Fresh Seabed Coconut and Lily Bulbs with Chayotes in Pork Broth

Fresh Seabed Coconut and Lily Bulbs with Chayotes in Pork Broth

Fresh Seabed Coconut and Lily Bulbs with Chayotes in Pork Broth

A super duper neutral soup that is ideal for all weather, although chayotes are more appropriate for Spring. I still use chayotes in the winter – especially combined with corn and carrots, provides a hearty meal along with the soup.  Fresh seabed coconut is not easy to find, unlike the dried version. They make the soup mildly sweet along with the fresh lily bulbs (which are also not easy to find). If you do run into these at the supermarket or wet mart, I would highly recommend purchasing them for soup usage! The can be frozen for up to 6 months! This is an easy soup to make and can be made with pork or chicken. When it comes to soup, I rarely tell my kids what’s in it until after they have tasted it. To be honest, Chinese soups don’t always looks at appealing as it tastes!

Soup Name:

Fresh Seabed Coconut and Lily Bulbs with Chayotes in Pork Broth

Traditional Chinese Name:

新鮮海椰子合掌瓜豬湯 (Xīnxiān hǎidǐ yē hézhǎng guā zhū zhǎn tāng)

 

For soup videos, visit us on YouTube.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 30 mins medium high heat + 1.5 hours in thermal pot (or on low heat)

Total time: 2 hours 15 mins

Serves: 8 bowls

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Start boiling your soup water
  2. In a separate pot of boiling water, blanch the pork shank in the hot water for 5 minutes, remove from water and rinse in warm running water (to remove the pork foam that has accumulated)
  3. Once you soup water boils, add in pork shank, largely cubed chayotes, fresh seabed coconut, fresh lily bulbs and dried dates
  4. Boil on high heat for 30 minutes and reduce to a low boil for another 1.5 hours
  5. Salt if necessary
  6. Serve and enjoy!

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

 

 

 

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Old Cucumber and Carrots in Pork Broth

Old Cucumber and Carrots in Pork Broth

Old Cucumber and Carrots in Pork Broth

Soup Name:

Old Cucumber and Carrots in Pork Broth

Traditional Chinese Name:

老黃瓜胡蘿蔔湯 (lǎo huáng guā hú luóbo tāng)

This soup is slightly cooling in nature, sweet to taste, and helps clear excess water from the body.

 

For videos, visit us on YouTube.

Another soup for the damp, wet spring season! You’ll find a recurring theme within Spring soups, mainly consisting of an assortment of beans and certain vegetables that are diuretic. This is a simple soup with a pretty strong “bean” taste – so use less beans if it’s for kids. Mine found it a bit too “beany” and didn’t really like it that much. Consider adding corn to sweeten it up, but the adults lapped it up. It’s an easy to drink soup that is excellent for our health during this time of the year, especially when it’s wet and humid. You can also use chayotes, onions and fish for variation.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 2 hours

Total time: 2 hours 10 mins

Serves: 8 bowls

Ingredients
Cooking Instructions
  1. In a small pot of boiling water, blanch your pork for 5 minutes. Scoop out and rinse of any excess foam.
  2. Start boiling your soup water.
  3. Prepare old cucumber and carrots. Keep the peel for the old cucumber to prevent disintegration.
  4. Soak the dried tangerine peel in warm water for 5 minutes and with a sharp knife, scrape the outer peel (where it’s darker in color) to remove the outer layer of the skin (which is most bitter).
  5. When you soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
  6. Boil on high for 30 minutes and reduce to a medium boil for another 1.5 hours.
  7. Salt to taste – enjoy!
Any benefits?
  • This soup is perfect for Spring or humid conditions when there is a lot of moisture in the body
  • It is great for clearing damp heat since it’s cooling in nature
  • Fit for the whole family, this soup eats like a meal!

For videos, visit us on YouTube.

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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Spring Chayotes and Figs in Pork Broth

Spring Chayotes and Figs in Pork Broth

Spring Chayotes and Figs in Pork Broth

Soup Name:

Spring Chayotes and Figs in Pork Broth

Traditional Chinese Name:

合掌瓜豬展湯 (hup jeung gwa zhū zhǎn tāng)

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

My herbalist recommended I make this soup given the recent change of temperature and humidity. She actually only provides the “dried goodies” – see below – in terms of herbs. She will tell you that you additionally need a pork shank and chayotes to complete the soup. This soup is targeted to help reduce wetness in the body and aid with the dampness that comes with Spring in Hong Kong. It’s slightly sweet to taste, and surprisingly, my children drank it all!

What’s involved?

