Chinese Winter Melon and Parma Ham Stew

Chinese Winter Melon and Parma Ham Stew

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, “Gosh, that’s be amazing to use!”.  I didn’t want to make a soup that day, but really wanted something savory, tasty, and soft.  So another way to make winter melon is to stew it!  And normally, you can pair winter melon with Chinese ham, but I went for a western spin and decided to make a fusion version with Parma Ham instead (which is equally salty).

What’s involved?

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 45 mins

Total time: 1 hour

Serves: 4-5 people

Ingredients

  • 1 slice of fresh winter melon (about 2-3 inches thick is good)
  • 1 bowl of smaller dried Chinese mushrooms
  • 1 bowl of fresh, cored gingko bilobas
  • 1 pack of Parma Ham
  • 9-10 cloves of fresh garlic
  • A sprinkling of preserved Chinese vegetables

Cooking Instructions

  1. Start by soaking the Chinese mushrooms in room temperature water for about an hour to soften them
  2. I like to use giant butcher’s knives for chopping most things because the weight and leverage just lessens the work!  Chop your winter melon into large-sized pieces, removing the seeds and keeping the skin.  This will help keep in place as it softens in your stew and not disintegrate into a million pieces and become blah…
  3. The go about removing the ends of the mushrooms.  A sharp knife or kitchen scissors will do the job!
  4. In your soup pot, with a bit of oil and on medium heat, pan fry the garlic cloves until they are brown (and smell yummy!), then you toss in the mushroom and pan fry for about 3 minutes.
  5. Drop in the gingko bilobas and also fry for 3 minutes
  6. Then you extract the Parma Ham and just place it on top of the other ingredients and stir slightly
  7. Add in 2 cups of boiling water and a sprinkling of Chinese preserved vegetables and mix it altogether
  8. Cover and boil for 45 minutes, stirring every once in a while so it doesn’t stick, or that you still have enough liquid in the pot

For more videos, visit us on YouTube

Fish Maw Chicken Egg Drop Soup

Fish Maw Chicken Egg Drop Soup

Fish Maw Chicken Egg Drop Soup

Soup Name

Fish Maw Chicken Egg Drop Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:  

 

 

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

In the Chinese repertoire of soups, there’s a type of soup called a “gung” (羹) in Cantonese.   These soups are traditionally thickened with corn starch or other thickeners and served as an appetizer during meals.  I don’t make these soups very often, but once in awhile, it’s a nice addition to my menu.  I also find that these types of “gung” soups usually come out during the winter days, which is perfect for our cold weather now in Hong Kong!

This one is made with fish maw (or fish stomach) and fresh chicken breast, both excellent sources of low-fat protein!  It takes around 30-40 minutes to make and serves a pretty filling soup that is ideal for the whole family!  Try it and let me know what you think!  

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 30 hours

Total time: 1 hour

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of dried fish maw
  • 4-6 pieces of skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 2-3 slices of fresh ginger
  • frozen peas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of Chinese ham, diced
  • 1 can of small chicken broth
  • 2 L of water
  • 4 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • soy sauce
  • Chinese wine
  • sesame oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Parsley
  • Green onions

Cooking Instructions

  1. Boil your soup water, throw in yours ginger and the dried fish maw.  Boil on high for 10 minutes, or until the fish maw is completely soft.  You’ll need to use chopsticks or something to push them into the water or else they will just float about and not really soften.
  2. Remove the fish maw from the water, let cool and dice into bite sized pieces
  3. Dice your chicken and Chinese ham into bite sized pieces
  4. Marinate your chicken breast with:  1 teaspoon of Chinese wine, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, a drizzle of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, sprinkle of salt and pepper – mix well together
  5. In your soup, add fish maw, diced chicken breast and let it boil for 5 minutes on medium heat.  Then throw in frozen peas and ham.
  6. In a small bowl, add cold water to 4 tablespoons of cornstarch and mix until dissolved.  Then slowly, drizzle this into your soup on medium heat while you continuously stir

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

 

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Vietnamese Sour Fish Soup

Vietnamese Sour Fish Soup

Vietnamese Sour Fish Soup

I love soups. I particularly do love sour soups as an appetizer because they really bring out my appetite! I know sour soups aren’t for all taste buds, but here’s a simple one you can make at home with fresh ingredients. You can always adjust the sourness (and even the spicyness) as desired. I came across this type of soup one day at a Vietnamese restaurant and loved it! So I googled it and then kind of tweaked it to my own tastes. To be honest, I don’t always follow soup recipes that I find. I love the fact that I can create, twist, tweak, add, remove, and flavour it with my personality – so this is my interpretation of it!

