Cooking Chinese Soups With a Thermal Induction Pot

Cooking Chinese Soups With a Thermal Induction Pot

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 retain heat and continue to cook by itself
  • This pot doesn’t need power!  It’s 100% energy efficient cooking.  You’ll need to use the inner pot to cook on a stove to a boil for about 30 minutes before putting it into your thermal pot.
  • Easy to clean
  • The inner pot can be used with or without the external thermal base (use it like a normal pot)
  • They come in a lot of various sizes:  3L, 4L, or 5L is what I’ve seen available
  • Durable outer base
  • Safe to use

 

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Quick Boil Chinese Soup Tips

Quick Boil Chinese Soup Tips

Quick Boil Chinese Soup Tips

So I’ve had various enquiries as to what constitutes a great quick boil and what are some tips I use for quick boils. It started out as a conversation with a colleague who said “I don’t have time to make these old fire Chinese soups!”, and I thought, well… there is a whole repertoire of quick boils soups available, why don’t I show my readers some and demonstrate just how easy and simple Chinese soups can be?

 

As a start, quick boil soups are soups that you typically can make under 30 minutes of boil, with 10-15 mins of prep time and is ready for immediate consumption.  Basically, you either have limited time or your stomach is demanding something quick.

 

 

Here are some common ingredients used in quick boil Chinese soups:

 

  • Melons make great quick boil candidates (winter melon, bitter melon, fuzzy melon, even watermelon and honey dew can be used!).
  • Fresh leafy greens such as bak choy, choy sum, napa cabbage are easy editions. Leafy vegetables tend to fare better in quick boil soups rather than old fire (or double-boiled soups).
  • Those great (smelly) dried Chinese seafood you find at the wet mart or Chinese herbalists are excellent! These include dried scallops (or conpoys), snails, conch, octopus, squid (cuttlefish), shrimp and whatever else you can find are excellent flavour enhancers when needed on such short notice.
  • Dried Chinese vegetables such as Chinese mushrooms, monkey head mushrooms,  and dried bak choy are also great quick boil additions! You’ll just need to soak the first thing you do if you’re preparing this soup.
  • Ready to go meats such as preserved Chinese Ham, cooked beef, fish, cuttlefish balls that are ready-to-serve or even any leftover meats such as pork ribs, steamed pork patty, chicken wings can be thrown into a quick boil.
  • Tofu! Tofu is a delight to add to quick boil soups. Tofu balls, large tofu chunks, ready-to-serve-tofu, tofu slices, however you can find them – you can definitely use them! A great vegetarian protein addition.
  • Easy meats such as fresh chicken wings, drumsticks, breasts, or sliced beef are good – you can even use frozen ones and use room temperature water to thaw quickly by soaking them in the water and changing the water a few times.

 

Here are also a few tips and tricks I’ve used for quick boil soups. Actually, I’d almost say they are critical to the success of the soup because you’ve got one constraint against you – time.

 

  • Use small cuts for everything – small cubes are best, especially for melons and vegetables such as carrots. Or go thin, like 2 cm thin slices of carrots, radish, mushrooms, etc..
  • Shuck corn if you like the corn separate, this will cook way faster. You can also use the cobs as part of the soup base.
  • Cut meats into smaller bite-sized pieces as well – they will also cook faster and as the water boils, it will release the flavours from more parts quicker.
  • Broths are your friends. If you need to enhance flavours, use chicken, beef or vegetable broth to boost the taste of the soup. Be sure to use MSG free ones.
  • Consider using the soup to help boil other parts of your dinner. For example, I will use the soup to boil broccoli for the children or choy sum for us. It’s a win-win situation!
  • If you’d like the soup to last a few days, you can definitely store leftovers in the fridge to be reheated up to 2-3 days later. I like making a bigger batch so I can consume later as to economize my efforts.

 

Try any of these quick boil soup recipes

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Snow Pear and Dragon’s Eye Sweet Dessert Soup

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Featured on CNN Article “Eat your way around the world”

Featured on CNN Article “Eat your way around the world”

Today, TheChineseSoupLady.com and her @instagram account TheChineseSoupLady was featured on CNN’s “Eat your way around the world”!

I must say that I am grateful and thrilled! My sister and I have actually been maintaining this site since 2006 since the birth of my first daughter and it’s still going today as a hobby (on top of our Triathlon training, work, raising kids, and part-time studying). It’s been a pleasure to share our soup journey with the world!

