Bitter Melon Soup with Corn and Pork Meatballs

Bitter Melon Soup with Corn and Pork Meatballs

Bitter Melon Soup with Corn and Pork Meatballs

Soup Name:

Bitter Melon with Corn and Pork Meatballs Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

簡單菜湯 (Jiǎn dān cài tāng)

 

I made this after work one day and managed to pick up fresh veggies and meat from the wet mart on the way home. Sometimes I plan for soup, sometimes I don’t, and this soup is one of those last minute made-up combinations because I felt like having meatballs and bitter melon at the same time!

The pork meatballs are a substitute for the pork bones and I could eat them along with my soup. I also made extra and froze for a rainy day so I could pan fry – no wasted efforts! The bitter melon is also cooling, helps relieve heat in my body, and helps relieve that painful tongue after eating too much fried food.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 40 mins

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients

    • 2 fresh bitter melons, halved (with skin), de-seeded, and sliced
    • 2 fresh corn, quartered
    • 20 fresh ginkgo biloba
    • 1 pound of fresh ground pork
    • half fresh onion, diced
    • 1 egg
    • your own spices
    • 1 tsp of chicken broth powder
    • 2 L of water

Cooking Instructions

  1. Boil your soup water
  2. Wash and cut the corn and throw into the soup water
  3. Wash and cut up the bitter melon (de-seed and keep on the skin) and add with the ginkgo biloba to your soup
  4. in a separate bowl, mix in the diced onions, spices and 1 egg until the pork fat becomes stringy and quite sticky
  5. Roll into bite-sized meatballs
  6. When the soup water boils, drop in the meatballs one at a time, ensuring that the water is still boiling (this ensures the meatballs cook immediately when they hit the water and stays together)
  7. Boil on high for 25 minutes
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Start with the meatballs base.  I mix in ground pork, diced onions, and 1 egg and seasoned with black pepper, salt, and a bit of soy sauce.  You can also add paprika, fresh ginger, green onions, even bread crumbs.  Then you roll them into little round balls to be dropped into your soup!

Boil your soup water in a pot on medium heat and add in the corn.  As this boils, you can prepare the bitter melon.  I halve them and scrape out the seeds with a spoon and then cut them quite thinly.  The key to quick boil soups is that the ingredients cook fast!

When the water boils, throw in the sliced bitter melon and gingko and 1 tsp of chicken broth powder.  When it boils again, drop in your meatballs and leave it to boil for 25 minutes on medium heat.

Garnish with green onions, parsley, or cilantro as you wish.  This totally eats like a meal!  Serve with rice or noodles.

 

Quick Boil Pumpkin and Corn Vegetarian Soup

Quick Boil Pumpkin and Corn Vegetarian Soup

Quick Boil Pumpkin and Corn Vegetarian Soup

Soup Name:

Quick Boil Pumpkin and Corn Vegetarian Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

簡單菜湯 (Jiǎn dān cài tāng)

What started as a simple vegetable soup, turned into an interesting mix of hot and cold vegetables because I could! The children had the soup warm, served with macaroni for dinner and it’s an easy quick boil, meatless soup. You can add real meat if you’d like, ideally chicken breast or thighs for a quick boil or even Chinese preserved ham. A great, quick soup for those times when you’re just running out of time, but have a fridge full of vegetables! The base is quite easy and you can add any other vegetables that suit your taste!

For the quick boil, you’ll need to have small pieces of vegetables to enable them to cook faster and release flavours faster. I always keep the cobs for the soup base, there is SO MUCH flavour in those things! Throw everything into a pot of boiling water as a start.

Throw in the shucked loose corn and broth and boil on high heat for 30 minutes. You can throw in the snow peas to blanch for 2 minutes and then serve.  What I also did here was have extra “greek salad” ingredients (raw cucumbers, raw tomatoes, and parsley) just for fun – but it tasted awesome!

What’s involved?

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 40 mins

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1/2 fresh Japanese pumpkin, cubed (with skin off)

  • 2 fresh corn, shucked (keep the cob for the soup)

  • 20 fresh snow peas

  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable broth powder (or half a cup of vegetable soup stock)

  • 2 L of water

Cooking Instructions

  1. In a pot of boiling water, add cubed pumpkin, corn cobs, corn kernals and stock (or powder)
  2. Boil in high for 30 minutes
  3. Before serving, blanch the snow peas in the soup for 2 minutes
  4. Serve and enjoy!

