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 Winter Melon, Mushrooms with Corn in Chicken Broth

Quick Boil Winter Melon Soup

Quick Boil Winter Melon Soup

 

This is the start of the “Quick Boil Series” of soups.  It was requested by a friend who wanted to know how to make healthy, but quick soups for those busy-body people.  In general, quick boil soups take around 10 minutes to prepare and about 25-30 minutes to boil and contain easy-to-find, supermarket type ingredients that are readily available so not a lot of planning is required.  This is one of my favourite quick boil soups – the winter melon. To start, quick boil soups usually require smaller cuts of vegetables or meats (so that they soften quicker and you can extract the flavours more quickly). The winter melon is a classic example of boiling it for around 30 minutes and you’ll find the flesh has become translucent and soft and edible. It’s simply delicious, suitable for the whole family and super easy to make!

Soup Name: Quick Boil Winter Melon, Mushrooms with Corn in Chicken Broth

Traditional Chinese Name:  冬瓜冬菇 玉米 雞熬湯(dōng guā dōng gū yù mǐ jī Áo tāng)

To see the full recipe, scroll down to skip my commentary.

What you’ll need in the simplest of terms are: dried Chinese mushrooms, a handful of dried conpoys (or scallops), a slice of winter melon, fresh corn, chicken breast and either chicken broth or chicken broth powder. To be honest with you, I don’t really measure or scientifically size the ingredients, I just put whatever amount I feel like depending on what I like to eat – which is more corn and more winter melon, so just go with what you like. It is, after all, your soup.

Start with soaking the mushrooms and dried conpoys. You’ll need a good 5 minutes to get the mushroom stems nice and soft, so for those who don’t eat them or prefer not to eat them, you can cut them off and then quarter or slice the mushrooms thinly. I keep these mushrooms in the freezer and they have been there for 6 months plus and are still great!

Chinese mushrooms ready for soup!

Chinese mushrooms ready for soup!

Mushrooms soaking in prep for quick boil soup

Mushrooms soaking in prep for quick boil soup

 

During this time, you can begin to boil your soup water. For a family of four, I used about 3 L of water and had plenty to go around. You can then begin to peel and slice your winter melon. In normal old fire Chinese soups, I would keep the skin on, but for quick boils, I would recommend removing the skin. This way, the winter melon softens much quicker, but you can add the skin into the soup for flavour.  The winter melons are normally sold like this (if they are the large ones). The vendors or supermarket will already pre-slice them for you, so simply shave the skin off lying it flat on one side.

Winter Melon

Winter Melon

After that, cube the winter melon so they are literally bite-sized. This makes them quicker to soften and cook and also, easier to eat!

cubed winter melon for soup

cubed winter melon for soup

The next things to do are slice the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces as well. Keep them cubed and consistent with the size of the winter melons. No real reason other than the fact that it’s symmetrically similar and will also cook faster. You can also slice your mushrooms into cubes or into thin slices as pictured below. Similarly, bite-sized for ease of cooking.

Sliced Chinese mushrooms ready for soup

Sliced Chinese mushrooms ready for soup

Same for the corn. The smaller the cut of the corn, the quicker it will cook and consistently “small” with the rest of the soup ingredients. In this case, I quartered them.

Fresh corn ready for soup

Fresh corn ready for soup

Once the water boils, throw all the ingredients together. People do ask me why I use boiling water in so many of my soup recipes, it’s because the immediate contact with heat cooks the meat or vegetables faster and prevents too much slow breakdown of the meat overtime and you’re able to save time by boiling it in parts.

Throwing all the ingredients together

Throwing all the ingredients together

 

Boil on high heat until it really comes to a big boil again – which should be about 5 minutes. Once it’s boiling, reduce heat to a medium boil – but leave it covered (in order to maintain some pressure in the pot) for another 20 minutes. At this time, I will add either half a cup of chicken stock or 1 teaspoon of powdered chicken bouillon. This way, enough time has passed for the flavours of the ingredients to come out and you can taste how much you want to further season the soup. Don’t forget to taste it along the way! You’ll know it’s close to being done with the chicken breast has turned complete white and opaque and your winter melon is a nice translucent colour.

 

Quick boil winter melon soup

Quick boil winter melon soup

Serve and enjoy! Don’t forget to scoop out the delicious ingredients to eat as part of your hearty soup.

