Spring Chayotes and Figs in Pork Broth

Spring Chayotes and Figs in Pork Broth

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!

 

Soup Name: Spring Chayotes and Figs in Pork Broth

Traditional Chinese Name:  合掌瓜豬展湯 (hup jeung gwa zhū zhǎn tāng)

 

Spring Chayotes and Figs in Pork Broth
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese Soup
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/pork-shank/”]fresh pork shank[/url], cut and blanched
  • 3 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chayote/”]fresh chayotes[/url], largely cubed with skin
  • 5 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/string-figs-dried/”]dried figs[/url]
  • 5 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/large-dried-dates/”]dried honey dates[/url]
  • 30 g [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/apricot-kernals/”]apricot kernals[/url]
  • 30 g [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/lily-bulbs/”]dried lily bulbs[/url]
  • 40 g [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/lotus-seed/”]dried lotus seeds[/url]
  • 40 g of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/fu-ling-or-tuckahoe/”]dried fu ling (or tuckahoe)[/url]
  • 2-3 L of water
  • salt to taste
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!
Notes
[b]Any benefits?[/b][br][br]The combination of chayotes and figs help relieve wetness from the body as chayotes are diuretic.[br]The soup is high in potassium (which help remove water from the body).[br]Chayotes are often used in cleansing diets or used as the season changes to help cleanse the body.[br]Chayotes are rich in amino acids.[br]The soup is good for removing damp heat (from the fu ling).[br][br][b]Any precautions?[/b][br][br]Add the figs into the soup while it’s cold or it will turn the soup sour if you add it in hot. I have never tried it, but this is what both my mother and my herbalist tell me![br]Most melon soups, chayotes included, will sour the day after, so consume the soup that day.

 

This is the base of the soup. Just add chayotes and any type of meat (either pork, chicken or fish).

Dried Herbs for Chinese Soup

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

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)

Introduction:

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 conpoy almost. A naturally delicious soup for the whole family.

What ingredients are required?

1 fresh chicken, quartered
1 whole dried octopus, sliced
10-12 dried baby mussels
2 section of lotus roots, sliced
1 peel of dried tangerine peel
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  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!

Any benefits?

  • Neutral soup that is ideal for the whole family
  • No salt required as the preparation of the octopus and mussels already provide 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

Similar soups:

 

Vegetarian Pumpkin and Bean Soup

Soup Name: Vegetarian Pumpkin and Bean Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 七色素湯 (Qīsè sù tāng)

Introduction:

A bean-filled vegetarian soup that packs a punch in proteins.  With seven different types of “beans”, it is a hearty meal that is easy to make and light to drink.  By adding a Japanese pumpkin, it makes it slightly sweet and refreshing.  The soup itself is very clear and slightly sweet.  You can also add other vegetables such as corn, carrots, and onions to make it an even heartier broth.

What ingredients are required?

1 whole Japanese pumpkin, largely sliced with skin
20 g white kidney beans
30 g red/white multi-colored kidney beans
40 g red kidney beans
40 g black-eyed beans
40 g dried chickpeas
40 g black beans

40 g yellow beans
5-6 dried Chinese mushrooms
2-3 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak all the beans, chickpeas and Chinese mushrooms in water for at least 5 hours
  2. Pour out the water in which the beans soak and rinse with fresh water
  3. Boil your soup water
  4. Wash and half Japanese pumpkin, removing seeds and inner membrane
  5. Slice into large pieces while keeping the skin (it keeps the pumpkin meat intact while the soup boils and prevents it from disintegrating)
  6. When you soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
  7. Boil on high for 30 minutes and reduce to a simmer boil for another 1 hour
  8. Serve and enjoy!  Be sure to also eat the contents as its very healthy!

Any benefits?

  • This soup is naturally sweet and high in beta-carotene
  • Soup is low in fat and high in proteins
  • Excellent source of dietary fibers
  • The beans are great for absorbing moisture and are perfect for the wet spring season

Any precautions?

  • Soak the beans in water for at least 5 hours before usage (and discard soaked water) – rinse beans with fresh water before usage
  • Boil in water at least 100 °C for at least 10 minutes before consumption as raw/uncooked red kidney beans are toxic

Dried Beans

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)

Introduction:
A great soup for nourishing the lungs, helping with coughs and reducing phlegm.  It is also ideal in the wet, stuffy spring season to remove excess moisture from the body.

1 fresh whole chicken
10 fresh chicken feet
1 peel of dried tangerine peel
1 pound of smilax root
1 arrowroot
10-15 fresh water chestnuts

How do I prepare it?

  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 hours
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Excellent soup for removing moisture from the body (especially during the Spring)
  • Ideal for relieving cough symptoms and removing phlegm
  • Helps remove some heatiness

Any precautions?

  • Considered a mildly cooling soup, so women who are less than 3 months pregnant should take caution
  • Smilax root must be blanched in boiling water thoroughly clean them