Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht Soup

Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht Soup

Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht Soup

Soup Name:

Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht (with oxtail)

Traditional Chinese Name:

羅宋湯 (luó sòng tāng)

Nature:  Warming

Taste: Savory, sweet, and slightly sour

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

 

Did you know the secret ingredient to an HK-styled Russian Borscht is Worcestershire sauce (and some lemon juice)?

Falling off the bone oxtail?

Soft delicious veggies?

Savory and a hint of tart delicious broth?

Yes, the Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht is a classically adopted fusion soup that is very different and uniquely different to the traditional European borscht (no beetroots or cream).  Instead, it’s a tomato based beef broth and a range of choice vegetables diced small. 

I love the subtle tart flavours of the soup, but yet incredibly savory and hearty.  This soup indeed eats like a meal!

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 120 minutes 

Total time: 150 mins

Serves: 8 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 full oxtail
  • Optional pieces of beef flank
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and largely cubed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and largely cubed
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled and largely cubed2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, slicked thin
  • 3 dried dates
  • Fresh green onions

Flavouring

  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 lemon
  • 5 dried bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons or Worcestershire sauce
  • 11-12 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Cooking Instructions

  1. In your soup pot, with a bit of oil on med heat, pan fry the garlic cloves and oxtails until golden brown and fragrant (they smell so good!).  I don’t blanch and will do this instead.
  2. Add the cubed beef flanks and potatoes, allowing them to also brown nicely
  3. Add in your soup water, about 11-12 cups of water and turn on high heat
  4. I will then drop in my vegetables, tomatoes, celery, onion, carrots, and the dried dates
  5. Cover and let it come to a full boil, then reduce to med heat for another 1.5 hours
  6. Here you can now add in the flavouring of the soup (this is what really makes it distinct as a the HK-styled Russian Borscht)
  7. I will also throw in the cabbage
  8. Cover and let that simmer for another 30 minutes
  9. Garnish with fresh green onions, serve, and enjoy!

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Making a Delicious Lotus Root with Vegetables in Pork Broth Chinese Soup (with Roasted Fresh Peanuts!)

Making a Delicious Lotus Root with Vegetables in Pork Broth Chinese Soup (with Roasted Fresh Peanuts!)

Making a Delicious Lotus Root with Vegetables in Pork Broth Chinese Soup (with Roasted Fresh Peanuts!)

Soup Name:

Making a Delicious Lotus Root with Vegetables in Pork Broth Chinese Soup (with Roasted Fresh Peanuts!)

Traditional Chinese Name:

蓮藕豬骨湯 (Lián’ǒu zhū gǔ tāng)

Nature: Neutral

Taste: Sweet 

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube. 

For this post, I made 6 x 2 person portions (freezing them in packs and giving some to friends).  I didn’t really make a pot that big.  LOL.

You’ll see in the image that they fit neatly into 6 packs, which are vacuum sealed (try this vacuum seal starter kit that comes with the machine and the bags) and frozen.  That means the it’s literally a take-out-and-drop soup.  NO WORK needed!  I’ve even prepped and blanched the meat so it comes clean into the soup.  

I used a frozen pack the other day and it was AMAZING.  Literally 2 minutes of work for me first thing in the morning before my meetings.  I dropped the whole frozen pack into my rice cooker, added water to the max water line, and pressed COOK RICE.  That means, I had a delicious hearty soup ready for lunch, which I had with rice.  It was PERFECT! 

This is a great, earthy, slightly nutty light soup great for the whole family!

I know, I went a bit crazy on the portions, but stay with me 🙂  I actually made extra to freeze (and give to friends)!  Each packs are made in 2 person portions and I actually tried one in the rice cooker and it was AMAZING!  I know each device is different, so the rice cooker I’m using is a Zojirushi one, which is fantastic.  I’ve been using this brand from Hong Kong and has to rebuy in Canada.

This soup is easy to make and with common ingredients.  Lotus roots are very accessible in Canada and Hong Kong and make for an amazing meal as part of the soup with the hearty vegetables and pork ribs.