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 2 hours

Total time: 2 hours 15 mins

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Start boiling your soup water and immediately (while the water is still cold) throw in all the dried herbs (figs, honey dates, apricot kernals, lily bulbs, lotus seeds)
    2. In a separate pot, blanch the pork shank for 5 minutes, drain and set aside
    3. Once the water boils, add in cubed chayotes (with the skin on so it won’t completely disintegrate in the soup) and pork shank
    4. Boil on high for 30 minutes
    5. Reduce to a medium boil for another 1.5 hours (or put it in a thermal pot)
    6. Salt to salt
    7. Serve and enjoy!

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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

Vegetables and Dried Octopus with Mung Beans Soup

Soup Name: Vegetables and Dried Octopus with Mung Beans Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 雜菜綠豆章魚湯 (Zá cài lǜ dòu zhāng yú tāng)

Introduction:

When it rains, the Chinese like using beans to absorb moisture from the body. Mung beans, dried beans, red beans, green beans, yellow beans, big beans and little beans – any type of beans will do really! The octopus is known to be a heaty ingredient and therefore is balanced with the cooler mung beans. This combination with lotus root is a delicious Spring Chinese soup ideal for the whole family. I’ve also added a variety of vegetables to sweeten it and dilute the unique taste of the octopus that my children pick up on. On top of this, it gives you a hearty soup that you can eat as a meal or additional dishes to your meal – like the corn.

What ingredients are required?

1 one-foot long lotus root, cut into bite size
1 whole dried octopus, sliced
100 g of mung beans
3 large fresh carrots, sliced
3 large fresh corn, quartered
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak dried octopus in cold water for about 30 minutes
  2. Boil your soup water
  3. Slice octopus in slices or quartered
  4. Wash and cut lotus root, carrots and corn
  5. Add all the ingredients into your boiling soup water
  6. Boil on high for thirty minutes and reduce to medium boil for another hour
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Excellent Chinese soup for Spring in absorbing wetness from the body
  • This soup is an excellent source of protein and low in fat
  • No salt required as the octopus already provides enough sodium
  • Octopus is rich in calcium, phosphorous, and iron
  • Dried Octopus aids in the prevention of anemia, relieves fatigue and restores eyesight and improves liver functions

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to purchase dried Chinese products from a reputable source
  • Sometimes the octopus is really salty, so if you want to reduce the saltiness, soak in warm water for a few hours
  • Dried octopus is high in cholesterol
  • People who are allergic to shellfish may be allergic to octopus

Lotus Root with Dried Octopus in Chicken Soup

Lotus Root with Dried Octopus in Chicken Soup

Soup Name:

Lotus Root with Dried Octopus in Chicken Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

章魚幹蓮藕雞湯 (zhāng yú gàn liánǒu jī tāng)

Nature:  This soup is neutral

Taste:  This soup is sweet to taste

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

This is a simple, easy-to-make soup that doesn’t require many ingredients. It’s a heavy sweet (not a light sweet) and appropriate for spring weather. This soup is quite neutral and ideal for children and adults. The dried octopus & dried mussels do give the soup a little bit of a “fishy” taste if you put too much, but use less if you’re concerned. It’s a similar taste to dried scallops almost. A naturally delicious soup for the whole family.

This combination of octopus and chicken works amazing with many types of roots, such as arrowroot, lotus root, or fresh Chinese yam.  It goes nicely with earthy tastes as it really brings out the flavours of the roots.  And the amazing thing is that it eats like a meal!  I will serve the roots and the chicken meat, with a small plate of soy sauce, and it’s delicious! 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 1 hour

Total time: 1 hour and 30 mins

Serves: 4 bowls

Ingredients
Cooking Instructions
  1. Prepare chicken (see chicken post) and blanch in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and set aside
  2. Soak dried octopus and baby mussels in water for about 30 minutes
  3. Boil your soup water
  4. Slice octopus in slices or quartered
  5. Peel and cut arrowroot into large cubes
  6. Add all the ingredients into your boiling soup water
  7. Boil on high for thirty minutes and reduce to medium boil for another hour
  8. Serve and enjoy!

An alternative which is often used with lotus roots is to stuff the lotus root with green or yellow (mung) beans.  The beans are slightly cooling, but you can drop in a slice of ginger to balance it out.  This is a very popular way of making lotus roots in southern China, particularly Guangzhou and is often served in large portions for large families.

Lotus roots can also be stuffed with sticky rice (yum!), pan fried, sliced, marinated raw in a beautiful vinaigrette, and a host of other preparation method!  It’s definitely one of my favourite and most diverse roots in the Chinese menu! 

 

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