The beauty of this is that you can add in your choice of cubed vegetables, such as carrots, radish, and even tomatoes that compliment the sweet flavours of the pumpkin.  

Alternatively, you can use miso paste instead of chicken powder, which is just as tasty as  quick boil!

 

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Starfish, Corn with Chinese Yam in Pork Broth

Starfish, Corn with Chinese Yam in Pork Broth

Starfish, Corn with Chinese Yam in Pork Broth

Starfish? WHAT? Yah… starfish. I knew that the Chinese used starfish in soups, but I had never actually seen where I could buy starfish, nor tried soups with starfish before.  I happened to venture to Lamma Island in Hong Kong one day and ta-da(!) I found some dried starfish! What was even more special was that the lady who sold them was so warm and welcoming that she talked and walked me through the whole process and which ingredients that could potentially go into the soup. In short, starfish soups are designed to remove internal heat, so supplemental ingredients should compliment this.  Big learning from me on this soup – while it’s nice to show all the ingredients in my photos, I wouldn’t necessarily scoop any starfish for the kids to see. I actually served only the broth to the family and everyone drank it.  See, this is what my Mom did to me when I was a kid and now I’m doing it to mine! My rebuttal is basically – it’s good for you! Don’t mind what’s inside!

Soup Name: Starfish, Corn with Chinese Yam in Pork Broth

Traditional Chinese Name:  海星玉米淮山湯 (hǎi xīng yù mǐ huái shān tāng)

To see the full recipe, scroll down to skip my commentary.

The ingredients for the soup are: Dried starfish (for this soup, I used 2 whole pieces), one piece of dried tangerine peel, a handful dried scallops, a 1-inch length of fresh ginger, 2 fresh corn, 3-foot long fresh Chinese Yam, and pork shank.

Dried starfish

Dried starfish

To start, soak the dried starfish, tangerine peel and scallops in cool water for about 15 minutes. This will soften the starfish and peel so that you can remove “stuff” from them. From the tangerine peel, you can scrape off the “peel” or darker side, which is quite bitter and will make your soup bitter. You can do this with a knife. The same actually goes for the starfish. Once its softened, scrape off the bottom-side of the “scales”. These are the little bumps that you can find on the underside. Once it’s scraped, it should look clean like the photo below. Cut the starfish into pieces that actually fit into your pot!

Cleanly scraped starfish

Cleanly scraped starfish

Next, in a separate pot of boiling water, add sliced ginger (save 1 to 2 slices for the soup) and the starfish together and boil for 5 minutes. This will blanch the starfish from impurities, but also will help remove some of the “fishiness”. Some people also pan fry with ginger to remove “fishiness” – this is particularly useful on fish.  Remove and set aside.

Blanching starfish in boiling water with fresh ginger

Blanching starfish in boiling water with fresh ginger

Drain the water and boil a small pot to blanch the pork shank. Another necessary step to remove the impurities, although pork shank doesn’t have as much gunk as pork bones or even pork marrow. This step does help remove some of the fat as well. You can begin to boil your soup water at this time.

You can also prepare your vegetables by chopping them up into large bite-sized pieces. For the Chinese Yam, WEAR GLOVES! If you read my post on preparation of Chinese Yam, this is called out. The skin of the Chinese Yam will make your hands very itchy if you come into contact with it, so be sure to wear gloves. When the soup water boils, throw everything in together (including the 2 pieces of ginger hanging around).

Starfish, Corn with Chinese Yam in pork broth

Starfish, Corn with Chinese Yam in pork broth

Boil on high for 30 minutes and then reduce to a medium boil for another 2 hours. This will really bring out the healing, heat-removal properties of the starfish. The ginger isn’t to counter the heat-removal, that’s why you add a tiny amount – it’s to reduce the “fishiness” of the soup.  Once boiled, taste and salt as needed. Then serve and enjoy!