Soup Name:

Vietnamese Sour Fish Soup (Canh Chua Ca)

Taste:  Sweet and sour

Nature:  Slightly cooling, can add more ginger to warm it up

 

For soup and recipe videos, visit us on YouTube.

To start, you’ll need fresh fish heads. To be honest, you can use any type of bigger fish, such as salmon, tuna, big head fish, or bass. I just go to my local wet mart and pick up some “big head” fish, which is at like $15 HKD a head, which is cheap! If you’d like more protein, you can buy the fish tail as well. Don’t forget to use a fish bag in the soup. This will help keep the fish bones together as it disintegrates in the soup.  I’ve found a few good ones on amazon that are durable and affordable.  And if you have the patience, you can wash and reuse.

You’ll also need some fresh ingredients such as fresh parsley, okra, bean sprouts, garlic, ginger, shallots, green onions, lemongrass, tomatoes, celery, and fish sauce. In some recipes you’ll also find Vietnamese taro stems (which aren’t easy to find, so you can replace this with celery).

To make your fish heads super fragrant for the soup, use your soup pot (empty) and add in a dollop of oil (any type) and pan fry on medium head the diced garlic, ginger slices, sliced green onions, tamarind, sliced lemongrass, and diced shallots and fry until fragrant. Add in your clean fish parts and fry until the skin is a golden brown. When sufficiently yummy, you can throw everything into a thin mesh soup bag and set aside (optional).

Because I do sometimes get lazy and know that the kids aren’t likely going to fight me to drink this soup, I didn’t use a fish bag and just added water at this time until the pot is 3/4 full.

After you bring the soup to a boil, turn to medium heat and add in the tomatoes, celery (or taro stems), okra, and pineapples and continue to boil. Boil on medium for another 15 minutes or until the fish is completely cooked and the vegetables have softened. You can almost consider this a quick boil soup.

Taste the soup and add fish sauce as desired to increase the saltiness. This is when you can add the bean sprouts because they pretty much flash cook. Then serve immediately with parsley (and little spicy peppers, too) and enjoy! Be sure to scoop out all the goodies inside. Serve with rice or noodles! I love the colours of this soup – but more importantly, the flavours!! I do add more tamarind because I love sour stuff! Did I say that already? Haha… the best, are Costco giant sour keys….
What’s involved?
Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 30 mins on medium heat

Total time: 1 hour

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients
  • 2 large fish heads, halved (or use fish tails)
  • 2-3 stalks of celery (or Vietnamese taro stem), chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup of pineapple chunks (canned is OK)
  • 1 cup of bean sprouts
  • 1 cup of okra, chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 slices of fresh ginger
  • 2-3 stalks of fresh green onions, diced
  • 2-3 stalks of fresh lemon grass, chopped
  • fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp of tamarind
  • fish sauce, to taste
  • 3L of water
Cooking Instructions
  1. In your soup pot, add a tablespoon of oil and fry the shallots, garlic, ginger, fresh green onions, and fresh lemon grass.
  2. When fragrant, throw in clean fish parts and pan fry until the skin is golden and crispy.
  3. Fill the pot to 3/4 full (or about 3L worth of water)
  4. Bring to a boil and turn to medium head, scooping out any oil or foam on top.
  5. Throw in tomatoes, pineapples, celery (or taro stems), and okra and let simmer for 15 minutes until the fish is completely cooked or the vegetables are soft.
  6. Taste soup and add fish sauce as needed.
  7. Add bean sprouts to boil for 1-2 minutes and serve. Garnish with fresh parsley.

EQUIPMENT USED

To answer your questions on what equipment I'm using, I've built a section here where you can find and explore what I'm using to make soups.  Ingredients are a little harder, but I will do my best as I source them around.  However, you can always message me on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or Facebook, and I will reply and try to point you in some direction!  

A great help for fish or small bones in soups, including small ingredients such as barley, fox nuts, spices just to keep everything together.

A MUST HAVE in the kitchen!  Energy saving, cost effective, and perfect for busy chefs!  Check out my article here that explains it.

Another MUST HAVE in the kitchen for soups!  It's so fine that it will scoop off the top oil and foam layer when using meats in your soup!

I use these types of stove top safe tea pots to make most of my herbal teas!

