Wintermelon with Lotus Leaf and Corn in Pork Broth

Soup Name: Wintermelon with Lotus Leaf and Corn in Pork Broth

Traditional Chinese Name:  冬瓜湯 (dōng guā tāng)

Introduction:
There is one particular day in the summer where the Chinese call it the “hottest day of the month”. This is the soup for that day. When I went to the wet market that morning and wanted to make another soup, my veggie vendor told me to make this soup – without a doubt. It’s a cooling, heat-reducing soup for those really stuffy, hot days in the summer.  You can use either pork or chicken (or both) and it may need a bit of salt because all the ingredients are mildly flavored, but it still tastes slightly sweet and natural without the salt.

 

What Ingredients are required?

1 pound of pork shin or pork bones
1 slice of wintermelon, sliced with skin on
2 fresh corn, kernals sliced
70 g of fresh gingko bilobas
70 g dried lily seeds
1 large piece of fresh lotus leaf
2 L of water
salt to taste


How do I prepare it?

  1. Blanch pork in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes
  2. Drain pork and set aside
  3. Rinse wintermelon and slice with the skin on each piece
  4. (Optiona) Cut corn into large pieces or slice kernals from the cob
  5. Rinse gingko bilobas and lotus seeds into warm water
  6. Start to boil your soup water
  7. When your soup water is boiling, add all the ingredients together (including the kernal-less cobs)
  8. Boil on medium heat for 1 hour and set in a thermal pot for another 3 hours
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • This soup is excellent for cooling down the body and heat from hot summer days

Any precautions?

  • Women in their first trimester of pregnancy should avoid as it is an extremely cooling soup and may cause contractions
  • 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:

 

Vegetarian Wintermelon and Longan Soup

Soup Name: Vegetarian Wintermelon and Longan Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 冬瓜龍眼素湯 (dōng guā lóngyǎn sù tāng)

Introduction:

A very light and delicious soup appropriate for hot, stuffy summers.  It is refreshing (even though it’s hot) and slightly sweet with all the goodness of natural flavoring and ingredients.   It is a meatless soup and a quick boil, so it’s super easy to make.  Plus, it’s a great base for adding other ingredients such as corn, carrots, onions and I serve it with udon or noodles to make it a meal!

What ingredients are required?

3 fresh carrots, cut into large pieces
2 fresh corn, cut into large pieces
1 large slice of wintermelon, peeled and cut into large pieces
20 pieces of dried longan
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak dried longan in warm water for 10 minutes (or until soft)
  2. Start boiling your soup water
  3. Wash and prepare wintermelon, carrots, and corn (keep the wintermelon skin)
  4. When soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
  5. Boil on high for 30 minutes
  6. Serve and enjoy!  Salt if necessary.

Any benefits?

  • Oil free soup
  • Excellent source of protein and vitamins
  • Easy to make soup
  • Soup is ideal for hot summers and mildly cooling to relieve heatiness in the body
  • Wintermelon helps detoxify the skin and body and regulates sugar levels

Any precautions?

  • Wintermelon is a mildly cooling ingredient and should be cautiously consumed if in your first trimester of pregnancy or if you’re menstruating as cooling foods intensify cramping
  • If someone is experiencing diarrhea or loose stool, they should avoid consuming the wintermelon seeds

Salted Mustard Greens with Tofu in Fish Soup

Soup Name: Salted Mustard Greens with Tofu in Fish Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 酸菜豆腐魚湯 (suan cai dòu fu yú tāng)

Introduction:

This quick boil soup is an excellent pre-dinner appetizer.  With its slight sour tang and refreshing clarity, it is relatively easy to make and very healthy for the whole family.  Depending on the type, brand and preservation process of the mustard greens, your soup color can range from pale yellow to a bright yellow (as picture above).  With a variety of textures in the soup, it serves as a great supplement to dinner and is an excellent source of protein.  This is considered a great summer soup.

What ingredients are required?

5-6 large slices of grass carp fish, preferably from the tail or backside
3 fresh slices of ginger
1 tsp of salt
1/2 package of preserved/salted mustard greens, largely sliced
1 pack of fresh stiff tofu, cubed
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak the preserved mustard greens in warm water for 10 minutes
  2. Wash and rinse your fish in running water, slice into large pieces (so that they don’t disintegrate as easily in the soup)
  3. Pat dry with a paper towel and salt lightly
  4. In a frying pan, heat oil until hot and fry ginger and fish slices until golden brown
  5. Set aside the fish when finished (it doesn’t have to be completed cooked, but at least with lightly golden surfaces)
  6. Boil your soup water
  7. Rinse preserved mustard greens in running water and slice into edible pieces
  8. Rinse tofu and cut into large pieces
  9. Slice the century eggs in half
  10. When the soup water boils, add ginger, fish, preserved mustard greens, and tofu together
  11. Boil on high for 30 minutes

Any benefits?

  • Naturally salted because of the mustard greens, so no salt needed!
  • High source of protein and low in fat
  • Excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, and E, folic acid, calcium, carotenes, manganese, copper, potassium, iron and fiber
  • Great for your bones and plenty of anti-oxidants

Any precautions?

  • If you’re concerned about the level of saltiness of the preserved mustard greens, you can soak them longer (for at least an hour)
  • Be sure to buy preserved mustard greens from a reputable source and be sure to check the expiry date
  • Be sure to use stiff tofu as this is the only type that will sustain its shape and form when put in boiling water.  Soft tofu will break apart, while still tastes OK, the soup doesn’t look as clean
  • Remove all the bones of the fish as I am not boiling with a fish bag (or take caution when serving children)

Fresh fish slices

Fried fish slices set aside before adding to the soup

Cooling Wintermelon Soup

Soup Name: Cooling Wintermelon Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 祛濕清熱冬瓜湯 (qū shī qīngrè dōngguā tāng)

Introduction:

A must drink for the hot, stuffy summers.  It helps cools the body, reduces heatiness and eliminates overheating.  While mildly sweet and light to taste, this is a common and very popular soup in the Cantonese soup repertoire.  There are a variety of ways to make this soup, but this is the most basic.

Ingredients:

1 pound of fresh pork shank
1 large slice of wintermelon
5-6  honey dates
2 tablespoons of hyacinth beans
5 g of dried lily bulb (or 5-6 pieces)
20 g of fu ling
10-12 lotus seeds
2-3 L of water

How do I prepare it

  1. Blanch fresh pork shank in a pot of boiling water
  2. Boil your soup water
  3. Wash and cut wintermelon into cubes (separate skin from meat) – skin is still added to soup
  4. Rinse all other ingredients in warm water
  5. Once soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
  6. Boil on high for 30 minutes, reduce to a simmer for another 1.5 hours
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Helps reduce heatiness in the body
  • Eliminates excess heat and helps cool the body

Any precautions?

  • Women in their first trimester of pregnancy should avoid as it is an extremely cooling soup and may cause contractions
  • 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!).