Vegetarian Lotus Root with Chestnuts and Carrots Chinese Soup

Vegetarian Lotus Root with Chestnuts and Carrots Chinese Soup

Vegetarian Lotus Root with Chestnuts and Carrots Chinese Soup

Soup Name:

Vegetarian Lotus Root with Chestnuts and Carrots Chinese Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

蓮藕栗子素湯 (Lián’ǒu lìzǐ sù tāng)

 

This is a great, earthy, slightly nutty light soup great for the whole family and vegetarian friendly!

I’m using dried mushrooms to replace pork bones and trying to honour the flavour profile of the lotus roots and carrots.  Slightly sweet, slightly earthy, that hint of nuttiness, but in a light broth that’s savory and smooth.

You can explore more vegetarian substitutes for meats in Chinese soups and get creative!

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 2 hour and 30 mins

Total time: 2 hour and 45 mins

Serves: 8 bowls

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Pre-soak your dried Chinese shiitake mushrooms in a bowl for 2 hours until they soften
  2. Remove the stems from the mushrooms
  3. Prepare your soup water on high heat with the 2 L of cold water in your thermal soup pot
  4. In a shallow pan, add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and on medium heat, pan fry the mushrooms with a bit of salt until fragrant and slightly browned on both sides
  5. Wash & peel the lotus root, cutting into large pieces
  6. Wash, peel, and cut carrot into large cubes
  7. Wash, peel, and cut corn into large pieces 
  8. When the water boils, add all the ingredients together
  9. Boil on medium to high heat for 30 minutes
  10. You can continue to boil on low heat for another 2 hours or put into your thermal pot 
  11. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • A neutral soup ideal for the whole family
  • Better for dryer, cooler weather as chestnuts are known to be a little bit wet and warming in nature
  • A versatile soup where you can change it up a bit and add other vegetables such as Chinese Yam, chayotes, or potatoes
  • Be sure to buy good quality Chinese dried mushrooms

For videos, visit us on YouTube. 

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Using Amazing Substitutes for Meats in Vegetarian Chinese Soups

Using Amazing Substitutes for Meats in Vegetarian Chinese Soups

Using Amazing Substitutes for Meats in Vegetarian Chinese Soups

When you want to go meatless, but don’t want to trade off flavour!  

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

There are so many options when you want to replace meats in Chinese soups!  I try to keep the flavour profile of the soup without compromising it with the replacements.  I find vegetarian soups less oily, have more fiber, and provide a different offering to my soups!  I am able to venture into a more unique group of ingredients I don’t always traditionally use.

Some tips for Vegetarian Chinese Soups:

  • While you don’t need to blanch these ingredients, some do taste better if you pan fry it first (ie: soy products, mushrooms, even some vegetables such as potatoes)
  • Many vegetarian choices have great shelf life (dried mushrooms can last greater than 1 year, packaged nuts like chestnuts and peanuts can also last 3-6 months), although fresh peanuts last around 5 days in the fridge
  • Save your tummy as these ingredients eat like a meal
  • You can get creative to mix and match, or create your own!
  • Mushrooms have a rich, earthy, profile to the their taste, while nuts also have some earthy taste, but lighter
  • There are so many amazing fruits and vegetables available in the Asian repertoire such as gobo (or burdock root),  Japanese pumpkin, seabed coconuts, even normal coconuts can work!
  • Don’t forget to consider Chinese Herbs as replacements as well

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Double-boiled Korean Ginseng and Chicken Soup

Double-boiled Korean Ginseng and Chicken Soup

Double-boiled Korean Ginseng and Chicken Soup

I had to try my new double-boiling Chinese soup pot, so specifically sourced some nice Korean Ginseng ($100 HKD for 2 pieces) so I could make double-boiled ginseng soup with chicken (and pork). I love the genuine taste of Ginseng, it’s smooth and golden. And I love it in soups even more! Using the simplest of herbs, the soup takes a solid 3 hours in the double-boiler – but comes out rich, delicious and bursting full of flavours. Truly one of my favourite double-boiled goodies.

The benefits of ginseng and chicken soup are also numerous. Ginseng is usually described as “nourishing life” and the effects of the double-boiler, which maintains the soup at a lower heat without disturbing the ingredients physically, enable the flavours and efficacy of the ginger to permeate throughout the soup. The soup enhance immune functions and make body functions strong like the heart, lungs and spleen.

