Quick Boil Wintermelon, Lotus Seeds and Beef Soup

Soup Name: Quick Boil Wintermelon, Lotus Seeds and Beef Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 牛肉冬瓜熬湯 (niú ròu dōng guā áo tāng)

Introduction:

In a rush but still want to make tasty, healthy Chinese soup?  There is this thing going around Hong Kong where people say that “old fire” soups aren’t always the healthiest thing.  They can be heavy in ingredients and potentially an overkill on herbs, especially when boiled for so long.  The latest soup fad?  Quick boil soups – so lately, that’s all I’ve been making!  This beef and winter melon soup is simply delicious, refreshing and super easy to make.  You don’t even need the Chinese herbs to keep it simple, especially when you’re in a location where you can’t get them or they are not readily available.  I ended up making this soup for lunch and used the soup base to go with noodles, perfect!

What ingredients are required?

1 pound of beef slices
1 large slice of winter melon (as much as you want to eat)
30 g dried lotus seeds
25 g white hyacinth beans
25 g fu ling or tuckahoe
20 g dried lily bulbs

1 L of chicken broth/stock
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak in water for 10 minutes and then rinse with running water the lotus seeds, fu ling, lily bulbs and beans
  2. Add your water and chicken broth together and turn on high heat to boil
  3. Wash and slice the winter melon into edible pieces (while keep the skin on)
  4. When the water boils, add all the ingredients together
  5. Boil on high for 30 minutes
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Excellent in removing heat from the body
  • Mildly cooling soup that is great for the hot summer
  • Easy soup to make that is tasty and the winter melon absorbs the flavor of the meat and broth making it very tasty to eat
  • You can substitute the chicken stock with water, but add some salt for flavoring

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to use relatively fat free beef (you can ask your wet mart vendor for the least fat)
  • Or use an oil scooper if too much fat content

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!).

Pork Bones with Winter Melon Soup

Soup Name:  Pork Bones with Winter Melon Soup
 
Traditional Chinese Name:  冬瓜湯 (dōng guā tāng)
Introduction:
 
This is a common summer soup to relieve heatiness and cool down the body.  There are a variety of additions you can add to make this soup flavourful and unique.  The winter melon is also an ornamental soup in which the entire winter melon is used as the “dish” of the soup and is double-boiled to achieve this affect.  It is common to put 冬菜 (dōng choy) in this soup, but it’s been banned from being imported to Canada (as of recently), so I’ve replaced it with 梅菜 (mui choy) instead. 

 
What Ingredients are required?

1 pound of fresh pork bones
1 large piece of winter melon
5-6 pieces of dried scallop
3 large dried dates
1/2 stalk of mui choy
1 salted duck egg (optional)

How do I prepare it?

  1. Start boiling your water soup
  2. In a separate pot, blanch the pork bones and strain it removing any dirt and debris from the blanching
  3. Add the pork bones to the boiling water of your soup
  4. Add the dried scallops, large dates to your soup
  5. Cut the winter melon into cubes (the peel can be boiled as well)
  6. Crack the duck egg raw into the soup
  7. Boil for at least 60-90 minutes on high heat.  The longer you boil it, the tastier the soup!

 Any benefits?

  • It is a great soup to remove heatiness and cool the body – especially during the summer months

Any precautions?

  • Since winter melon is a cooling food, precaution should be taken if you are pregnant less than 3 months or menstruating as it can potentially cause contractions
Winter melon

Winter melon

Winter melon

Ingredient Name:

Winter melon, white gourd, or ash gourd

Traditional Chinese Name:

冬瓜 (dōng guā)

For videos, visit us on YouTube.

 

  • The winter melon is actually a vine grown fruit that is eaten as a vegetable
  • The melon itself can grow to be very large, hitting 1-2 m in length and 30 pounds at full maturity, although smaller single serving of these melons are also available for double-boiling (which are super cute)
  • Both young and mature melons are used in Chinese soups
  • It is commonly used in dishes, stews, steamed and soups
  • People drink fresh melon juice
  • It is quite popular in Hong Kong to use baby winter melon (see picture below) in soups

How do I prepare it?

          • For the simple winter melon soup, you simply wash the melon, and cut into large cubes, keep the skin on so that melon doesn’t disintegrate, but this is up to you.
          • If you’re making the fancy winter melon soup, you will need to carve out the WHOLE melon and double boil it as a soup
          • For quick boil Chinese soups, I tend to peel and cut the melon into smaller cubes (for a faster boil)

Where can I buy it and cost?

      • You can purchase fresh winter melon at most Asian supermarkets – they will be cut into manageable sizes and packaged
      • In Hong Kong wet marts, you can purchase it by the weight, requesting the vendor to cut the amount you wish directly from the whole melon

Any benefits?

      • Winter melons are known to remove heatiness and helps detoxify the body
      • It is ideal in removing phelgm from the lungs
      • It is also particularly effective in regulating blood sugar levels
      • The winter melon skin can also be boiled/eaten for someone with heat stroke or edema due to heat

Any precautions?

      • Since it is a cooling food, it should be carefully consumed if pregnant (less than 3 months into term) or menstruating (can cause contractions)

      • If someone is experiencing diarrhea or loose stool, they should avoid consuming the winter melon seeds

Looking to build your basic Chinese Soup Pantry?

Check out this video to help you build your basic Chinese Soup kitchen pantry.  

 

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