Quick Boil Winter Melon, Mushrooms with Corn in Chicken Broth

Quick Boil Winter Melon Soup

Quick Boil Winter Melon Soup

 

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!

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 Áo tāng)

To see the full recipe, scroll down to skip my commentary.

What you’ll need in the simplest of terms are: dried Chinese mushrooms, a handful of dried conpoys (or scallops), a slice of winter melon, fresh corn, chicken breast and either chicken broth or chicken broth powder. To be honest with you, I don’t really measure or scientifically size the ingredients, I just put whatever amount I feel like depending on what I like to eat – which is more corn and more winter melon, so just go with what you like. It is, after all, your soup.

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!

Chinese mushrooms ready for soup!

Chinese mushrooms ready for soup!

Mushrooms soaking in prep for quick boil soup

Mushrooms soaking in prep for quick boil soup

 

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.

Winter Melon

Winter Melon

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!

cubed winter melon for soup

cubed winter melon for soup

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.

Sliced Chinese mushrooms ready for soup

Sliced Chinese mushrooms ready for soup

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.

Fresh corn ready for soup

Fresh corn ready for soup

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.

Throwing all the ingredients together

Throwing all the ingredients together

 

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.

 

Quick boil winter melon soup

Quick boil winter melon soup

Serve and enjoy! Don’t forget to scoop out the delicious ingredients to eat as part of your hearty soup.

Quick boil winter melon soup

Quick boil winter melon soup

 

Quick Boil Winter Melon, Mushrooms with Corn in Chicken Broth
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 bowls
Ingredients
  • 2 medium-sized chicken breasts, bite-sized cubed
  • 1 2-inch thick slice of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/winter-melon/” title=”fresh winter melon”]winter melon[/url], skinned and bite-sized cubed
  • 2 fresh [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/corn/” title=”Fresh corn”]corn[/url], quartered
  • 7-8 dried [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chinese-mushrooms/” title=”dried Chinese mushrooms”]Chinese mushrooms[/url], sliced thinly
  • 5 pieces of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/scallops-dried-conpoy/” title=”Dried conpoy”]dried conpoy[/url]
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered chicken bouillon
  • 3 L of water
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!

 

I personally love winter melon, especially when it’s softened and melts in your mouth! A great quick boil soup for any newbie or professional soup chef. Enjoy and thank you!

Lobster

lobster_soup01_web-2

Ingredient Name:  Lobster

Traditional Chinese Name: 龍 蝦 (lóngxiā)

What is this?

  • A type of shellfish
  • A large, 10-legged marine crustacean with a cylindrical body closely related to shrimp and crabs
  • For eating, lobsters are traditionally steamed or boiled and the meat extracted from inside the shell
  • Once the meat has been eaten, the remaining lobster shell and the head can make a great base for soup

How do I prepare it?

  • The easiest method to cook lobster is to boil it in salted water for approximately 15 minutes (times may vary depending on the size of the lobster)
  • Using a nutcracker, remove the meat and enjoy separately (Tip: it tastes great dipped in butter)
  • Save the shell and head for your soup

Where can I buy this?

  • Most international grocery stores will sell lobster
  • Typically, spring through autumn is lobster season
  • It is best to buy live lobster, with their tails flapped or curled up

What is the cost?

  • Lobster prices vary depending on the season.  The lobster featured above cost $80 HKD each.

Any benefits?

  • Bones (any animal) are an excellent source of nutrients and minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, and silicon
  • The broth created from bones are easy to digest, are high in amino acids, collagen and gelatin
  • Bones broth is actually known to help fight colds and viruses because of these amino acids that help boost immune system and heal disorders like allergies, asthma and arthritis
  • Nothing beats real stock with real bones – store bought stock (which are primarily enhanced with flavour enhancers) has nothing over real stock

Any precautions?

  • Lobsters are low in fat content and relatively low in cholesterol
  • They are a good source of omega 3-fatty acids and phosphorus, which aids in the formation of teeth and bones
  • Lobsters are also a good source of selenium, B12, Vitamin E and Niacin
Chilled Coconut Milk with Tapioca Pearls and Fresh Fruit

Chilled Coconut Milk with Tapioca Pearls and Fresh Fruit

Chilled Coconut Milk with Tapioca Pearls and Fresh Fruit

Soup Name:

Chilled Coconut Milk with Tapioca Pearls and Fresh Fruit

Traditional Chinese Name:

椰汁西米露 (Yē zhī xī mǐ lù)

 

I had a craving for a cold, sweet, coconut milk flavoured dessert and the only thing that came to mind was this commonly available dessert in Hong Kong that matched it.

I always thought it was hard to make, but after some research and discussions with the people at those dessert shops, it’s super easy!!

The thing I love about it is that you can make the base, primarily made of coconut milk, and then add whatever fruit, toppings, additives you want to make it your own. This worked great for the kids!

What’s involved?

