vegetarian soup that packs a punch in proteins.  With seven different types of “beans”, it is a hearty meal that is easy to make and light to drink.  By adding a Japanese pumpkin, it makes it slightly sweet and refreshing.  The soup itself is very clear and slightly sweet.  You can also add other vegetables such as corn, carrots, and onions to make it an even heartier broth.

What ingredients are required?

1 whole Japanese pumpkin, largely sliced with skin
20 g white kidney beans
30 g red/white multi-colored kidney beans
40 g red kidney beans
40 g black-eyed beans
40 g dried chickpeas
40 g black beans

40 g yellow beans
5-6 dried Chinese mushrooms
2-3 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak all the beans, chickpeas and Chinese mushrooms in water for at least 5 hours
  2. Pour out the water in which the beans soak and rinse with fresh water
  3. Boil your soup water
  4. Wash and half Japanese pumpkin, removing seeds and inner membrane
  5. Slice into large pieces while keeping the skin (it keeps the pumpkin meat intact while the soup boils and prevents it from disintegrating)
  6. When you soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
  7. Boil on high for 30 minutes and reduce to a simmer boil for another 1 hour
  8. Serve and enjoy!  Be sure to also eat the contents as its very healthy!

Any benefits?

  • This soup is naturally sweet and high in beta-carotene
  • Soup is low in fat and high in proteins
  • Excellent source of dietary fibers
  • The beans are great for absorbing moisture and are perfect for the wet spring season

Any precautions?

  • Soak the beans in water for at least 5 hours before usage (and discard soaked water) – rinse beans with fresh water before usage
  • Boil in water at least 100 °C for at least 10 minutes before consumption as raw/uncooked red kidney beans are toxic

Dried Beans