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Bitter Melon Soup with Corn and Pork Meatballs

Bitter Melon Soup with Corn and Pork Meatballs

Bitter Melon Soup with Corn and Pork Meatballs

Soup Name:

Bitter Melon with Corn and Pork Meatballs Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

簡單菜湯 (Jiǎn dān cài tāng)

 

I made this after work one day and managed to pick up fresh veggies and meat from the wet mart on the way home. Sometimes I plan for soup, sometimes I don’t, and this soup is one of those last minute made-up combinations because I felt like having meatballs and bitter melon at the same time!

The pork meatballs are a substitute for the pork bones and I could eat them along with my soup. I also made extra and froze for a rainy day so I could pan fry – no wasted efforts! The bitter melon is also cooling, helps relieve heat in my body, and helps relieve that painful tongue after eating too much fried food.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 40 mins

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients

    • 2 fresh bitter melons, halved (with skin), de-seeded, and sliced
    • 2 fresh corn, quartered
    • 20 fresh ginkgo biloba
    • 1 pound of fresh ground pork
    • half fresh onion, diced
    • 1 egg
    • your own spices
    • 1 tsp of chicken broth powder
    • 2 L of water

Cooking Instructions

  1. Boil your soup water
  2. Wash and cut the corn and throw into the soup water
  3. Wash and cut up the bitter melon (de-seed and keep on the skin) and add with the ginkgo biloba to your soup
  4. in a separate bowl, mix in the diced onions, spices and 1 egg until the pork fat becomes stringy and quite sticky
  5. Roll into bite-sized meatballs
  6. When the soup water boils, drop in the meatballs one at a time, ensuring that the water is still boiling (this ensures the meatballs cook immediately when they hit the water and stays together)
  7. Boil on high for 25 minutes
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Start with the meatballs base.  I mix in ground pork, diced onions, and 1 egg and seasoned with black pepper, salt, and a bit of soy sauce.  You can also add paprika, fresh ginger, green onions, even bread crumbs.  Then you roll them into little round balls to be dropped into your soup!

Boil your soup water in a pot on medium heat and add in the corn.  As this boils, you can prepare the bitter melon.  I halve them and scrape out the seeds with a spoon and then cut them quite thinly.  The key to quick boil soups is that the ingredients cook fast!

When the water boils, throw in the sliced bitter melon and gingko and 1 tsp of chicken broth powder.  When it boils again, drop in your meatballs and leave it to boil for 25 minutes on medium heat.

Garnish with green onions, parsley, or cilantro as you wish.  This totally eats like a meal!  Serve with rice or noodles.

 

Quick Boil Pumpkin and Corn Vegetarian Soup

Quick Boil Pumpkin and Corn Vegetarian Soup

Quick Boil Pumpkin and Corn Vegetarian Soup

Soup Name:

Quick Boil Pumpkin and Corn Vegetarian Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

簡單菜湯 (Jiǎn dān cài tāng)

What started as a simple vegetable soup, turned into an interesting mix of hot and cold vegetables because I could! The children had the soup warm, served with macaroni for dinner and it’s an easy quick boil, meatless soup. You can add real meat if you’d like, ideally chicken breast or thighs for a quick boil or even Chinese preserved ham. A great, quick soup for those times when you’re just running out of time, but have a fridge full of vegetables! The base is quite easy and you can add any other vegetables that suit your taste!

For the quick boil, you’ll need to have small pieces of vegetables to enable them to cook faster and release flavours faster. I always keep the cobs for the soup base, there is SO MUCH flavour in those things! Throw everything into a pot of boiling water as a start.

Throw in the shucked loose corn and broth and boil on high heat for 30 minutes. You can throw in the snow peas to blanch for 2 minutes and then serve.  What I also did here was have extra “greek salad” ingredients (raw cucumbers, raw tomatoes, and parsley) just for fun – but it tasted awesome!

What’s involved?

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 40 mins

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1/2 fresh Japanese pumpkin, cubed (with skin off)

  • 2 fresh corn, shucked (keep the cob for the soup)

  • 20 fresh snow peas

  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable broth powder (or half a cup of vegetable soup stock)

  • 2 L of water

Cooking Instructions

  1. In a pot of boiling water, add cubed pumpkin, corn cobs, corn kernals and stock (or powder)
  2. Boil in high for 30 minutes
  3. Before serving, blanch the snow peas in the soup for 2 minutes
  4. Serve and enjoy!

The beauty of this is that you can add in your choice of cubed vegetables, such as carrots, radish, and even tomatoes that compliment the sweet flavours of the pumpkin.  

Alternatively, you can use miso paste instead of chicken powder, which is just as tasty as  quick boil!