Quick boil winter melon soup

Quick boil winter melon soup

 

Quick Boil Winter Melon, Mushrooms with Corn in Chicken Broth
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 bowls
Ingredients
  • 2 medium-sized chicken breasts, bite-sized cubed
  • 1 2-inch thick slice of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/winter-melon/” title=”fresh winter melon”]winter melon[/url], skinned and bite-sized cubed
  • 2 fresh [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/corn/” title=”Fresh corn”]corn[/url], quartered
  • 7-8 dried [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chinese-mushrooms/” title=”dried Chinese mushrooms”]Chinese mushrooms[/url], sliced thinly
  • 5 pieces of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/scallops-dried-conpoy/” title=”Dried conpoy”]dried conpoy[/url]
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered chicken bouillon
  • 3 L of water
Instructions
  1. Being by soaking Chinese mushrooms in warm water for 5 minutes
  2. Start to boil your soup water
  3. Cube chicken breast
  4. Slice and cube winter melon – don’t throw away the skin (use it in the soup)
  5. Quarter corn
  6. Drain mushrooms and remove the stems with a knife of scissors and slice thinly
  7. When your soup water boils, throw all your cut ingredients into the soup (add the bouillon last)
  8. Boil on high for 5 minutes
  9. Reduce boil to a medium-boil for another 20 minutes
  10. Taste and add chicken bouillon (try 1 teaspoon first)
  11. Boil for another 5 minutes
  12. Serve and enjoy!

 

I personally love winter melon, especially when it’s softened and melts in your mouth! A great quick boil soup for any newbie or professional soup chef. Enjoy and thank you!

Chinese Radish, Carrots and Corn in Ham Bone Soup

Chinese Radish Corn and Carrots with Ham Bone

Chinese Radish Corn and Carrots with Ham Bone

Waste not, want not! Another satisfyingly delicious soup made with a left over ham bone (German-style from Berliner). All it takes is ONE BONE and it creates a very fragrant and amazing soup base for which to add any fresh vegetables or ingredients. Literally, no salt needed. I added my children’s favourites (they love the soup, but don’t really know what’s in it!), and as usual, included the corn as part of the meal. Don’t wash the ham bone, don’t rinse it, don’t do anything except throw it into your soup! You want it keep it tasting like it did from the restaurant and transfer all of that wonderful taste directly to the soup.

Soup Name: Chinese Radish, Carrots and Corn in Ham Bone Broth

Traditional Chinese Name:  青紅蘿蔔玉米湯 (qing hóng luóbo yù mǐ tāng)

 

Chinese Radish, Carrots and Corn in Ham Bone Soup
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese Soup
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 half-eaten, barely finished Ham Bone (from any restaurant) – don’t wash it!
  • 3 fresh [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/carrots/”]carrots[/url], chopped into large pieces
  • 2 fresh [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/corn/”]corn[/url], quartered
  • 1 fresh [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chinese-radish/”]Chinese / Green Radish[/url], chopped into large pieces
  • 3 L of water
Instructions
  1. Start boiling your soup water.
  2. Prepare all the vegetables.
  3. Once the water boils, throw everything in together (including the bone)
  4. Boil on medium heat for 30 minutes
  5. Reduce to a low boil for another hour (or put for one hour in a thermal pot)
  6. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

Winter Melon and Beef and Fish Balls Soup

 

Another simple soup with a few ingredients you can pick up at your local grocery or wet mart. The winter melon is usually more readily available during the warmer months in HK, but beef and fish balls are in season all the time (yah, in the frozen section of your friendly supermarket). Use the simplest balls, that being beef and fish balls without any surprises on the inside (Taiwanese styled fish balls usually have exploding surprises, so avoid these). The flavors of the balls (mainly salt and whatever other marinades they use) will seep out and make your soup tasty, so don’t add salt unless you’ve tried it first. You can make this soup in about thirty minutes by simply throwing all the ingredients together. In this case, I separated the peel from the flesh so that the melon could soften quicker. In “old fire” wintermelon soups, I will keep the peel attached – but this is really up to personal preference.

Soup Name: Winter Melon and Beef and Fish Balls Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:  冬瓜湯 (dōng guā tāng)

 

Winter Melon and Beef and Fish Balls Soup
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese Soup
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 large slice of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/winter-melon/”]winter melon[/url], sliced with skin off (but the peel is also boiled as part of the soup)
  • 10 precooked beef balls
  • 10 precooked fish balls
  • 2 L of water
Instructions
  1. Start boiling your soup water
  2. Wash the winter melon skin and then peel the skin off the winter melon and cube the remaining winter melon flesh
  3. Rinse the beef and fish balls in warm water
  4. When the water boils, throw all the ingredients together
  5. Boil on high for 30 minutes
  6. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
[b]Any benefits?[/b][br][br]Excellent soup for children, especially during the heaty months[br]Winter melons are known to remove heatiness and helps detoxify the body[br]It is ideal in removing phelgm from the lungs[br]It is also particularly effective in regulating blood sugar levels[br][br][b]Any precautions?[/b][br][br]Like most melons, they will sour the soup the longer you keep it, so try to consume all of it in one day[br]Since it is a cooling food, it should be carefully consumed if pregnant (less than 3 months into term) or menstruating (can cause contractions)

