WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO BLANCH MEATS FOR CHINESE SOUPS?

(Do you use cold water?  Boiling water?  With ginger?  With instant coffee?  With salt?  What’s the best way for flavour and taste experience?)

One guiding principle in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the yin yang theory.  In the natural world, there exists a balance between 2 opposing and co-existing forces and yet, they also exist in each other.  Our bodies, minds, and souls are designed the same way in that to be healthy, we need to be in harmony between these 2 bipolar states.  Yin is receptive and passive, calm and slow, embodying cold and damp qualities (when we are sleeping).  Yang is its exact opposite in aggressive and active, embodying heat, dryness, and movement (when we are awake).

One of our mission at The Chinese Soup Lady is to bring these principles into the foods and drinks we consume in order to support harmony.  

You can explore more about some Traditional Chinese Medicine theories in these posts.

Why I blanch my meats…

I will either blanch or panfry most of my fresh protein for a few reasons:

  • I don’t like the foam that accumulates at the top of the soup once the protein comes to a boil (usually bones will do that) – this is from the protein boiled out that coagulates, trapped inside the air bubbles of the soup and then create a foamy layer at the top.  This foam tastes rather unpleasant…
  • I want to remove any extra bone bits, blood, fats, or other protein that boil into the soup.  Admittedly, I’m not the cleanest chicken chopper and may take a few swipes at the back or legs of a chicken and want to be sure I don’t have any dangerous bone bits floating around.
  • Remove as much excess fat as possible.  This is particularly true for chicken or duck based soups.

What’s “blanch-able”?

  • I will blanch most of my meat or seafood proteins that I use for soups (except fish – see below)
  • All pork bones, this includes ribs, leg bones, feet, all organs, neck and back bones).  Pork bones that have marrow, blood portions, or cut bone parts tend to produce the most foam
  • While organ meats don’t produce foam, blanching them in fresh ginger will help remove the “fishy” taste and smell and produce a cleaner tasting soup
  • All chicken parts, including head, feet, back, and organs.  Chickens tend to be a fattier meat and the blanch will help remove some of the fat bits
  • All duck parts as well, for the same reason that duck is a fattier protein.  Using roast duck is actually super tasty, but does have high fat content
  • Most seafood to be blanched in water with ginger as well to remove any “fishy” taste and smell
  • Fish can flash boil, such as salmon, but I will often just panfry them with ginger, garlic, and green onions prior to using them in soups
  • Anything else you blanch?

Do you blanch your proteins for Chinese soups? 

If so, what’s your experience on method?

  1. Wolke, R. (2002) Stock Options, Washington Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/food/2002/01/23/stock-options/910157e7-935a-4906-9d1e-ef3e395a4f5b/ (Accessed: 6 December 2023).
  2. Francis, A. (2022) What in the World Is That Foamy Scum on My Chicken Stock? Available at: https://www.bonappetit.com/story/soup-scum#:~:text=What%20is%20that%20scummy%20stuff,at%20Drexel%20University%20in%20Philadelphia. (Accessed: 5 December 2023).

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