 

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 60 minutes (in rice cooker)

Total time: 90 mins

Serves: 4 bowls (2 people portion)

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. I will first pre-soak the dried mushrooms to allow them rehydrate
  2. Cut and wash your pork ribs
  3. In a small pot of cold water with a teaspoon of salt (to lower the boiling point), add your ribs to blanch and set to a high boil.  Once that boils, you can remove the pork bones
  4. Drain the pork ribs and rinse one more time with cool water to get rid of any debris, bones, or foam
  5. Peel and slice your lotus roots
  6. Peel and slice your carrots
  7. Cut your corn into bite-sized portions
  8. Using the flat side of a butcher’s knife, gently crack the peanuts and remove the fresh peanuts from the shell
  9. In a shallow pan with a little bit of oil, pan fry the peanuts with a pinch of salt until golden brown on medium heat
  10. Optional to fry the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms at this point with the peanuts
  11. In your soup pot add all the ingredients together and bring to a boil covered.  Once that boils, reduce heat and let it simmer for another 60 minutes covered.  Or you can try to use a rice cooker, which worked amazing for me!
  12. Serve and enjoy!

Tips for making this soup:

  • Use fresh lotus roots.  You’ll know they’re fresh when they are super crunchy and as you cut through it, it’s pale and looks clean.  Be sure to wash thoroughly as lotus roots do have a lot of mud as they are grown under water.
  • Buy fresh peanuts (available from Asian supermarkets).  This takes a bit of work to process, but produces deeper, darker flavours versus using pre-processed roasted peanuts (which tend to be pretty salty).  But both work just as great!
  • Pan frying mushrooms ahead of time really brings out the flavour of the dried shiitake mushrooms.

For videos, visit us on YouTube. 

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Arrowroot and Water Chestnuts in Chicken Soup

Arrowroot and Water Chestnuts in Chicken Soup

Arrowroot and Water Chestnuts in Chicken Soup

Soup Name:

Arrowroot and Water Chestnuts in Chicken Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

馬蹄粉葛雞湯 (mǎtí fěn gé jī tāng)

Nature:  Slightly cooling

Taste: Sweet and savory

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

A great soup for nourishing the lungs, helping with coughs and reducing phlegm.  

The key ingredient here is the water chestnut.  This is a common herb in the Chinese cuisine that is sweet, crunchy, and cooling.  It’s the root of a water plant that has a brown outer skin and crunchy internal flesh.

The water chestnut is a cooling herb and can be used to treat conditions with heat (such as fevers or infections).  It’s ideal for treating hot phlegm in the lungs and sinuses.

Be sure to buy water chestnuts that are firm in texture.  This means they are still fresh.  As they dry out, they soften and the interior becomes powdery.  The shelf live of water chestnuts is around 1 week in the fridge.

 

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 2 hours and 30 mins

Total time: 3 hours

Serves: 4-6 bowls

Ingredients
Cooking Instructions
  1. Cut smilax root & arrowroot into edible cubes
  2. Boil a pot of water to blanch smilax root, chicken & chicken feet (don’t cut nails as it will release oils into the soup)
  3. Boil soup water
  4. Wash and peel water chestnuts
  5. When water boils, add all the ingredients together
  6. Boil on high for 30 minutes and reduce to continually boiling for another 2 hour
  7. Serve and enjoy!  You can also serve the arrowroot and chicken feet as part of the meal!  That’s why I put in extra chicken feet! LOL.

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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!  

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Fragrant Potatoes and Tomatoes in a Milky Fish Broth

Fragrant Potatoes and Tomatoes in a Milky Fish Broth

Fragrant Potatoes and Tomatoes in a Milky Fish Broth

Soup Name:

Fragrant potatoes and tomatoes in a milky fish broth (yup, fancy name!)

Traditional Chinese Name:

番茄魚湯 (fānqié yú tāng)

This name of 番茄魚湯 is literally the most staple name for any soup with fish and tomatoes in it.  Of course, get creative!

This soup is neutral in nature sweet to taste.

 

For videos, visit us on YouTube.

When you’ve got that milky broth going, you know you’ve got the soup base right for your fish soup.

It’s been awhile since I made a fish soup and my kids have grown up this pretty traditional Cantonese-styled soup from their grandma, so I decided to make it again in Toronto.

