Arrowroot Soup (粉葛湯)

Arrowroot is a huge root vegetable that many people may not heard before nor sounds familiar to them. Especially younger generation nowadays. But if any of the Chinese family who usually cook at home, I think most of them cook this soup before. If you don’t even know what is Arrowroot, then, maybe 粉葛湯 (fěn gé tāng) sounds more familiar to you?

Arrowroot is very much like a big sweet potato. I crave for this soup. The very last time I had this soup was during Chinese New Year, brewed by my mother. Ahhh… I missed the taste of my mother’s soup so much! And so, I bought arrowroot today. Like all root vegetables, it is best slow boiled with pork ribs, red dates, dried octopus / cuttlefish to make a nice and simple soup.

This piece of 450 grams of arrowroot 450 grams cost S$1.20. Got it from the market.

The arrowroot is harder in texture and it is extensively starchy than potato. When it is cut up, it has patterns on surface that looks like the ages of a tree trunk.

And this is what I’ve prepared….

Yes! You didn’t see it wrongly. I’ve got some lotus root there. I did it on purpose. But you could opt it out if you wanted to. My mother told me that arrowroot has a mild cooling effect. A very mild one. By adding some lotus root in the soup. it will kinda neutralize the soup and the soup will be more nutritious.

Ingredients (Serve 4 to 6 pax)

  • 450 grams of Arrowroot, scrubbed cleaned and sliced.
  • 250 grams of Lotus Root, cleaned, peeled and sliced. (Optional)
  • 300 grams of Pork Ribs, scalded (I want the soup more meaty taste this time)
  • 5 to 6 red dates.
  • 4 to 5 dried scallops
  • 1/2 of a foot long dried octopus. Snipped into small pieces.
  • 3000ml water
  • sea salt to taste

You could peel the skin of the arrowroot if you like. But my mother told me that brewing arrowroot with the skin on gives more nutrition. So, I listen to my mother. But, it’s up to you.

This soup is high in protein and fiber.  It is a very neutral soup and requires little effort to make it. I could proudly promise you that this soup is really sweet and tasty. Just like usual way of cooking a good old pot of soup, adding in seafood ingredients such as dried scallops and dried octopus is unavoidable. This makes the soup so refreshing sweet with the natural sweetness from dried seafood. You can omit if you don’t like seafood, just add in more pork ribs or pork bones. But I personally don’t advise that.

Method
1. Rinse pork ribs, scald in boiling water for awhile, remove and rinse. (Refer to this if you are unsure on how to prepare the ribs)

2. Wash scallops, red dates, dried octopus. Prepare lotus root & arrowroot accordingly.

4. In a soup pot, put everything in (except salt). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the soup over low heat for 2 hours. And if you have more time, make it 3 hours.

5. Did I ever mentioned to you before that your soup will have the Umph! after 3 hours? Remember to sprinkle some salt to taste before serve.

This soup is high in fiber and is ideal for children as it is very natural and neutral. It strengthens Chi (气) and could boosts immune system.

This delicious soup with ingredients which have been softened through long hours of brewing. I’m sure your family will love this heart-warming pot of soup.

I hope you like it 🙂

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Lotus Root Soup 莲藕汤

I love this soup!

This is also one of the soup that I cook very often. It’s easy, and nutritious. Lotus root has many benefits like strengthening the bodies, dispelling heat and enhancing the appetite.

I love the delicious soup with ingredients which have been softened through long hours of brewing. It is really very heart-warming.

Although the cooking time is long, the preparation procedure is pretty simple. See my picture and you will know what you need to prepare.

Does my blog just made your life easier? 🙂

Ingredients (Serve 4 to 6 pax)

  • 480grams of Lotus Root, cleaned, peeled and sliced.
  • 200 grams of Pork Ribs, scalded (200grams is about S$3.00 from wet market butcher. You can buy more ribs if you like your soup to have more meaty taste.)
  • 5 to 6 red dates. Mine is really miserably mini sized, so I throw in 7 instead.
  • 4 to 5 dried scallops
  • 60 grams of dried peanuts
  • 1/2 of a foot long dried octopus. Snipped into small pieces.
  • 3000ml water
  • sea salt to taste

This is the dried octopus that I get from market. It cost S$5.00 per 100g. This is about 88g, and I paid S$4.50 for it. Expensive! I cut it into half, keep the other half for next time use.

For the Lotus root, I would highly recommend you to put in effort to make a trip to the wet market to get the muddy type of Lotus root. The fresh root is harvested from ponds, so they are usually covered in mud. That’s one of the ways we tell the fresh ones from the not so fresh ones. Avoid those that look dry or too white. This type of muddy root is fresh, crunchy and it taste really good. See this picture… This cost me S$2.00, weighed about 480 grams.

Cleaned, peeled, sliced… You should only left with about 370 grams.

For the dried peanuts… I always put in effort to remove the skin by rubbing it hard with each other. The reason is because I would prefer my soup to have a clearer broth. Peanut skins tends to darken the color of the soup. Slowly read on, and you will know…

You don’t need to put in so much effort for those peanuts. If you have somebody (be it husband, kids, parents or whoever) is sitting infront of the TV comfortably, engrossed with their favorite TV show, get them to do this for you!