Starfish, Corn with Chinese Yam in Pork Broth

Starfish, Corn with Chinese Yam in Pork Broth

 

Starfish, Corn with Chinese Yam in Pork Broth
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 bowls
Ingredients
  • 2 dried starfish, soaked, cleaned and quartered
  • 2 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/corn/”]fresh corn[/url], quartered
  • 3-foot long [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chinese-yam-fresh/”]fresh Chinese Yam[/url], peeled and cut into 1-inch sections
  • 1-inch long piece of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/ginger-fresh/”]fresh ginger[/url], sliced
  • 1 piece of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/tangerine-peels-dried/”]dried tangerine peel[/url]
  • 1 tablespoon of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/scallops-dried-conpoy/”]dried scallops[/url] (or conpoys)
  • 1 pound of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/pork-shank/”]fresh pork shank[/url]
  • 2L of water
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Soak in cool water, the dried starfish, dried scallops and dried tangerine peel for 15 minutes
  2. Begin to prepare the corn by quartering it and the Chinese Yam, by peeling and cutting 1-inch long pieces (be sure to wear gloves)
  3. Using a sharp knife edge, scrape off the top-side (darker side) of the tangerine peel in running water (to remove more of the bitterness)
  4. Using a sharp knife edge, scrape off the underside of the starfish until all the little rivets are gone
  5. Cut the starfish into suitable sized pieces for your soup
  6. Thinly Slice your fresh ginger
  7. In a separate pot, boil enough water to cover the starfish and once it’s boiling, throw in the ginger (saving 1-2 pieces for the soup) and blanch the starfish on high heat for 5 minutes
  8. Remove the starfish and set aside
  9. In the same pot, boil enough water to cover your pork shank and blanch that on high heat for 5 minutes
  10. Remove the pork shank and set aside
  11. Boil your soup water
  12. Once the water boils, add all the ingredients together (including the remaining ginger). Boil on high heat for 30 minutes and reduce to a medium heat for 2 hours.
  13. Taste and salt as necessary
  14. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

Quick Boil Winter Melon, Mushrooms with Corn in Chicken Broth

Quick Boil Winter Melon Soup

Quick Boil Winter Melon Soup

 

This is the start of the “Quick Boil Series” of soups.  It was requested by a friend who wanted to know how to make healthy, but quick soups for those busy-body people.  In general, quick boil soups take around 10 minutes to prepare and about 25-30 minutes to boil and contain easy-to-find, supermarket type ingredients that are readily available so not a lot of planning is required.  This is one of my favourite quick boil soups – the winter melon. To start, quick boil soups usually require smaller cuts of vegetables or meats (so that they soften quicker and you can extract the flavours more quickly). The winter melon is a classic example of boiling it for around 30 minutes and you’ll find the flesh has become translucent and soft and edible. It’s simply delicious, suitable for the whole family and super easy to make!

Soup Name: Quick Boil Winter Melon, Mushrooms with Corn in Chicken Broth

Traditional Chinese Name:  冬瓜冬菇 玉米 雞熬湯(dōng guā dōng gū yù mǐ jī Áo tāng)

To see the full recipe, scroll down to skip my commentary.

What you’ll need in the simplest of terms are: dried Chinese mushrooms, a handful of dried conpoys (or scallops), a slice of winter melon, fresh corn, chicken breast and either chicken broth or chicken broth powder. To be honest with you, I don’t really measure or scientifically size the ingredients, I just put whatever amount I feel like depending on what I like to eat – which is more corn and more winter melon, so just go with what you like. It is, after all, your soup.

Start with soaking the mushrooms and dried conpoys. You’ll need a good 5 minutes to get the mushroom stems nice and soft, so for those who don’t eat them or prefer not to eat them, you can cut them off and then quarter or slice the mushrooms thinly. I keep these mushrooms in the freezer and they have been there for 6 months plus and are still great!

Chinese mushrooms ready for soup!

Chinese mushrooms ready for soup!

Mushrooms soaking in prep for quick boil soup

Mushrooms soaking in prep for quick boil soup

 

During this time, you can begin to boil your soup water. For a family of four, I used about 3 L of water and had plenty to go around. You can then begin to peel and slice your winter melon. In normal old fire Chinese soups, I would keep the skin on, but for quick boils, I would recommend removing the skin. This way, the winter melon softens much quicker, but you can add the skin into the soup for flavour.  The winter melons are normally sold like this (if they are the large ones). The vendors or supermarket will already pre-slice them for you, so simply shave the skin off lying it flat on one side.

Winter Melon

Winter Melon

After that, cube the winter melon so they are literally bite-sized. This makes them quicker to soften and cook and also, easier to eat!

cubed winter melon for soup

cubed winter melon for soup

The next things to do are slice the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces as well. Keep them cubed and consistent with the size of the winter melons. No real reason other than the fact that it’s symmetrically similar and will also cook faster. You can also slice your mushrooms into cubes or into thin slices as pictured below. Similarly, bite-sized for ease of cooking.