 

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Vegetarian Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes and Corn Broth with Orzo

Vegetarian Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes and Corn Broth with Orzo

Vegetarian Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes and Corn Broth with Orzo

Soup Name:

Vegetarian Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes and Corn Broth with Orzo

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

 

 

I know, the orzo doesn’t make it very Chinese, but my family loves small-sized pasta that I decided to turn this soup into a solid meal for the children. This is another quick boil vegetarian soup that can be done in under 30 minutes. For my kids, I added pan-fried sausages on top for some protein, but you can always consider adding tofu or even egg drops! This recipe was inspired by another mommy on instagram – you can follow @TheChineseSoupLady for my adventures of “souping”.

For this recipe, you’ll need: Sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, fresh corn and vegetable broth is optional, or for those who prefer meat, you can add the preserved Chinese Ham or chicken / beef broth.

To start, you can begin boiling your soup water, which I use around 3L of water. Like most quick boils, the ingredients need to be cut small so that they can cook quickly. I would normally recommend ingredients like onions, leafy greens, melons to be cut smaller, but because potatoes and sweet potatoes melt into soups or self disintegrate, I cut them bigger – roughly 1 cubic inch will suffice.

If your soup water has boiled, just dump in your chopped potatoes into the soup, but if it’s still work in progress, I’d recommend soaking the potatoes and sweet potatoes in warm water until you can use them or they will brown and then stay brown in the soup and just doesn’t look as appealing.

I also shuck the corn. This is another recommended technique for quick boil soups because the corn will cook faster. Don’t throw away the cob! You can use these as part of your soup base and heightens the sweet flavours. You can just simply snap the cobs into halves with your hands once they have been shucked. Makes me feel strong – grrrr!

At this point, you can throw it all into your soup if the water’s boiled. Add some vegetable, chicken, or beef broth to heighten flavours or throw in 2 slices of preserved Chinese Ham. At this point, you can start preparing the orzo – which is simply to throw as much as you can eat (without wastage) into a pot of slightly salted water for about 7-9 minutes. Once the orzo is done – you can try a few to make sure it’s soft enough to your liking, drain and rinse under running cold water. This will help ensure it’s stopped cooking and won’t stick to each other. I personally don’t mind soaking in cold water.

This next part is about adding some additional ingredients that the children don’t like, but I do! I’ll pan fry diced garlic and onions to use as a garnish for the soup. If I could, I’d probably throw in the onions into the soup base as well! Actually, come to think of it, I could eat the garlic and onion garnish just by itself… a little bit of salt and omigosh – so delicious!

Interestingly enough, this sets the beginning for a chowder soup, but because I’m keeping it Asian-styled, I don’t go chowder. Once the soup has boiled on medium heat for 30 minutes, you can salt if you’d like, but be sure to taste it first. If you’re using Chinese ham, I wouldn’t recommend more salt.

In a bowl, scoop as much or as little orzo as you can eat and then scoop your boiling, hot soup on top. Then garnish with the onions, garlic or a bit of parsley if have and ta-da – your meal. Again, for the children, I topped with pan-fried sausages, but you can really add anything you’d like that will put a smile on your face. Enjoy!

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 30 hours

Total time: 1 hour

Serves: 8 bowls 

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and largely cubed
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and largely cubed
  • 1 fresh white onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic, diced
  • 2 fresh corn, shucked
  • orzo pasta
  • 3L water

Cooking Instructions

  1. Boil your soup water
  2. Wash, peel and largely cube your sweet potatoes and potatoes
  3. Shuck the corn, keeping the cob
  4. When the soup water boils, add all the ingredients together and boil on medium heat for 30 minutes
  5. Add optional broth or salt to the soup if you’d like
  6. For garnish, dice garlic and onions
  7. Pan-fry until golden brown in a little bit of oil
  8. Set aside to cool
  9. In a smaller pot with 1 tsp of salt, boil the orzo for 7-9 minutes until soft
  10. Once the orzo is finished, drain and rinse under cold running water to prevent sticking and further cooking
  11. When soup is done, in a bowl, put orzo on the bottom and add in hot soup
  12. Add garnishes
  13. Enjoy!

Here are some examples of other soups using a chicken soup base:

The chicken soup base is a great soup to start with for so many dishes and soups!  Here are a few to get you started!

This is a great and very simple chicken soup that I use as a base.  My kids love drinking this as plain chicken soup.

Using this chicken soup base for shabu shabu is the perfect solution to start your hot pot adventures!

This soup is using the base chicken soup recipe that is perfect for double-boiling.  For example, the only additional ingredient added here is the ginseng on top of the soup base.

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