Soup Name

Double-boiled Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:  

人參雞湯 (rén sēn jī tāng)

 

For recipes and videos, visit us on YouTube.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 3 hours in double boiler

Total time: 3 hours and 15 mins 

Serves: 4-5 bowls

Ingredients

The ingredients include: Fresh Korean ginseng, pork, chicken, dried red dates, dried Chinese Yam, and dried longans. I used chicken drumsticks instead of a whole chicken (which is usually recommended). The constraints you’re working with include the size of your double-boiler. In most cases, double-boilers need to fit inside another pot, so unless you’re got a restaurant-sized soup pot, you are restricted to the size of your double-boiling pot to fit the ingredients.

 

To keep the soup as “skinny” as possible, I removed the skin and as much fat as I could. Then I chopped the drumsticks into 3’s so that I can compact the size of the ingredients to fit into the double-boiler. The same applied for the pork shank. I didn’t blanch the meat as both didn’t have that much fat and I rinsed them under cool water before throwing it into the soup to clean them.

Keep the herbs simple. A mixture of these will suffice. Actually, my herbalist even suggested to just use dried Chinese Yam and that’s it, but I liked a little bit of sweetness and wanted to balance the coolness of the ginseng with the heaty of the dried longans just a little. If you’re scared that it’s too cooling, throw in 1-2 slices of ginger to balance it out.

Start by boiling your soup water. To be honest, I am eye-balling everything, but I started with a half pot of water and decided that I could always add more water after fitting all the ingredients in. Once the water boils, throw in all the ingredients together and boil on high for about 30 minutes. This is still OUTSIDE of the double-boiler.

 

The point of boiling it outside is to make sure everything is boiling inside and sufficiently cooking and mixing and bringing out nice flavours. I then turn off the stove and let it cool enough to bring the double-boiler into the pot to really begin the double-boiling process. Once inside the double-boiling pot, you can top it off with boiling water to ensure it’s full (more soup) and fill the double-boiling outside pot with warm or slightly hot water. Boil the outside pot until it really boils and then reduce to a very, very, very small boil and keep it tightly covered.

Double-boil it for about 3 hours and when it’s done, the soup will be a rich, golden colour and smell delicious. The house permeates with this ginseng fragrance and it’s beautiful.

 

I recommend directly serving from the double-boiler to the bowl.  No salt is needed. Enjoy!!!

Variations to the soup can include using the black, silkie chicken instead. They are definitely smaller, so hopefully will fit – but in general, this soup is made with both chicken and pork. You can also change up some of the herbs to include maybe the large dried dates, Astragalus Root,  wolfberries, or Codonopsis Pilosula Root.

Cooking Instructions

  1. Boil 1 separate pot of water to blanch your protein
  2. You can also begin to boil your pot of soup water in the thermal pot with the 3L of cold water
  3. Prepare your chicken any way you’d like.  I tend to quarter it and reserve the breast for another meal, using only the legs and bones.
  4. In your blanching pot, drop in the chicken bones and meat into the boiling water and blanch for 5-6 minutes, or until the water re-boils.
  5. Slice the wintermelon into large pieces, keeping the skin on.
  6. Using gloves, peel the Chinese (or Japanese) Yam and cut into large 2-inch thick pieces
  7. Cut the gobo root into 2 inch long pieces, keeping the skin on
  8. When your soup water boils, transfer the meat, add in the dried herbal ingredients, and all the roots and wintermelon
  9. Boil on high for 30 minutes
  10. Transfer for a thermal pot for another 4 hours to let it finish cooking
  11. Serve and enjoy!

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

 

 

 

Chef tips:

  • Ceramic double boilers are the best, especially what you put the soup in.  You can use a metal outer double boiler, but ceramic or glass as best for boiling the soup

 

  • The Chinese double-boiled soups tend to have more than one protein (chicken + pork) as that really create the intense flavours that double-boiled soups are for

 

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Job’s Tears

Job’s Tears

Job’s Tears

Ingredient Name:

Job’s Tears, Coixseed, Chinese Pearl Barley, Adlay

Traditional Chinese Name:

薏仁 (yì rén)

For videos, visit us on YouTube.