I wasn’t sure what type of fish I’d find at the supermarket for soup making, but it is pretty fully loaded!!   To be honest, you can use any type of fish for fish soup.  However, I would recommend using more of the bones parts of the fish.  The head is the best with the tail being second and then stomach and main body.  The head is packed full of calcium, nutrients, and collagen.  And when boiled out in soup, dissolves into the soup and gives it more of that milky disposition.  It’s truly amazing!  Read up on how to prepare the fish.

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 45 mins

Cook time: 3 hours

Total time: 3 hours 45 mins

Serves: 8 bowls

Ingredients

Tips before you start!

  •  Pan-fry in ginger and oil (add scallions if you’d like) the first before you add it to the soup.  This will make it more fragrant and eliminate the fishy smell and taste.
  • Also pan-fry the potatoes on high heat, crusting all sides (doesn’t need to be fully cooked).  This will keep it together in the soup and prevent it from dissolving and disappearing in the soup (and makes it super fragrant)
  • Salt fish very lightly if you’d like.  For this version, I actually didn’t salt at all!  It turned out amazing and people can add salt afterwards as they like. 
Cooking Instructions
  1. .Start boiling your soup water in a soup pot on high heat
  2. Wash, clean, and pat dry your fish
  3. In a shallow pan, add in a tablespoon of oil, 8 ginger slices, and a bunch of largely sliced green onions on medium-high heat.  Let that brown a bit.
  4. Throw in your fish, browning as much of it as you can.  It doesn’t need to be fully cooked, just crisp the edges and meat on all sides.  Once done, you can turn off the heat.
  5. Once your soup water boils, add in the fried fish (best to put it in a soup bag to hold all the bones together and you can easily remove from the soup) along with the dried longans and dried scallops.
  6. Reduce that to a medium boil
  7. You can now peel and cut the potatoes into giant chunks
  8. In a shallow pan on medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of oil and brown all the sides of the potatoes, as crispy as you can get.  This crust will keep the potatoes in tack as it boils and softens.
  9. Once that browns, throw it into your soup.
  10. Cut up the tomatoes into large quarters and drop that into your soup as well
  11. You can then prepare the abalone and drop into your soup.
  12. Reduce to a low boil for about 2-3 hours.  I did 3 hours for this.
  13. By now, you should have a beautiful milky broth.  Throw in scallions for taste.
  14. Serve and enjoy!

My kids loved this soup!  It’s something they grew up with and eat the potatoes as part of the soup.

I normally don’t keep fish soup overnight, but somehow I wanted to save some for the day after and when I went back to reheat it, the soup was congealed!!  It was amazing!  This means that the collagen (and there’s a lot) has hardened and simply gently reheat and enjoy again!

For those who love eating fish heads, I also didn’t use a soup bag as the grass carp head was pretty large.  A lot of the meat does stay in tack and have separated from the bones, so you can “fish” for them at the bottom of the soup with a scooper!  Enjoy!!

 

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.

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

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One guiding principle in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the yin yang theory.  In the natural world, there exists a balance between 2 opposing and co-existing forces and yet, they also exist in each other.  Our bodies, minds, and souls are designed the same way in...

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Soup Name: Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht (with oxtail) Traditional Chinese Name: 羅宋湯 (luó sòng tāng) Nature:  Warming Taste: Savory, sweet, and slightly sour For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.  Did you know the secret ingredient to an HK-styled...

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GIVE YOUR LOVE OF SOUP.

FOLLOW US AND SHARE.

Double-boiled Whole Winter Melon Soup

Double-boiled Whole Winter Melon Soup

Double-boiled Whole Winter Melon Soup

I’ve always been in awe with the restaurant-styled whole winter melon soups – I mean, how on earth did they do that? They must have some giant double-boiler inside and it always taste so yummy! It’s a true favourite of mine when I go to Chinese restaurants to be able to drink it – especially with all the yummy insides that go with it! So I did manage to find a baby whole winter melon – which will fit into my soup pot, so here’s the recipe for it. You can actually use this on a whole winter melon, but you’ll need to just cut off whatever amount doesn’t fit into your pot and go from there. This is a pretty labour intensive soup with many steps, but so worth it!

