Vegetarian Wintermelon and Longan Soup

Soup Name: Vegetarian Wintermelon and Longan Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 冬瓜龍眼素湯 (dōng guā lóngyǎn sù tāng)

Introduction:

A very light and delicious soup appropriate for hot, stuffy summers.  It is refreshing (even though it’s hot) and slightly sweet with all the goodness of natural flavoring and ingredients.   It is a meatless soup and a quick boil, so it’s super easy to make.  Plus, it’s a great base for adding other ingredients such as corn, carrots, onions and I serve it with udon or noodles to make it a meal!

What ingredients are required?

3 fresh carrots, cut into large pieces
2 fresh corn, cut into large pieces
1 large slice of wintermelon, peeled and cut into large pieces
20 pieces of dried longan
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak dried longan in warm water for 10 minutes (or until soft)
  2. Start boiling your soup water
  3. Wash and prepare wintermelon, carrots, and corn (keep the wintermelon skin)
  4. When soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
  5. Boil on high for 30 minutes
  6. Serve and enjoy!  Salt if necessary.

Any benefits?

  • Oil free soup
  • Excellent source of protein and vitamins
  • Easy to make soup
  • Soup is ideal for hot summers and mildly cooling to relieve heatiness in the body
  • Wintermelon helps detoxify the skin and body and regulates sugar levels

Any precautions?

  • Wintermelon is a mildly cooling ingredient and should be cautiously consumed if in your first trimester of pregnancy or if you’re menstruating as cooling foods intensify cramping
  • If someone is experiencing diarrhea or loose stool, they should avoid consuming the wintermelon seeds

Ginseng Fruit and Gobo in Vegetable Soup

Soup Name: Ginseng Fruit and Gobo in Vegetable Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 牛蒡人参果湯 (niúbàng rénshēn guǒ tāng)

Introduction:

A very clear and deep sweet soup that is extremely flavorful and rich in Vitamins.  Both the ginseng fruit and the gobo root give this soup all the flavor it needs, so no meat is required.  You can add a variety of vegetables to it like carrots, corn, chayotes, onions to make your soup creation.  The great thing about using ginseng fruit is that the soup actually smells and tastes like ginseng, but without the hole in your wallet!

What ingredients are required?

3 fresh carrots, cut into large pieces
2 fresh corn, cut into large pieces
2 fresh gobo root, cut into large pieces
5 fresh ginseng fruit, halved
1 tablespoon of apricot kernels
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak apricot kernals in water for 10 minutes
  2. Start boiling your soup water
  3. Wash and prepare ginseng fruit, gobo root, carrots and corn
  4. When soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
  5. Boil on high for 30 minutes
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Oil free soup
  • Naturally flavorful because of both the ginseng fruit and gobo root
  • Excellent source of protein and vitamins
  • High amount of natural minerals
  • Easy to make soup
  • Neutral soup for any soup consumer

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to use ripen ginseng fruit as unripe ones contain an ingredient called saponin, which dries out your mouth

Chayotes, Chestnuts and Longan Vegetable Soup

Soup Name: Chayotes, Chestnuts and Longan Vegetable Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 合掌瓜栗子素湯 (hup jeung gwa lì zi sù tāng)

Introduction:

This naturally sweet soup is rich in flavors and oil free.  It’s a refreshing soup to drink in the summer and can be served chilled as it’s really quick and easy to make.  I really like that it’s meat free because you can taste the chestnuts, the longans and all the vegetables.  You can add various vegetables such as onions, green radish or tomatoes.

What ingredients are required?

3 fresh chayotes, quartered
3 fresh carrots, peeled and quartered
2 fresh corn, quartered
20 fresh chestnuts, peeled
20 dried longans
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak the longans in warm water for 10 minutes
  2. Start boiling your soup water
  3. In a separate pot of boiling water, boil the chestnuts on high for 5 minutes
  4. Drain chestnuts of boiling water and with gloves or a towel, peel the chestnuts of both the outer and inner skin
  5. Wash and prepare chayotes, carrots and corn
  6. When soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
  7. Boil on high for 30 minutes
  8. Salt as necessary (taste it first!)

Any benefits?

  • Oil free soup
  • Can be served hot, warm or chilled
  • All natural ingredients
  • Naturally sweet soup, so no sugar is required
  • Excellent source of Vitamin C
  • The soup is overall rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants

Any precautions?

