Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

 

This soup is ideal for colds, flus and cough. If you’ve got a sore or scratchy throat, achy body, tiredness and/or headache – this soup is for you!  From an Eastern perspective, the Chinese don’t recommend drinking chicken soup when you’re sick, which to me, sounds off, but you can’t argue thousands years of tradition through Chinese medicine.  My herbalist recommended this relatively “neutral” soup for me and is considered 滋陰 (zī yīn), which means treating yin deficiency by reinforcing body fluid and nourishing the blood.  If you look at the herb base, it’s pretty basic and ideal for most soups – the kicker is to add sea whelk (or conch or sea snail). You don’t need to add fresh sea snail (they can get pretty expensive if you buy them live from the wet mart), but definitely add pork. This soup ended up tasting delicious and sets a great base for adding vegetables of your choice – like corn, onions, or chayotes – all neutral vegetables.

Update on Jan 8: Boy, do my readers really keep me on my toes! Someone asked why the Chinese don’t recommend chicken soup when you’re sick, so I ran to see my herbalist this morning who gave me an answer like this. Basically, the idea is that chicken bones / carcasses itself are way fatter than pork and normally people will put veggies such as carrots with chicken soup – which is a big no no. Carrots are a cough inducing and don’t help colds or coughs very much. As for the chicken, well, I could borderline say that if you’re using chicken breast or skinny (fatless) chickens, it should be OK? I’m still researching this, but will share more when I find something more concrete.

Soup Name: Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:  清豬骨海螺湯 (Qīng zhū gǔ hǎiluó tāng)

 

Pork and Conch Herbal Soup
Recipe Type: Chinese Soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/pork-shank/”]fresh pork shank[/url]
  • 2 fresh [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/sea-snail-fresh/”]sea snails[/url], shelled and halved
  • 5 pieces of dried [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/sea-snail-fresh/”]sea snail[/url]
  • 15 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/longan-dried/”]dried longans[/url]
  • 3 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/large-dried-dates/”]dried large dates[/url]
  • 10 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/red-dates/”]dried red dates[/url]
  • 5 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chinese-yam-dried/”]dried Chinese yam[/url]
  • 10g of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/yuzhu/”]dried yuzhu[/url]
  • 10g of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/wolfberries-dried/”]dried wolfberries[/url]
  • 3 L of water
  • salt (for taste)
Instructions
  1. In a separate pot, blanch both the sea snails and pork in a pot of boiling hot water for at least 5 minute (to remove impurities, fat and scum), remove and set aside
  2. Soak all the herbs in warm water for at least 10 minutes and rinse in warm water
  3. Boil your soup water
  4. When you soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
  5. Boil on high for 30 minute and then reduce boil to a medium boil for another 1.5 hours
  6. Serve and enjoy!

 

One of the more affordable seafood you can use for soups is dried sea snail. They come in thin, hard slices and add a sweet, sea-salt taste to the soup (similar to dried conpoys). Plus, these things are storage friendly and can be stored in your freezer or fridge for up to 6 months.

Dried Sea Snail

Dried Sea Snail

A typical neutral soup base for Chinese soups. The dried sea snails are interchangeable with dried conpoys.

Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

Fresh sea snails are an ideal addition to soups. Although VERY EXPENSIVE (you have to eat the meat given how much they can cost), they add a deliciously sweet flavour to the soup. Get the ladies at the wet mart to break the shell for you and they’ll give it to you like this – ready for washing and blanching in boiling hot water.

Fresh Sea Snail

Fresh Sea Snail

YUMMY soup! I literally had 4 bowls myself and the children also loved it. A great soup for the whole family.

Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

 

Coconut, Chinese Yam and Fresh Conch in Chicken Broth

Coconut, Chinese Yam and Fresh Conch in Chicken Broth

Soup Name: Coconut, Chinese Yam and Fresh Conch in Chicken Broth

Traditional Chinese Name: 椰子螺雞湯 (yē zi luó jī tāng)

Introduction:

This soup (because of the fresh conch) cost me a whopping $500 HKD.  For starters, it’s a really delicious soup and it’s naturally sweet, but you can pretty much achieve similar results with probably cheaper ingredients.  The vendor has suggested NOT to use the coconut water because that is pretty fattening, but other than that, it’s truly a perfect winter soup.

What ingredients are required?

1 fresh chicken, quartered
2 large fresh conch
1 fresh whole coconut, sliced into thin pieces
2 feet of fresh Chinese Yam, largely sliced
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Prepare chicken & conch (read each ingredient on instructions on preparation)
  2. In a pot of boiling water, blanch chicken and conch
  3. Prepare Chinese Yam by washing, peeling and cutting into large edible cubes (wear gloves while doing this)
  4. Prepare fresh coconut by cutting it with the inner brown skin into long thin pieces
  5. When your water boils, add all the ingredients in and boil on high for 30 minutes.  Reduce to a medium boil for another hour.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • This is a great winter soup as it is warming to the body (but not overly heaty)
  • Naturally sweet, so no salt is needed
  • This Chinese soup is rich in proteins and fiber

Any precautions?

  • The coconut isn’t the easiest thing to cut into thin strips, so if it’s too difficult, use larger chunks
  • Be sure to thoroughly clean the conch (ie: with either salt, cornstarch or a toothbrush)
  • The coconut meat is high in saturated fat and is high in cholesterol, so consume with caution
  • Use an oil scooper to remove the fattiness of the chicken meat in the soup

 

Sea Snail (Fresh)

Ingredient Name: Sea Snail, Conch, Gastropod

Traditional Chinese Name: 螺 (luó)

Another one of those ingredients that you don’t really see in soups growing up as a child – unless you happened to eat it, which our family did not.  It’s actually just as common to use the dried sea snail in soups (which are said to be more flavorful).  The meat itself doesn’t have much flavor, but like pork shank or pork bones, simply dip in a bit of high quality soy sauce and it’s pretty delicious.  The one thing I discovered while on my soup making adventure is that some ingredients cost a fortune!  So while some soups can eat out of your pocket, there are many that are economical.  Yes, that’s the concept of all Chinese cuisine right?

What is this?

  • Sea snails are medium-to-large sized snails which live in the sea
  • They are most popularly known for their large, empty conches which are popular decorative pieces and/or even instruments.  (Some claim that when you put your ear against an empty conch shell, you can hear the call of the ocean.)
  • All parts of the sea snail are edible
  • The meat is soft and chewy

How do I prepare it?

  • Wash and scrub clean (in fresh warm water)
  • Scald briefly in boiling water
  • With a sharp knife, cut off the shell face (hard flat plate)
  • Remove also the stomach by cutting the snail in the middle
  • Cut into thin slices for soup usage

Where can I buy this?

  • You can purchase this fresh from wet marts (although not readily common)
  • It is also available frozen in most supermarkets

What is the cost?

  • Frozen sea snails cost around $80-120 HKD each and vary in price depending on size and breed
  • Abalone is one type of sea snail which is popular and can be very expensive to buy

Any benefits?

  • According to traditional chinese medicine, sea snails are said to nourish the Yin and the kidneys and to improve eyesight
  • Excellent source of protein that is low in fat
  • Sea snails add little flavour to your soup, however this ingredient can provide a lot of texture, especially if you cut them into thin slices and slurp them down with your delicious chinese soup!

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to thoroughly clean them before usage