I grew up with a bowl of Chinese soup before dinner. Chinese soup is a clear broth full of nourishing goodies. The Chinese love their soup and many Chinese families make a healthy brew to enjoy every day. These soups not only nourish, but are prized for properties such as clear skin, healing, cooling, warming as well as many herbal and medicinal ingredients which all have their uses. A happy home is a Chinese soup home. Chinese believe in daily soup to prevent illness while the West often serves soup to cure illness.
I’ve been craving Chinese soup this autumn and when I found out that The Koala also loves Chinese soup, I started planning my first Chinese soup. There is a whole aisle of dried soup packs at my local Chinese supermarket, but apparently you only really need these if you want to make a medicinal or herbal soup. Dried ingredients for soup are really cheap at just a few dollars each so it’s ok to experiment without having to squint at your bank balance.
I didn’t follow one particular recipe, but I read a few online recipes, learned a few things and then went ahead and made this soup. I enjoy soups that have a few sweet ingredients so I used 3 ingredients that have sweet flavours: carrots, dried dates and an apple. Sweet corn isn’t in season here, but if it is, one sweet corn cut into quarters would be a good addition to this soup.
I love pork soup and the butcher offered to chop up the pork bones for me, which they cut up into about 5-10cm pieces. If your bones aren’t cut, that’s fine too, but you might need an extra big stock pot. It’s hard to turn the ingredients when they are snug in the pot.
Mum reads this blog (Hi Mum!) and she gave me a few pointers for my first soup.
Pretty Sweet Pork Bone Soup
1.3kg of pork bones
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
3 dried sweet dates
3 cloves garlic, peeled
A 5cm piece of ginger, peeled
1 large apple, peeled, cored and cut into 4 pieces
1 large handful of dried wood ear (white), also known as snow fungus
8 dried shiitake mushrooms
- In a large stock pot or dutch oven, boil the pork bones for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse and wash the bones. You do this to get rid of all the yucky stuff that floats to the surface.
- Top with fresh water.
- Add all the other ingredients and simmer for 1-2 hours with lid on.
- Taste the soup and add fish sauce and/or salt as desired.
Do as the Chinese do and have a small bowl of soup before dinner and if you have room, another small bowl after dinner too. It’s also traditional to serve the strained soup bones with a small dish of soy sauce.