 

  • Job’s tears come from a grain-bearing plant native to East Asia and currently cultivated in most parts of the world
  • It has a higher-than average protein to carbohydrate ratio than other grains
  • In Asia, they are used in a medicinal fashion
  • Some cultures also grind them down into a flour or use them to make beer
  • Although it is known as “Chinese pearl barley”, it is not a part of the barley family
  • When eaten, they have a warm, nutty, slightly sweet flavor
  • Job’s tears can also be used to make tea in some parts of Asia
  • A common ingredient used in soups that are made for the Spring season (to eliminate the wetness and extra moisture from the body)
  • There are 2 types of barley:  raw and fried, both are suitable for soups
  • Dried Job’s tears can be purchased at most Asian grocery stores and some supermarket

How do I prepare it?

          • Simply wash and put into your soups
          • Some people will pre-soak in them water first, but this is up to you.  I just rinse and drop them into my soup
          • I will usually use about 2 tablespoons worth

Any benefits?

  • According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, job’s tears can be used to treat internal dampness and damp-heat conditions, including disorders of the spleen, stomach, lungs, and large intestine.   Specifically, it is used to treat conditions such as rheumatism
  • Job’s tear are diuretic and used to promote urination and treat edema
  • Some believe job’s tears can be used to treat joint pain
  • It is also known as a mild sedative

Any precautions?

  • No significant precautions although consuming too much may lead to dehydration.

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Chinese Yam (Fresh)

Chinese Yam (Fresh)

Chinese Yam (Fresh)

Ingredient Name:

Fresh Chinese Yam, Nagaimo, Yamaimo, Japanese Mountain Yam,  Korean Yam, Dioscorea Opposita

Traditional Chinese Name:

淮山 (huái shān)

For videos, visit us on YouTube.

 

This is the fresh version of the Chinese Yam, which is a white long root with a brown outer skin.  When fresh, the Chinese Yam is usually a thick white root that narrows down and has an outer brownish-yellow skin and a white interior.  It is tasteless, produces no colour in the soup, and is one of the common Chinese Soup pantry ingredients.  It’s used in soups, stews, and sometimes even desserts!  There are a few variety of these types of Chinese Yams, including a fresh Japanese variant, which is just as yummy in soups.

When handling Japanese Yam, do wear gloves.  The Yam itself is slippery and produces a milky substance once you peel it.  The milky substance can also make your hands itchy, so I will always wear gloves when I’m handling this root.

The root itself is very neutral and great for both warming and cooling soups.  This root tends to absorb the flavour of the soup and is to be eaten as part of the meal if you like starchy foods.  If you do keep it too long in the soup though, it will disintegrate.  I will use both dried and fresh version of this in a lot of the soups here!  A great ingredient overall! 

How do I prepare it?

          • If you’re buying the fresh root, rinse with cool water first
          • Wearing gloves, you can peel the skin off and you’ll feel a slippery, white film from the root
          • Then rinse under running water to remove as much of the white film as possible before cutting
          • On a clean cutting board, I will cut these into large 2-inch cubes so they don’t disintegrate that easily into the soup

Any benefits?

      • It is often used in combination with meats and other Chinese herbs to help digestion and regular sugar levels
      • Traditionally it is used to relieve stomach pains and diarrhea
      • When boiled with chicken and a variety of other Chinese herbs, it is an ideal confinement soup as it helps control inflammation of the uterus

Any precautions?

  • For some people, touching raw Chinese Yam will make their hands itchy – be sure to wear gloves as you peel the skin, wash and prep the root
  • Excess consumption is known to cause frequent urination and perspiration

Example of how to prepare Chinese Yam in this soup video

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AN INTRODUCTION to YIN and YANG in OUR EVERYDAY SOUPS AND FOODYes, that ever so common Cantonese phrase "yeet hay"!  Well, did you know, that yeet hay actually means, excess yang?  Although sometimes, it could be mistaken as yin deficiency.  And there are actually...

Fragrant Pork and Cabbage Quick Boil Chinese Soup

Soup Name: Fragrant Pork and Cabbage Quick Boil Chinese SoupFor more videos, visit us on YouTube.No time?  Cost saving?  Want something quick?  I've been making these quick boil Chinese soups for awhile now!  You can still make healthy and delicious soups without that...

Homemade Do-it-yourself Wontons in a “Cheat” Chicken Broth

Did you know that wontons literally means "cloud swallow" in Cantonese?  These little delights are like clouds and bite-sized enough to be swallowed in one gulp! For more videos, visit us on YouTube.Check out the video on how to create awesome wontons at home!   What...