Soup Name:

Double-boiled Whole Winter Melon Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

冬瓜盅 (dōng guā zhōng)

 

For soup and recipe videos, visit us on YouTube.

You’ll need: 1 whole winter melon, dried shrimp, dried conpoy, fresh shrimp, fresh pork, dried mushrooms, straw mushrooms, salt, cornstarch, oil and chicken broth.  In actuality, this is a quick boil soup first and then double-boiled within the winter melon – or at least, that’s how this recipe goes. The thicker the winter melon, the longer it will need to be double-boiled, but at least you make the soup base first.

To start, soak all your dried Chinese goodies for 10-15 minutes – this includes the mushrooms, the conpoys and the shrimp.

Cut up the mushrooms. We don’t need the mushrooms ends, so you can discard this. Cut the mushrooms into tiny cubes. The idea is to use consistency across all the soup ingredients so they are the same size.

You can start working on “emptying” the winter melon. Start by slicing the top straight across, these beautiful parts can be used in your soup (less skin). Using a sharp, thin, knife, cut about 1 inch away from the edge and completely remove all the middle. You can discard the seeds first and keep the flesh to be added back into the soup. Go deep and leave about 1-inch from the bottom, you’ll have to be careful here and just eyeball it. Try really hard not to puncture the winter melon!  Using any parts of the leftover winter melon, cube that into the same size as the mushrooms. This will be used for your soup later.

Same with your meats. Cube the raw shrimp and raw pork. After this, you can mix them together with a bit of salt, oil and corn starch, in preparation for frying.  In a pot, add a tiny bit of oil and pan fry the dried shrimp and conpoy. This makes the fragrance and all the flavours are ready to come out in the soup. In Cantonese, there’s a term called “exploding the fragrance” of the ingredients.

When cooked for about 3 minutes on medium-high heat, throw in the raw shrimp and pork and stir that around a little bit for another 5 minutes.

You will then have a beautiful and very fragrant medley of your meats for the soup. Good enough to just eat on its own – for sure! But don’t!! You need it for the soup!

Here’s where it gets tricky. I made a giant pot of soup – so much that it doesn’t fit into the winter melon, which is OK, because you can still drink the quick boil as a quick boil soup any way. I used 1 part chicken broth and 2 parts water – this is because I don’t like soup too salty, and you can always add more salt or chicken broth after.
So now, throw everything into your pot. The broth and the straw mushrooms (which are also diced) and the diced winter melon.

Let that boil on medium heat for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in your double-boiler, set it up so that you have a the winter melon sitting on a metal low dish (to catch any soup just in case) and add hot water to the outside double-boiler.

Once it’s set up, you can turn up the flame to a medium-high to get the water boiling. Once your other quick boil soup is read, scoop in generous amounts of the meats and “stuff” (fill about half) and then fill the rest with the soup. It won’t all fill, but tis is life sometimes!

The idea is that the heat will soften the winter melon bowl and the flavours of the soup will just seep into the flesh and make it so deliciously yummy! Boil on a medium heat for about 30 minutes, or until you see that the winter melon has softened and turned translucent. This means, it’s ready!

Finally, serve! Use a hardy soup ladle and scoop the soup meats, the soup itself and don’t forget to go for the outer winter melon flesh – that’s why it’s cooked in the double-boiler!

This was one awesome soup and I was super proud that it was a huge success on my first attempt! I’ve also had requests to try it with a larger winter melon, so that will be my next project. There are so many variations you can make on the soup though, like including Chinese preserved ham, ham, go vegetarian?, carrots, onions – whatever!

What’s involved?

