Quick Boil Hairy Gourd, Bamboo and Chicken Soup

Soup Name: Quick Boil Hairy Gourd, Bamboo and Chicken Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 节瓜竹筍雞肉湯 ( jié guā zhú sǔn ji ròu tāng)


To follow other quick boil soups we’ve made recently, here’s another quick soup idea.   Although this soup can be made the traditional way (with a whole chicken and fresh bamboo), if you’re in a hurry, we can suggest some short-cuts, too.  Use chicken pieces to replace the whole chicken and canned bamboo to replace fresh bamboo and you can have a delicious and nutritious soup ready in about 30 minutes — perfect after a long day at work or if the kids are hungry.   Bump up the nutrition levels and the color by adding carrots or corn to your soup.

What ingredients are required?

1  pound of chicken pieces
1 large hairy gourd (a.k.a fuzzy melon)
2 large fresh bamboo shoots, cut into slices (or canned)
2 large carrots (peeled and cut into pieces)
1 L of chicken broth/stock
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Pour water and chicken broth together into a large pot and turn on high heat to boil
  2. Wash, peel and slice the hairy gourd into edible pieces
  3. Wash, peel and cut carrots into pieces
  4. Prepare bamboo and cut into slices
  5. When the water boils, add all the ingredients together
  6. Boil on high for 30 minutes
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Removes heat from the body and is mildly cooling
  • Bamboo shoots are an excellent source of fiber, potassium and are high in antioxidants
  • Easy soup to make that is tasty and the winter melon absorbs the flavor of the meat and broth making it very tasty to eat
  • You can substitute the chicken stock with water, but add some salt for flavoring
  • A child-friendly soup

Any precautions?

  • Too much bamboo may be hard to digest (due to the high fiber content)

Bamboo Shoots (Fresh)

Ingredient Name: Bamboo Shoots (Fresh)

Traditional Chinese Name: 竹筍 (zhú sǔn)

What is this?

  • Fresh bamboo shoots are new growth harvested from the bamboo plant when shoots are around 2 weeks old
  • They have a hard exterior and a tender, edible core that has a slightly crunchy, spongy texture and a slightly sweet taste
  • If bought fresh, they need to be carefully prepared, boiled and peeled before eating
  • Fresh bamboo shoots are very popular in Asian dishes

How do I prepare it?

  • Wash the exterior of the plant and cut off the top pointy end
  • Using a sharp knife, carefully cut a vertical slice halfway into the plant and about 1/3 down from the top
  • Place the bamboo into a large pot and cover completely with cool water
  • Boil for 30 minutes with a handful or nuka (rice bran) and simmer another 1 hour to remove most of the bitter taste
  • Turn off the heat and leave in the hot water overnight (optional – to remove excess bitterness)
  • Once cool enough to handle, peel the tough exterior (scrape with your knife to ensure you remove all the hard pieces)
  • Cut in half, slice and enjoy!

Where can I buy this?

  • Fresh bamboo shoots are readily available in most wet markets in Asia
  • It may also be available in your local Asian supermarkets
  • If you are unable to find the fresh variety, bamboo shoots can also be purchased either pre-boiled or canned

What is the cost

  • Fresh bamboo is fairly inexpensive and it cost me about $5 CAD for 3 shoots

Any benefits?

  • Bamboo shoots are low in fat and calories and high in potassium and fiber, helping to lower cholesterol and prevent colon cancer
  • There are also a variety of amino acids and other minerals in bamboo shoots.  It is a good source of selenium.
  • Bamboo are also said to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and are believed to help treat infections

Any precautions?

  • Ensure your fresh bamboo shoots are well cooked.  If they are not properly cooked, they may be bitter to taste.  In addition, bamboo shoots contain some toxic properties that disappear once cooked thoroughly.

 Additional Information

  • If you are not using the cooked bamboo right away, cover with cold water and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.



Bamboo (Dried)

Ingredient Name: Bamboo (dried), dried bamboo sticks

Chinese Name: 竹 (Zhú)

Dried bamboo is not a common ingredient found in Chinese soups.  You will more often find cooked and edible bamboo in stews, dishes, soups and dim sum.

What is this?
  • A type of perennial evergreens in the true grass family
  • Used in Asia and South East Asia as a food source, building material or a raw product
  • Tall, flexible plants that grow to various heights depending on the breed of bamboo
  • The edible portions are normally the shoots (newly coming out of the ground) and found in dishes, stews and soups
  • The dried bamboos are not often used in an edible format, but used to boil drinks, soups etc….

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse dried bamboo in warm water

Where can I buy this?

  • Available in fresh marts in Hong Kong
  • Also sometimes available your at your herbalist

What is the cost?

  • A bag as picture above cost around $5 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Has a naturally sweet taste and is a low-calorie source for potassium
  • Used in Chinese medicine to treat infections and helps with healing

Any precautions?

  • Dried bamboo are not edible – so be sure to properly strain your herbal teas or drinks

Any substitutes?

  • Sugar cane is a good substitute for dried bamboo (especially when boiling drinks or herbal teas)