Turtle with Lean Pork Soup

Soup Name: Turtle and Lean Pork Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 水魚瘦豬肉湯 (shuǐ yú shòu zhū ròu tāng)


A warm and healing soup, it’s often recommended for cold winter days or confinement.  The turtle meat is said to be a nourishing meat (similar to chicken) and should be avoided if you are sick.   From our experience, even when properly cleaned, soft-shelled turtle meat may have a taste of the “sea” and may require ginger to counter the taste.

See a lighter variation of this soup here: Longan Meat in Turtle Soup

What Ingredients are required?

1 whole fresh soft shell turtle
1 pound of fresh pork shank
15 dried longans
6 slices of dried Chinese yam
3 slices of ginger
8 dried dates (for sweetness.  Use red dates for confinement soups.)
3 – 4L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Pre-marinate the pork with salt and let sit for at least one hour (overnight is best)
  2. Wash turtle meat and shell
  3. In a pan, fry meat and shell with ginger on high heat until cooked
  4. Blanch the pork in a separate pot of boiling water
  5. Boil your soup water
  6. Soak and wash dried longans, Chinese yams, and dates
  7. When the water boils, add all the ingredients together
  8. Boil on high for 30 minutes and then simmer on medium heat for another 3 hours.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Any Benefits?

  • A nourishing soup ideal for confinement
  • Good for urinary infections and bladder
  • Helps with asthma and breathing complications (such as shortage of breath)
  • The shell is an excellent source of collagen

Any precautions?

  • Thoroughly clean and wash turtle, including the shell
  • This soup is “heaty”
  • Do not drink turtle (or chicken) soup if you are sick

Longan (Dried)

Longan (Dried)

Ingredient Name:
Longan (Dried)
Traditional Chinese Name: 龍眼; (lóngyǎn)
What is this?
  • A small, round fruit found in Southern China and Southeast Asia
  • The longan (“dragon eyes”) is so named because the fruit resemblesan eyeball when it is shelled (the black seed shows through the translucent flesh like pupil).  The seed is small, round and hard
  • For drying, the fruits are first heated to shrink the flesh and facilitate peeling of the rind.  Then the seeds are removed and the flesh dried over a slow fire
  • The longan is a close relative of the lychee
  • In Chinese medicine, the longan, much like the lychee, is considered a “warm”or “heaty” fruit
  • Dried longan can keep in a sealed jar at room temperature for several months
  • It can also be frozen to extend its shelf life

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse well before use
  • Dried longan may also be soaked in water to soften before usage.  Using hot water will speed up the softening process
  • Dried longan are great for sweetening Chinese soups and in Chinese desserts

Where can I buy this?

  • You can purchase dried longan in most Asian supermarkets
  • Chinese pharmaceuticals will definitely carry dried longan


  • Fresh longans
  • Lychees

What is the cost?

  • Dried longan are relatively inexpensive

Any benefits?

  • Dried longan is considered to help with relaxation and insomnia
  • Many Chinese believe longans can be used as a blood tonic, to nurture the heart and to add luster and beauty to the skin.  Hence, it is a popular ingredient used in postpartum confinement food and soups
  • Some also believe the longan to be an aphrodisiac

Any precautions?

  • The longan is considered to be a heaty fruit and needs to be eaten in moderation