You can find the article here: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/06/foodanddrink/eat-your-way-around-the-world/index.html

Featured on CNN

Featured on CNN

Congee is featured!

Congee is featured!

Zojirushi Mini Thermal Pot (Experiment)

Zojirushi Mini Thermal Pot (Experiment)

A friend informed me of a new mini “food jar” or also known as “Thermal pots” that is very popular in Hong Kong these days. For starters, this jives with me because:

  • I love thermal pots and their heat saving efficiency
  • I love anything that can make soups
  • I love Japanese technology and products
  • I love to drink the soup that I make in my thermal pots
  • Go Green!

So, I bought one, or two, or three and gave some away as gifts.

Mini Thermal Pot from Zojirushi

Mini Thermal Pot from Zojirushi

Wait wait.. the good part is that this thing isn’t only for making soups – it can make rice, congee, soups, eggs, sauce, spaghetti, noodles, and basically whatever your good, creative imagination can come up with given the constraints of such a tiny jar.

I actually have no association with this product or the company, but it’s nice to share cool finds when I see them. The price ranges from $280 – $350 HKD depending on where you buy it from and it’s super cute in size, is portable and easy to clean.

Here’s what it looks like opened. Simple two-pieces. No brainer – right?

Mini Thermal pot - two pieces!

Mini Thermal pot – two pieces!

It’s made from stainless steel on the inside and uses the space efficiently. Another love of mine – efficiency.

Mini Therm Pot - Stainless Steel Interior

Mini Therm Pot – Stainless Steel Interior

So my first experiment was to make an egg. Apparently, to make a semi-solid egg, it takes about 30 minutes to “bake” in boiling water.

  1. First, rinse the pot in boiling water and let it sit covered for about 5 minutes (this is the trick to get the insides warm first so you don’t lose valuable cooking heat to the pot).
  2. Put a room temperature egg into the pot – another trick. Don’t use eggs directly from the fridge because again, the temperature difference is too significant.
  3. Cover the egg completely with boiling water – for the purpose of this experiment, I just used 98 degree Celsius water from my hot water dispense (too lazy to boil water)
  4. Put on the lid securely and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  5. And ta-da!
  6. Oops, for mine, I kind of forgot about it and came back about 45 minutes later and found this… still awesomely yummy with a bit of sea salt. 
Thermal pot with an egg

Thermal pot with an egg

Cooked egg with Mini Thermal Pot

Cooked egg with Mini Thermal Pot

More yummy experiments to come later. I’ve used the thermal pot to keep food warm though, like congee when my daughter was sick and it stayed toasty warm for over 6 hours! Definitely a neat find and will be trying other foods soon! YUM and YEAH for green technology!

Chinese Soups for Spring!

It’s almost Spring time! Can’t you feel the warm sun on your face? Can’t you feel gentle wind without that bitter, cold bite?

Spring is a unique season – well, there are only 4 – so that’s pretty unique already.  What makes Spring so different is one key thing (especially in Asia) – humidity.  You can’t run from it – especially if you happen to live on an island in Asia or even South East Asia.  And like all seasons in the Chinese circle of life, there are soups that are targeted for this season to help:

  • reduce moisture in your body
  • remove dampness
  • tone & strengthen Qi & blood
  • relieve heaviness in the head and body

For me, being a western-raised Chinese, the key is removing dampness (all the others aren’t as tangible to me).  I can feel it in my blankets, in my bedsheets, on the walls and especially on my skin.  To remove the “feeling” of dampness in my home, the humidifier is the next great thing after sliced bread in the Spring.  I have 2 of these machines that run around the clock in my house to make sure that both my bedsheets and walls don’t start molding on me – it happens – especially given that I live facing a harbor.   Spring is a great prelude to Summer, so I’m neither a hater nor a lover.  So how do you deal with the dampness that affects the body?  Drink soups – in great quantities.

Over the past 8 years living in Hong Kong, there are the same key soups that my meat, veggie and herbal vendors all tell me to make.  Even the old ladies that I knock elbows with at the market tell me the same thing, and of course, my own mother.  So it’s not coincidence that through generations of knowledge and teaching, the Chinese have narrowed down their soup recommendations for various personal and environment conditions.

