Beef Slices

Ingredient Name: Beef slices, been tenderloin

Chinese Name: 牛肉 (niú ròu)

It is not common to use beef slices in Chinese soups, but you will find ox tails and other parts sometimes.  I bought this beef from the wet part and truly, the softest and tenderest part has to come with fat.  It is unavoidable.  Depending on how you make it, you can eliminate the fat in soups through a fat scooper.  This type of beef cut is probably best used for quick boil soups (as old fire soups) will just beat the living daylights out of the meat.

What is this?
  • Fresh beef slices from the loin portion of the cow
  • This muscle does the least amount of work (in the cow’s body) and therefore is normally the most tender
  • This type of meat is often used in tartares, whole steak or sliced
  • It is one of the more expensive parts of the cow for consumption

How do I prepare it?

  • To prepare, wash first before cooking or marinating
  • You may need to cut up into pieces if you’ve purchased it by the pound

Where can I buy this?

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

What is the cost?

  • 1 bitter melon about 30cm in length cost around $5-6 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Lean beef is an important source of 12 essential nutrients including high quality protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to remove excess fat
  • Many believe that organic beef is best as there are no growth hormones and antibiotics, which can potentially make you sick if there is over consumption of beef

Any substitutes?

  • Depending on the soup, pork or even chicken meat is substitutable

White Radish

Ingredient Name: White radish, radish, oriental radish, Japanese radish, daikon

Chinese Name: 白蘿蔔 (bái luóbo)

One of my favorite roots to eat of all time!  Both cooked (in soups, stews, dishes, dim sum) and raw ( as the Japanese appetizers).  This type of root absorbs the flavor of whatever ingredients you use to marinate or cook it in and it has a very particular and unique taste that almost borders slightly bitter, but not quite.

What is this?
  • Mildly flavoured and pale coloured radish
  • It is often found in East Asian dishes (such as soups and stews)
  • They can be found in various colours such as green or white and variations in between
  • Their sizes vary and can grow to be 8-14 inches in length
  • Different varieties of the Chinese radish can come in various shapes as well depending how they are grown and where they come from

How do I prepare it?

  • Wash thoroughly in cool water
  • Peel skin prior to use as the skin is tougher than regular carrots

Where can I buy this?

  • Available in fresh marts in Hong Kong
  • Also available in supermarkets

What is the cost?

  • Radishes are relatively affordable

Any benefits?

  • White radishes aid in digestion
  • Low in saturated fats and cholesterol
  • Excellent food for weight loss

Any precautions?

  • It is considered a cooling food
  • Not ideal to be consumed if you have a cough or cold
  • Pregnant women and those menstruating should take caution as it may cause contractions if consumed in great amounts

Any additional information?

  • Store in a cool, dry place
  • You will know that the radish has gone bad when the texture is no longer firm to the touch
  • They generally store for up to a week

Boiled White Radish (for use with stew)

Cabbage (Fresh)

Ingredient Name: Cabbage, white cabbage

Chinese Name: 捲心菜 (juǎn xīn cài)

A very versatile ingredient which I love to put in soups, stews and fried dishes.  It’s high in fiber and easily absorbs the flavor of whatever ingredients you put into the dish.  I especially love it when the cabbages becomes soft and you eat it like a meal (in soups).   Definitely one of my stock vegetables to have in the fridge and they actually last for awhile if you forget about it!  HAHA….

What is this?
  • A leafy vegetable that is often greenish-white in color.  There is also a purple variety that is produced for consumption.
  • It is a layered vegetable with a short stem
  • A popular good common to Central and Eastern Europe
  • It is grown as a “head” and therefore looks like a head
  • It has quite a substantial weight for its size as the vegetable is quite dense
  • There are various types of cabbage (long, short, various colors) and most of them are grown in China

How do I prepare it?

  • Peel each leaf and rinse in cold water
  • Usually the outer leaves are not used if they are floppy or unhealthy looking
  • Cut in edible pieces if necessary (see picture below)

Where can I buy this?

  • Available in fresh marts in Hong Kong
  • Also available fresh in supermarkets

What is the cost?

  • 1 cabbage as pictured above cost $6 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Excellent source of Vitamin C
  • Contains significant amount of an amino acid that has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Cabbage is known to slow down the growth of cancerous cells

Any precautions?

  • Cabbages are known to have infestation of various insects and pests so be sure to peel each leaf and rinse thorough in cold water

Any substitutes?

  • In soups and stews, can be replaced with zucchini or cauliflower and other relatively “dry” vegetables (unlike lettuce that when fried, emits water)

Bitter Melon

Ingredient Name: Bitter Melon, bittermelon

Chinese Name: 苦瓜 (Kǔguā)

An interesting fruit to say the least.  I actually DO NOT enjoy the taste of bitter melon (at all), but some people actually LOVE it!  This is a very unique melon in that you can find it in soups, stews, teas, drinks, and various Chinese dishes across the spectrum.

What is this?
  • Usually long, green and bumpy to texture (although some varieties are also yellow) – which also varies the bitterness
  • It is bitter to taste (even after being cooked)
  • The Chinese types are usually 20-30 cm in length

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse in warm water
  • Half and remove all seeds
  • Cut into edible portions for soups or cooking

Where can I buy this?

  • Available in fresh marts in Hong Kong
  • Also available in supermarkets

What is the cost?

  • 1 bitter melon about 30cm in length cost around $5-6 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Helps remove heatiness and eliminate heat
  • Aids in digestion and stimulate appetite
  • Have been found to be a anti-cancer agent and improve the immune system
  • Also helps with dyspepsia and constipation

Any precautions?

  • Avoid during pregnancies (it is a contraindication)
  • Be sure to remove all seeds before consuming as can be toxic (especially with children)

Any substitutes?

  • None, for the bitter taste, no other melon or fruit can replace it

Snow Pears, Chayotes and Seabed Coconut in Pork Broth

Snow pear Chayotes in Pork Broth

Snow pear Chayotes in Pork Broth

Soup Name: Snow Pears, Chayotes and Seabed Coconut in Pork Broth

Traditional Chinese Name: 雪梨合掌瓜湯 (xuě lí hup jeung gwa tāng)

Introduction:
A mildly cooling soup that helps relieve heatiness, assist in cough and is naturally sweet.  It’s great for kids, easy to make and contains all natural ingredients.  You can use chicken meat with this instead of pork bones (or pork shank).  If you can’t get fresh (or frozen) seabed coconut, the dried version is sufficient (although not as sweet, so you can substitute additional snow pears).

What Ingredients are required?

1 pound of fresh pork bones
3 fresh chayotes, quartered and cored
5 fresh seabed coconuts, halved
4 fresh snow pears, halved and cored
1 tablespoon of apricot kernels
2-3 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Boil your soup water
  2. Boil another pot of water to blanch your pork bones (blanch in boiling water for 5 minutes)
  3. Remove pork bones from water and set aside
  4. Rinse in warm water, core both chayotes and snow pears – cut both into large, edible portions
  5. Rinse seabed coconut in warm water and halve
  6. When soup water boils, add pork bones, chayotes, snow pears, seabed coconut and apricot kernals
  7. Boil on high heat for 30 minutes and reduce to a simmer for another hour

Any benefits?

  • Mildly cool and appropriate for children
  • Naturally sweet and nutritious

 

Any precautions?

  • Pork bone soups often do produce quite a big of fat (over pork shank), so be sure to use an oil scooper to remove the fat before serving