Sliced Chinese mushrooms ready for soup

Sliced Chinese mushrooms ready for soup

Same for the corn. The smaller the cut of the corn, the quicker it will cook and consistently “small” with the rest of the soup ingredients. In this case, I quartered them.

Fresh corn ready for soup

Fresh corn ready for soup

Once the water boils, throw all the ingredients together. People do ask me why I use boiling water in so many of my soup recipes, it’s because the immediate contact with heat cooks the meat or vegetables faster and prevents too much slow breakdown of the meat overtime and you’re able to save time by boiling it in parts.

Throwing all the ingredients together

Throwing all the ingredients together

 

Boil on high heat until it really comes to a big boil again – which should be about 5 minutes. Once it’s boiling, reduce heat to a medium boil – but leave it covered (in order to maintain some pressure in the pot) for another 20 minutes. At this time, I will add either half a cup of chicken stock or 1 teaspoon of powdered chicken bouillon. This way, enough time has passed for the flavours of the ingredients to come out and you can taste how much you want to further season the soup. Don’t forget to taste it along the way! You’ll know it’s close to being done with the chicken breast has turned complete white and opaque and your winter melon is a nice translucent colour.

 

Quick boil winter melon soup

Quick boil winter melon soup

Serve and enjoy! Don’t forget to scoop out the delicious ingredients to eat as part of your hearty soup.

Quick boil winter melon soup

Quick boil winter melon soup

 

Quick Boil Winter Melon, Mushrooms with Corn in Chicken Broth
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 bowls
Ingredients
  • 2 medium-sized chicken breasts, bite-sized cubed
  • 1 2-inch thick slice of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/winter-melon/” title=”fresh winter melon”]winter melon[/url], skinned and bite-sized cubed
  • 2 fresh [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/corn/” title=”Fresh corn”]corn[/url], quartered
  • 7-8 dried [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chinese-mushrooms/” title=”dried Chinese mushrooms”]Chinese mushrooms[/url], sliced thinly
  • 5 pieces of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/scallops-dried-conpoy/” title=”Dried conpoy”]dried conpoy[/url]
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered chicken bouillon
  • 3 L of water
Instructions
  1. Being by soaking Chinese mushrooms in warm water for 5 minutes
  2. Start to boil your soup water
  3. Cube chicken breast
  4. Slice and cube winter melon – don’t throw away the skin (use it in the soup)
  5. Quarter corn
  6. Drain mushrooms and remove the stems with a knife of scissors and slice thinly
  7. When your soup water boils, throw all your cut ingredients into the soup (add the bouillon last)
  8. Boil on high for 5 minutes
  9. Reduce boil to a medium-boil for another 20 minutes
  10. Taste and add chicken bouillon (try 1 teaspoon first)
  11. Boil for another 5 minutes
  12. Serve and enjoy!

 

I personally love winter melon, especially when it’s softened and melts in your mouth! A great quick boil soup for any newbie or professional soup chef. Enjoy and thank you!

Simple Vegetable Soup for Children

Simple Vegetable Soup for Children

Simple Vegetable Soup for Children

Soup Name:

Simple Vegetable Soup for Children

Traditional Chinese Name:

簡單菜湯 (Jiǎn dān cài tāng)

 

At the last minute, I needed to stay home and make dinner – so while scrounging through my staple supplies of groceries, I found 3 simple ingredients to whip up a quick-boil Chinese soup with noodles. I say quick-boil because this soup took me about 10 minutes to prep and then boiled on medium-high heat for about 30 minutes. On top of that, we ended up eating all the contents as sides, which saved me even more time! It pays to have extras in the fridge sometimes!

What’s involved?

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 40 mins

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of dried shredded conpoys (can use whole ones as well)

  • 2 large fresh corn, quartered

  • 2 large potatoes, halved

  • 3 fresh tomatoes, halved

  • 1 teaspoon of chicken powder (or half a cup of chicken stock)

  • 2 L of water

Cooking Instructions

  1. Boil your soup water
  2. When the water boils, add all the ingredients together
  3. Boil on medium-high for 30 minutes

Any benefits?

  • This soup contains no fat
  • All natural ingredients serves as a hearty meal
  • Quick and easy soup to make
  • Excellent soup to go with noodles, macaroni, or just on its own and you can add any other vegetables you like (or happen to have in your fridge)