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

Black Silkie Chicken with Vegetables and Chestnuts

Soup Name: Black Silkie Chicken with Vegetables and Chestnuts

Traditional Chinese Name:  黑雞蘿蔔玉米栗子湯 (hēi jī luó bo yù mǐ lì zǐ tāng)

Introduction:
Black silkie chickens aren’t the most appealing animals to look at, but it can really pack a delicious punch to soups. I usually boil the chicken with the skin on and will eat the chicken as part of the soup. The meat is silky, tender and delicious. You can treat this like normal chicken, adding the same ingredients as other chicken soups. The black silkie chicken isn’t always available and costs slightly more (about 30-50% more) than your average chicken (of the same size). Black silkie chickens tend to be smaller in size as well. The soup I made here is my simple vegetable soup (with any type of meat). Corn and carrots are naturally sweet already and because I love the soft, melted texture of the boiled onion, I throw that in as well (and the kids don’t really taste it).

Amount serves: 4 servings (around 250 mL each)

What Ingredients are required?

1 whole fresh black silkie chicken, quartered (with skin and innards)
20 fresh chestnuts, peeled
2 whole corn, halved
2 whole carrots, sliced
2 fresh white onions, halved
10 dried scallops (conpoys)

3 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak your conpoy in warm water for about 10 minutes.
  2. Boil a medium pot of water (for the chestnuts). When the water boils, add in the chestnuts to boil for 5 minutes.
  3. If you can, immediately peel the chestnuts (as its easiest to peel when it’s still hot). Set aside.
  4. Empty the water and boil a new pot to blanch the chicken (including the innards).
  5. Boil your soup water and prepare the vegetables.
  6. Once your soup water boils, add all the ingredients together.
  7. Boil on high heat for 30 minutes and reduce to a medium simmer for another hour.
  8. Salt as needed, serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • This soup is lean in fat and high in protein. The meat of the silkie chicken is very tasty and the chicken itself is usually skinnier and has less fat than of its white counterpart
  • The silkie chicken soup base is great to freeze and use later (by adding fresh vegetables or fruits)
  • This soup is ideal for children (and the whole family)
  • You can add literally any vegetables with the black silkie chicken

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw chicken meat

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)

Macaroni with Fish and Lobster Balls in Fish Broth

Dish Name: Macaroni with Fish and Lobster Balls in Fish Broth

Introduction:

Using the broth and ingredients of my “Pumpkin, Corn and Chinese Yam in Fish Soup“, we boiled macaroni and various “balls” (regular fish balls, deep fried fish balls, star fish balls, lobster balls, and exploding fish egg balls) and served up lunch. The great thing with making soup in the early morning is that you can serve it at lunch (in disguise) and dinner. I separate the lunch soup into a separate pot and add the “ball” ingredients (because that really makes it more salty) and I like keeping the dinner soup more natural (or “ching” in Cantonese).

 

What Ingredients are required?

Serve 4-5 people

1 L any soup base in the soup repetoire (use the less herbal ones)
20 “balls” of any type of fish, beef, lobster balls
3 cups of any type of noodles or macaroni
How do I prepare it?

  1. Boil your water to cook either macaroni or noodles
  2. Add 1 tsp of salt
  3. Add in macaroni and noodles and boil until soft (or desired softness)
  4. Rinse under cool water and set aside
  5. After your soup is boiled, take about 1L and put in a separate pot
  6. Add all the balls and boil on high heat for 10 mins
  7. Add macaroni or noodles to a bowl and scoop out as much soup and balls as desired
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • This soup serves as a great base for noodles or macaroni
  • It is very low in fat
  • A neutral soup that is ideal for the whole family
  • All the ingredients can be consumed

Any precautions?

  • Be careful of bones on the fish fillet if eating as a meal
  • The “balls” are usually salty in nature, so be sure to taste the soup first before adding salt
An assortment of “balls” for noodles and macaroni
Note: I bought the above assortment of balls from my wet mart and it cost around $50 HKD. The lobster balls were the most expensive, but some fish balls (esp the ones that come fresh and clumped together) can also be expensive.