This is a variation on a restaurant-styled spinach soup I had at a Chinese restaurant. In their version, the spinach was less dense and more coarse and it was called a “gung” in Cantonese – meaning a thick stew type of soup. I wanted something lighter, healthier for the kids and lighter on the corn starch, so kind of made this up. It turned out to be delicious and the water chestnuts added a refreshing and crunchy texture that I loved! For the vegetarian version, use vegetable broth instead.
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.
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 6 servings
1 large slice of winter melon, 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
Start boiling your soup water
Wash the winter melon skin and then peel the skin off the winter melon and cube the remaining winter melon flesh
Rinse the beef and fish balls in warm water
When the water boils, throw all the ingredients together
Traditional Chinese Name: 冬瓜雞腳湯 (dōng guā jī jiǎo tāng)
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)
Soak the gingo biloba and lotus seed in warm water for 10 minutes
Rinse and cut off the nails on your chicken feet
In a small pot of boiling water, blanch your chicken feet for 5 minutes
Remove chicken feet from boiling water, strain and set aside
Boil your soup water
When the soup boils, throw all the ingredients together
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)
Serve and enjoy!
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
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!)
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!).
Bok choy is the cooling ingredient in this soup. It’s one of the cooler ingredients relative to its cabbage cousins and targets the stomach and large intestines. It’s also a great for clearing excess water and detoxifying the body, including aiding in digestion.
Dried bok choy is more salty (and even sweet) relative to it’s fresh counterpart. It’s actually super tasty and they have the same properties (even when dried!).
Waste not! Want not! I’ve used the remains of a roasted piglet (from a banquet) to make a delicious watercress and chestnut soup. Usually, people don’t eat the head, feet and tail of the roasted piglet, so I took home the head! It creates a very rich, delicious broth and great as a soup base for almost any ingredients.
My vegetable vendor suggested watercress because of the recent change in weather and everyone was getting sore throats and was heaty.
Well, actually that’s because my sister is going through confinement, so all we eat is ginger pork feet and it sets our body on fire! Combined together with the roasted piglet head are chestnuts and dried scallops to bring a tang of sweetness to the already salty soup base. There are plenty of things around the house you can find as leftover for soups!
This soup is naturally flavored (slightly salty from the roasted piglet)
It is a great cooling soup for sore throats, heaty bodies and cold-sore ridden mouths (or acne)
Really, no additives needed (salt or sugar)
Great for kids
The watercress can be eaten as cooked veggies, so scoop more with the soup (or some people like to scoop it all out and serve it as a separate dish)
Soup Name: Bitter Melon and Preserved Sour Vegetable Soup (in Pork Broth)
Traditional Chinese Name: 苦瓜酸菜湯 (Kǔ guā suan cai tāng)
This soup is a delight of two tastes. The first is an appetizing sour taste and it finished off with a golden, rich, bitterness. It’s a unique soup that is designed for the bridging season of Summer and Autumn and helps cool the body and aid in digestion. If you like it more sour, you can add more preserved sour vegetable and if you like it more bitter, then more bitter melon. This soup also doesn’t really need salt as the preserved veggies are already salted.