Prep time: 40 mins

Cook time: 30 mins + 2 hours chill

Total time: 3 hours 10 mins

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 3 cups of water
  • rock sugar (as sweet as you like – taste if first!)
  • 1 cup of small tapioca pearls
  • fresh fruit, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • condensed milk (optional to sweeten if not sweet enough)

Cooking Instructions

  1. Soak the tapioca in cool water for 30 minutes first. In a pot of cold water, boil tapioca pearls on medium heat for around 10-15 minutes. Check the consistency and transparency of the pearls. When they are done, they’ll be completely transparent, but be careful they don’t start to melt.
  2. Remove from heat and run through cold water to separate. You can either leave in a bowl with cold water or just leave them in a bowl when sufficiently cooled. Set at room temperature is OK.
  3. In a separate pot, boil the water with the rock sugar.
  4. When the rock sugar has completely melted, reduce heat to a low boil and add in coconut milk and whole milk. Boil and stir together for about 5 minutes. Taste to see if it’s sweet enough. If not, you can add more rock sugar and boil on low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Remove from heat and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  6. When ready to eat, in a serving bowl, ladle in as much coconut milk as you like, add the tapioca pearls and load on the fruits!
  7. Enjoy!

To start, the base is simply coconut milk, whole (or skim) milk, water, and rock sugar. Some recipes call for evaporated milk, but after sampling it with just the milks, water and sugar, it was smooth and rich enough for me.
You can find these types of tapioca (or sago) pearls from the supermarket or wet mart.

They come in a variety of sizes, flavours and colours. Typically, for this dessert, use the smaller, white pearls that turn transparent when boiled. They are flavourless and turn into a chewy ball of … chewy.

First, soak the tapioca in warm water for about 30 minutes. This will soften and expand them slightly. You then need to boil the tapioca until it’s completely cooked. You’ll know it’s completely cooked when the entire ball turns transparent. Semi-cooked will show a white spot in the middle.

The problem is that smaller balls will cook faster and then start dissolving on you, so just take care to judge how well done on average your tapioca pearls are. The trick is that you rinse the tapioca in COLD, running water after you’ve cooked it. Some people continue to soak them in a bit of cold water, or just leave them to sit cool.  If you keep the warm, they will continue to cook and then merge into one giant ugly ball of tapioca!

Next, start to boil your water and let the rock sugar dissolve. Taste to see how sweet you prefer it because everyone is different. I went with a less sweet version and if people wanted it sweeter, I gave them condensed milk to mix in – just as yummy!

 

Reduce heat to a low simmer and mix in the coconut milk and whole (or skim) milk. You don’t want to boil the coconut milk too much or it starts to break down and separate, so give it enough heat to mix together.  Boil for around 10 minutes and remove from heat.  This dessert is best eaten cold, so I moved it to the fridge to cool for a few hours.

The last thing is to put it together – your way.  I personally love fresh fruit with mine, so when the coconut milk mixture was sufficient cooled, I added the tapioca pearls and fresh strawberries.  It’s great with fresh, chilled melons, pears, mango, durian or whatever your great imaginative mind comes up with!

EXPLORE MORE

A Chinese Delicacy: How to Prepare Dried Fish Maw (or Fish Bladder)

Have you ever walked by those Chinese herbal or dried food shops and wondered what those fairly large beige bubble things were?  I certainly did growing up and just always found it foreign until I was introduced to it in foods, soups, and stews and told how expensive...

A Do-It-Yourself Japanese Shabu Shabu Experience

Check out this 2 part homemade broth and Japanese-styled shabu shabu experience!Serves: Party of 4-6 Prep Time:  30 mins Cook Time:  3 hours and 15 mins Eat Time:  Endless For more videos, visit us on YouTube.Check out the video on how to create an awesome and...

Cooking Chinese Soups With a Thermal Induction Pot

I could not contain my excitement when I got my new Thermal Induction Pot! Check out the video above for the unpack and how to use it.For more videos, visit us on YouTube. What makes this pot so special? Due to its engineered induction design, the pot itself will...

A Do-It-Yourself Japanese Shabu Shabu Experience

Check out this 2 part homemade broth and Japanese-styled shabu shabu experience!Serves: Party of 4-6 Prep Time:  30 mins Cook Time:  3 hours and 15 mins Eat Time:  Endless For more videos, visit us on YouTube.Check out the video on how to create an awesome and...

Cooking Chinese Soups With a Thermal Induction Pot

I could not contain my excitement when I got my new Thermal Induction Pot! Check out the video above for the unpack and how to use it.For more videos, visit us on YouTube. What makes this pot so special? Due to its engineered induction design, the pot itself will...

Turkey Chinese Congee (Porridge)

Soup Name: Turkey Chinese Congee Traditional Chinese Name: 火雞粥 (huǒ jī zhōu) Introduction: What to do with a 19 pound turkey for a family of 6? Well, after carving it, you have more meat leftover than carcass and I’ve taken half of the carcass for congee and the other...