 

Chicken Feet and Wintermelon Soup

Soup Name: Chicken Feet and Wintermelon Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:  冬瓜雞腳湯 (dōng guā jī jiǎo tāng)

Introduction:
The feet of the chicken are one of the Chinese’s most interesting “unwanted” parts of the chicken (after the bottom parts). It’s so versatile that the Chinese use chicken feet in soups, stews, dim sum and other dishes. I remember back in the days when I was a young lad that my parents would go to the Western super markets and get chicken feet by the bags for a whole dollar. It’s definitely not as cheap anymore because of the influx of demanding chicken feet eaters, but still an affordable, tasty and collagen packed ingredient. This wintermelon soup is simple to make and if you’re a single gal (or guy) you can make it in a one person pot. My husband really liked this soup and gobbled all the feet. Thanks for the clean up job, sweetie!

 

Amount serves: 5-6 large soup bowls (around 300 mL each)

What Ingredients are required?

10 fresh (or frozen) chicken feet
3 fresh corn, quartered
1 large slice of wintermelon, sliced with skin on
70g fresh gingo biloba
70g dried lotus seeds
1 slice of ginger
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak the gingo biloba and lotus seed in warm water for 10 minutes
  2. Rinse and cut off the nails on your chicken feet
  3. In a small pot of boiling water, blanch your chicken feet for 5 minutes
  4. Remove chicken feet from boiling water, strain and set aside
  5. Boil your soup water
  6. When the soup boils, throw all the ingredients together
  7. Boil on high (covered) for 30 minutes, reduce to a medium boil for another 30 minutes (you can continue to boil or use a thermal cooker to keep it hot, as some people love their chicken feet super soft)
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • This soup is excellent for cooling down the body and heat from hot summer days
  • Chicken feet is an excellent source of collagen and is low in fat

Any precautions?

  • Women in their first trimester of pregnancy should avoid as it is an extremely cooling soup and may cause contractions (you can add more ginger slices to “heat” up the soup)
  • Melon soups are best consumed within same day as keeping melon soups overnight or over an extended period will make the melons sour (and so will your soup!)

Similar soups:

Dried and Fresh Bok Choy in Pork Broth

Soup Name: Dried and Fresh Bok Choy in Pork Broth

Traditional Chinese Name:  菜乾白菜湯 (cài gān bái cài tāng)

Introduction:
This cooling soup is really sweet and delicious! With a combination of dried and fresh bok choy, it’s a basic soup with minimal ingredients. You can adjust the “coolness” of the soup by adding more or less ginger, but it’s great to help fight off fever, a heaty body, an inflamed tongue, a mouth full of cold sores or canker sores. Really, no salt needed – just be sure to rinse and wash the dried bok choy super well, or you’ll have lots of added protein (the little flies that always seem to be embedded during the curing process!).



Amount serves: 5-6 large soup bowls (around 300 mL each)

What Ingredients are required?

500 g of fresh pork shank
100 g of fresh bok choy
50 g of dried bok choy
6 large dried dates
3 slices of fresh ginger
20 g of apricot kernals

2-3 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Blanch the pork shank in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Soak the dried bok choy in warm water for 15 minutes
  3. Rinse the dried bok choy in running water 2-3 times (to remove the dried bugs that get embedded during the curing process)
  4. Boil you soup water
  5. When the water boils, add all the ingredients together
  6. Boil on high for about 30 minutes and set to medium boil (covered) for another hour
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Help relieve heatiness in the body
  • Helps cool the body in the hot days
  • This soup is beneficial to help moisten, heal and cleanse the lungs
  • It’s a good base soup (to add carrots and corn and other vegetables)
  • You can use any combination of the bok choys (if you have more dried, use dried or if you can’t find any fresh bok choy)
  • Excellent high fiber soup and low in fat and calories
  • Both dried and fresh bok choy are high in Vitamin C and rich in antioxidants (which help prevent and slow the aging process)

Any precautions?

  • Not ideal for those in confinement or the first trimester of their pregnancy (as the soup is cooling and can cause contractions)
  • Be sure to thoroughly rinse both the dried and fresh bok choy (to remove pesticides, dirt and bugs)