There are always KEY ingredients associated with the Spring and you can mix and match the various vegetables and additives as needed for this season.  You can also use a combination of pork, chicken and fish with the proposed “Spring” ingredients for variety.

Some Spring ingredients:

old cucumber – with its diuretic effect, it helps you urinate and release the moisture in your body.

adzuki beans – another natural diuretic, this ingredient can dispel both excess body moisture and heat.  It also helps strengthen the spleen.

black eye beans – similar to adzuki beans in dispelling excess moisture from the body.

lentils – helps to also dispel moisture from the body and a great source of protein.

barley, job’s tears – another natural diuretic and used to promote urination and has mildly cooling properties.

fu ling or tuckahoe – excellent for removing damp-heat (like Spring or wet conditions).

smilax root or toe folk ling – can help remove excess phlegm and dry throat during illness when the seasons change.

watercress – helps clear heatiness, neutralizes toxins, nourishes the lung and dissolve phlegm.

hairy gourd or fuzzy melon – excellent for dispelling summer heat and excess body moisture.

Soup recommendations for the Spring:

Fuzzy Melon with Corn in Pork Bones Soup
Water Chestnuts and Pork Spring Soup
Pork Broth with Black Eye Beans and Black Moss Pork Broth with Black Eye Beans and Black Moss
Old Cucumber with Chinese Yam in Pork Broth
Vegetarian Arrowroot and Corn Soup Vegetarian Arrowroot and Corn Soup
Carrot and Sweet Corn Soup with Barley and Pork Shank
Old Cucumber Soup with Azuki Beans and Lentil
Fish Tail Soup with Lily Bulb and Carrot
The Art of Drying Tangerines

The Art of Drying Tangerines

Who would have thought that dried Tangerines preserved for over 50 years could cost in the thousands (of Hong Kong dollars)?

The dried tangerine peel is a popular Chinese herb and ingredient used in:

My mother-in-law decided to make her own through the simple process of buying mandarins, peeling them to keep the skin as whole as possible and then stringing them together to air dry until the peels are completely dry, brown in color and very hard in texture.  I thought it would be cool to show them here, how easy it is to do this. You can store these peels in a dry, cool and shaded place for years and years and years! Some people actually like the smell of the drying tangerine peels and even the fragrant of the peel after it’s brittle and dried. To each one’s own!

Tangerine peels drying

Tangerine peels drying

 

Dried tangerine peels are considered “warm”  and have many uses. They are normally used from a soup perspective to relieve coughs and remove excess phlegm from the lungs. It also aids with digestion and has anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.

Have you tried to eat it as is? It is SUPER, DUPER bitter! It actually tastes horrible (from my perspective) and creates a very distinct taste to soups if you add too much – therefore the most I will add is usually a quarter of a quarter piece to a 2 L soup base – which is about the size of a Canadian nickel. If I add anymore, my children will immediately make comments and I will also taste it and that just kills the enjoyment of a sweeter soup.

For pregnant women, it’s great though! When I was going through my crazy morning sickness, the preserved tangerine peels (slightly salty and super sour) were excellent nibble snacks to curb the feeling that I want to throw up. Asians actually eat them on a regular basis, like I do with my unsalted nuts, as a snack! It is definitely not the most attractive looking ingredient, but it’s breathe of usage is pretty wide and impressive (goes to show you can’t judge an ingredient by its skin).

The extreme usage of these peels is when they are soaked in other ingredients (such as bitter snake bile) and then dried. This gives the peel a warming boost and makes the herb unique and even more expensive. In general though, the average dried tangerine peels don’t cost very much. The cost increases as the peels are aged and sold – so why not do it yourself?

What to look for in high quality tangerine peels?

  • Light in weight (you’ll need to scrape off the inner side of the peel any way)
  • Dark in color (the darker the better)
  • A stark tangerine fragrance (even though they are dried, they should retain some of their orange-y fragrance)
  • Non-moldy (the best are stored in cool, dried places)
  • Large peels kept together

Here are some soups where you can find the dried tangerine peel. In fact, you could theoretically drop a small slice in most soups – but I prefer not to do that because I am not a fan of the taste and I like to keep things clean 🙂

I have yet to try using the dried tangerine peel in stews or dishes. I have to find one that I really like, but I’m sure it will come along one day given the massive amount of tangerine peels drying at my mother-in-law’s house!

Happy peeling,

Lisa