Chinese Winter Melon and Parma Ham Stew

Soup Name:  Chinese Winter melon and Ham Stew Traditional Chinese Name:    For more videos, visit us on YouTube.I was inspired to make this soup one day when I walked by the wet mart and saw the vendor carving up this giant fresh winter melon and I thought,...

Apple Chinese Herbal Tea (For Coughs)

Soup Name:  Apple Chinese Herbal Tea (For Coughs) Traditional Chinese Name:   蘋果止咳茶 (píng guǒ zhǐ ké chá)  For more videos, visit us on YouTube.When a virus, cold, or flu has you down, my go to hot drink is usually a Chinese Herbal tea that addresses my illness. ...

Sago Tapioca Pearls

Raw Sago

Raw Sago

Ingredient Name:  Sago Pearls

Traditional Chinese Name: 西米 (xī mǐ)

What is this?

  • The extract of the tapioca root which are rolled into balls (hence tapioca pearls)
  • It is a form of starch which is commonly used around the world (to make noodles, bread)
  • A lot of Chinese desserts incorporate the tapioca pearls (white kinds)
  • There are the brown tapioca pearls (added sugar) which are commonly used in tea drinks (which originated from Taiwan)
  • Tapioca comes in all sizes, flavours and colours – but are primarily white and when boiled become transparent
  • When cooked and boiled as is, it becomes a chewy ball with a sticky texture

How do I prepare it?

  • For round, white sago pearls, simply boil starting with cold water for at least 15 minutes
  • You’ll know its completely cooked when the ball is completed transparent
Sago tapioca half cooked

Sago tapioca half cooked

 

Where can I buy this?

  • Most Asian supermarkets will carry the white tapioca balls (in various sizes)

What is the cost?

  • Tapioca pearls are relatively affordable
  • A small bag cost around $10 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Tapioca is primarily made of carbohydrates and contains no fat
  • It has a variety of uses and can store for quite some time (up to 6 months in a dry place)
  • They are actually really fun to eat for kids (and adults!)

Any precautions?

  • After cooking the tapioca, immediately run it through cold water to prevent the balls from sticking together
Cooked sago pearls

Cooked sago pearls

Sweet and Sour Pork with Ginger (for Confinement)

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork

 

This is another one of those great recipes that are handed down through generations. I got this from an Auntie who is an amazing cook and simplified this recipe so that it’s so simple and yet, tastes so good! You can use a variety of rib cuts – I’ve made it with the traditional Chinese spare ribs cut (pictured here), but also made it using baby back ribs, too.  When I make this, I use the measurements as a base, but adjust it as it cooks. I know some people prefer it sweeter or more sour or more salty, so definitely sample your cooking as you go!

Dish Name: Sweet and Sour Pork with Ginger (for Chinese Confinement)

Traditional Chinese Name: 糖醋排骨 (Táng cù páigǔ)

Scroll down for the full printable recipe.
For this recipe, I will use a fatter cut of meat. This is because it stews for quite some time and you don’t want the pork to dry out and shrivel up into dried pork. Over time, the fat will come out and you can simply scoop it out before consumption.
Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork (fresh spare ribs)

I will also rinse the pork in warm water when I get them from the vendor (just in case). Then throw it into a stainless steel pot and follow this simple base for recipe. It’s basically 1-2-3 (tablespoons).

1 tablespoon of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of sugar (any type)
3 tablespoons of white vinegar

And then you proportion it out appropriately. So for the amount picture above, which is around 1 pound of spare ribs, I multiplied by 3, so I got 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 6 tablespoons of sugar, and 9 tablespoons of white vinegar. If you want, you can add a quarter cup of water for good measure.  For confinement, my recommendation is to load up on ginger. This can be ginger slices, ginger cubes, the whole ginger, grated ginger, ginger juice – however spicy you can take it, do it. Optional ingredients also include whole garlic, black or white pepper and even star anise.

 

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork

I know it may sound like a flaky recipe, but I do believe in that cooking is an art (and baking the science). That’s why you have to taste it as you go along (when it’s more cooked). Start with this though, trust me. It has never failed me as a base.  After about an hour on a very low simmer, you’ll notice that the liquid evaporates to leave a thick, sticky and delicious beautifully dark sweet and sour pork ribs. Scoop off the top layers of oil and serve!

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork – The Final Product

 

Sweet and Sour Pork with Ginger (for Confinement)
Recipe Type: Appetizer or Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese Food
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 dish
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of fresh spare ribs or pork ribs
  • 1 x 3 = 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 x 3 = 6 tablespoons of sugar
  • 3 x 3 = 9 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • 1-inch root of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/ginger-fresh/”]fresh ginger[/url]
  • 1/4 cup of water
Instructions
  1. Rinse your spare ribs or pork ribs in warm water (to clean)
  2. Put all the ingredients into a stainless steel pot (or clay pot)
  3. Boil on high heat for 10 minutes
  4. Reduce to a low simmer for another hour, checking every 10 minutes on taste and whether it is drying out too much. If so, add another quarter cup of water.
  5. Remove oil and serve!