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 30 mins pre-boil on soup + 2 hours in double-boiler (or until the whole outer melon softens)

Total time: 3 hours and 30 minutes

Serves: 4-5 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 small whole winter melon (that has to fit in your double-boil pot) – emptied and cube the flesh
  • 7 fresh shrimp, beheaded and peeled
  • 1/2 pound of fresh pork
  • 5 dried conpoys (or scallops)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried shrimp
  • 10 small dried Chinese mushrooms
  • 5 fresh straw mushrooms
  • salt (for taste as needed)
  • oil (for frying the ingredients first)
  • cornstarch (to thicken the soup as needed)

Cooking Instructions

  1. Soak your dried Chinese ingredients in warm water for 10-15 minutes (Chinese mushrooms, conpoys, shrimp)
  2. Empty out the middle of your winter melon – keeping in completely intact with the exception of the top. Keep to 1-inch of melon left from the edge. Throw away the seeds.
  3. Cut all your ingredients into cubes – Chinese mushrooms (removing the stems), straw mushrooms, any left over winter melon, fresh shrimp, fresh pork
  4. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, cornstarch and oil to your fresh shrimp and pork and mix
  5. In a pot, add a tiny bit of oil and fry (drain water) the dried conpoy and dried shrimp for 5 minutes on medium heat
  6. Throw in the raw shrimp and pork and fry for another 5 minutes
  7. Keep on medium heat, add in 1 part chicken broth and 2 parts boiling water
  8. Add in the remaining winter melon flesh and straw mushrooms
  9. Boil on medium for 30 minutes
  10. In your double-boiler, raise your winter melon (in a metal deep dish) and add hot water.
  11. Once your soup boils, scoop in enough stuff and soup to fill the winter melon.
  12. Boil on medium high for 30 minutes – or until the winter melon flesh is translucent.
  13. Serve all, including scooping the winter melon flesh and enjoy

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Did you know that wontons literally means “cloud swallow” in Cantonese?  These little delights are like clouds and bite-sized enough to be swallowed in one gulp!

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What I’ve done here is used a “cheat”  chicken broth where I’m using a chicken stock as a base, but flavoring it a bit more with some additional ingredients.  A great use of veggie scraps sometimes in these cases.

And one of a Chinese Soup Chef’s best friend, the soup bag is used here.  I highly recommend getting a few at home.  Be sure to wash and boil first before usage.  Since they are made of cotton, you can throw them in the wash as well or wash by hand.  They keep EVERYTHING in, including onion skins, seeds, flower petals, fish bones, the works.  Instead of straining, just use one of these which you can just drop into your soup and voila!  easy to remove ingredients.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 45 mins

Cook time (broth): 30 mins

Cook time (wontons): 10 mins

Total time: 1 hour 30 mins

Makes: 50 wontons

Equipment needed:

Ingredients (for cheat chicken broth):

  • 500 mL of chicken broth

  • 1 L of cold water
  • 1-2 pieces of star anise
  • 5 dried scallops
  • 5 dried longans
  • 1 whole garlic
  • 1 whole fresh onion
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 leek

Ingredients (for wontons):

  • 500g of ground chicken

  • 6-7 fresh shrimp, deveined and diced

  • 20 bunches of fresh chives, diced

  • 3 bunches of fresh green onions, diced

  • 1 tablespoon diced garlic

  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce

  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon of white pepper

  • 1 teaspoon of cooking wine

  • sesame oil to taste

  • 50 wonton skins

Cooking Instructions

  1. Begin to boil your chicken broth in your soup pot
  2. Chop up the soup “cheat”  ingredients and put them all into the soup bag
  3. Add directly to your chicken broth and boil on medium heat for 30 minutes
  4. For the wontons, mix in ground chicken, diced shrimp and all the seasoning together
  5. Chop up the chives and fresh green onions and add them in
  6. Mix well together until the meat creates strands (it should be pretty sticky)
  7. Put a small amount of meat into the middle of your wonton and using your finger, wet all around the edges and fold as you’d like (there are so many techniques out there, I just like to squish it at the top to form a little package)
  8. Wrap them all as to ensure the wonton skins don’t dry out
  9. Remove the soup bag from your soup, ensuring there’s nothing remaining in the soup
  10. Add in 10-15 wontons.  This should bring the soup down from a boil.  
  11. Once the soup begins to boil, add in 200mL of water to reduce the temperature.  This will keep the wontons whole and not boiled and destroyed in the voracity of the boil.  Do this 2 additional times meaning, when it boils again, add 100mL of water.  I know this will dilute the soup somewhat, so you can also do this in a separate pot of water or add more chicken broth.
  12. Once it begins to boil the 3rd time around.  Strain out, scoop some soup, garnish and serve!

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