  • Beware to purchase the dried longans from a reputable source

 

Salted Mustard Greens with Tofu in Fish Soup

Soup Name: Salted Mustard Greens with Tofu in Fish Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 酸菜豆腐魚湯 (suan cai dòu fu yú tāng)

Introduction:

This quick boil soup is an excellent pre-dinner appetizer.  With its slight sour tang and refreshing clarity, it is relatively easy to make and very healthy for the whole family.  Depending on the type, brand and preservation process of the mustard greens, your soup color can range from pale yellow to a bright yellow (as picture above).  With a variety of textures in the soup, it serves as a great supplement to dinner and is an excellent source of protein.  This is considered a great summer soup.

What ingredients are required?

5-6 large slices of grass carp fish, preferably from the tail or backside
3 fresh slices of ginger
1 tsp of salt
1/2 package of preserved/salted mustard greens, largely sliced
1 pack of fresh stiff tofu, cubed
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak the preserved mustard greens in warm water for 10 minutes
  2. Wash and rinse your fish in running water, slice into large pieces (so that they don’t disintegrate as easily in the soup)
  3. Pat dry with a paper towel and salt lightly
  4. In a frying pan, heat oil until hot and fry ginger and fish slices until golden brown
  5. Set aside the fish when finished (it doesn’t have to be completed cooked, but at least with lightly golden surfaces)
  6. Boil your soup water
  7. Rinse preserved mustard greens in running water and slice into edible pieces
  8. Rinse tofu and cut into large pieces
  9. Slice the century eggs in half
  10. When the soup water boils, add ginger, fish, preserved mustard greens, and tofu together
  11. Boil on high for 30 minutes

Any benefits?

  • Naturally salted because of the mustard greens, so no salt needed!
  • High source of protein and low in fat
  • Excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, and E, folic acid, calcium, carotenes, manganese, copper, potassium, iron and fiber
  • Great for your bones and plenty of anti-oxidants

Any precautions?

  • If you’re concerned about the level of saltiness of the preserved mustard greens, you can soak them longer (for at least an hour)
  • Be sure to buy preserved mustard greens from a reputable source and be sure to check the expiry date
  • Be sure to use stiff tofu as this is the only type that will sustain its shape and form when put in boiling water.  Soft tofu will break apart, while still tastes OK, the soup doesn’t look as clean
  • Remove all the bones of the fish as I am not boiling with a fish bag (or take caution when serving children)

Fresh fish slices

Fried fish slices set aside before adding to the soup

Century Egg with Chinese Parsley Soup

Soup Name: Century Egg with Chinese Parsley Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 芫茜皮蛋魚湯 (yán qiàn pídàn yú tāng)

Introduction:

This quick boil soup is a great soup base (although just as great by itself) in the Chinese repertoire of soups.  While some people don’t like Chinese parsley at all (like me), the strong taste of the herb is heavily muted when boiled in this fashion.  As a result, the soup is slightly sweet and has a refreshingly mild taste to it.  You can use a variety of meats and other vegetables as desired.

What ingredients are required?

1 fresh big fish stomach, largely sliced
3 fresh slices of ginger
1 tsp of salt
2 fresh bunches of Chinese parsley
4 century eggs, washed and halved
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Wash and rinse big fish stomach in running water, slice into large pieces (so that they don’t disintegrate as easily in the soup)
  2. Pat dry with a paper towel and salt lightly
  3. In a frying pan, heat oil until hot and fry ginger and big fish stomach slices until golden brown
  4. Set aside the fish when finished (it doesn’t have to be completed cooked, but at least with lightly golden surfaces)
  5. Boil your soup water
  6. Rinse Chinese parsley in running water
  7. Wash and peel century eggs in running water, be sure to remove all the shell and coating
  8. Slice the century eggs in half
  9. When the soup water boils, add ginger, fish, century eggs, and Chinese parsley together
  10. Boil on high for 30 minutes
  11. Salt as necessary (but taste it first!)

Any benefits?

  • Excellent in removing heat from the body
  • Mildly cooling soup that is great for the hot summer
  • Easy soup to make
  • Great soup base for the addition of other meats and vegetables

Any precautions?

  • Menstruating or women in their first trimester should consume with caution as it is a cooling soup
  • Be sure that the fish stomach has not disintegrated, if it has, use a strainer to catch the pieces if serving to children (or use a soup bag)

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