And don’t be bothered to remove the skins for all of them. Just estimate will do. I just did half of it. I don’t bother to put in effort to remove all of them today. I’m lazy. My maid husband is not around to help me when I’m preparing this soup.

Some people like to pre-soak the peanuts overnight (or at least 5 hours) before use. You can do that if you have the time. It will soak away all the peanut skins color.

For me, I have a speedy way. After I removed the peanut skins, I soak it for half to 1 hour. And then, par-boiled it in a boiling water for about 5 minutes, and you can see the color of the water is pale brownish. This color comes from the peanut skin. It’s edible. Don’t worry. But I just personally don’t want this dull color. You can skip all these extra work if you want.

Discard the water…

And your peanut will turn softer, light in color and it’s ready to use.

Method
1. Rinse pork ribs, scald in boiling water for awhile, remove and rinse. (Refer to this if you are unsure on how to prepare the ribs)

2. Wash scallops, red dates, dried octopus. Prepare lotus roots & peanuts according to what I’d mentioned above.

4. In a soup pot, put everything in (except salt). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the soup over low heat for 2 hours. And if you have more time, make it 3 hours.

5. Your soup will definitely have the Umph! after 3 hours! Woohoo!!! Remember to add salt to taste before serve.

Now you can take a look at the soup. And if you were to compare my lotus root soup with others (who also use dried peanuts), you will realized that mine is clearer in color. This is the reason why I always put in extra effort to remove the dried peanut skins.

Now… would you like to have a bowl of soup?

Oh! By the way, I love to dip the pork ribs and the lotus root slices in soy sauce. It’s nice!

Mung Bean & Stinkweed Sweet Soup (绿豆臭草糖水)

My Mother-In-Law always love adding Stinkweed into her Mung Bean Soup. For the 1st time she serve me this, I don’t really like it.

Stinkweed (臭草) is an informal name of a plant called Herba Rutae. Sounds cheem isn’t it? Yea. It sounds cheem to me too. According to the internet, this plant is a chinese medicine for relieving inflammation and pain. To my understanding from the old-folks, this is good to detox our body. I know very little about it. I only know that this is a good stuff. This can be bought from Chinatown wet market. There’s a stall selling varieties of fresh Chinese medicinal plant.

While Mung bean (or people call it green bean) has it’s cooling effect and has the detox effect too. It act as a diuretic, help fortify the stomach and decrease fats. You can get this at any convenient store!

After I knew the goodness of Stinkweed and Mug bean, I started to love this soup. The starchiness & sweetness of the bean itself is simply great.

There’s no recipe given by my Mother-In-Law. All she told me is just “Mung bean, stinkweed, water and rock sugar loh. Just agak-agak (estimate) can already”. Ah.. learning cooking from fellow seniors always must be prepared. Because the word “agak-agak” is their measurement on whatever recipe they use! Hahas…

This is a bowl of goodness that I would recommend you to try, especially when you are living in a country like Singapore & Malaysia… enjoying super hot summer time all year round.

Nothing beats good & nutritious food that you’ve prepared for your loved ones. Right? 🙂

Old-Cucumber Soup (老黄瓜汤)

This is one of the soup that I cook quite often. Simply because it’s easy and Max loves it.Most Cantonese people drink soup with every meal. But who will have such luxurious time to cook a pot of nice soup everyday nowadays? Well, I will at least try when I have time. At least once or twice a week.

There are an endless amount of Chinese soups that are made with a light, simple broth, and most likely eaten with daily meals. Most of the ingredients have medicinal purposes which is difficult to explain.

老黄瓜, literally translated as ‘old yellow cucumber’. Old cucumber is actually matured cucumber, hence its brown in color, wrinkled and hard skin. My grandma told me that old-cucumber is a cooling food. And we consume it to counter the ‘heat’ in our body. Not only that, it is for our skin and helps prevent aging too. Especially for the ladies. Ahh… good for skin!

I hope you are sold by wonderful properties of this soup. Let’s start cooking!

There’s no special skills or particular tricks to cook this. As long as your ingredients are fresh, you are the chef!

Ingredients (Serves 3 – 4, easily)

  • a small Chinese old cucumber
  • about 200g pork ribs. Or just tell the butcher that you wanted S$3.00 soup ribs
  • 1.5 litres of water (it really depends on you)
  • 4 to 5 red dates
  • 4 to 5 dried scallops
  • 1 dried cuttlefish – cut into pieces
  • a handful of Polygonatum odoratum (玉竹) – if you have it at home.
  • salt to taste

Directions

  • Scrub the skin of the old cucumber clean and cut it into half. Scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Cut it into big chunks.
  • Wash dried scallops, dried cuttlefish & red dates
  • Rinse pork ribs, scald in boiling water for awhile. Remove and rinse.
  • In a soup pot, put everything in (except salt). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the soup over low heat for about 40 minutes (if you don’t have time), 2 hours (over very low heat if you have lots of time).
  • Salt to taste, and serve.

Things to take note

1. This is the standard step that you need to do to your pork ribs / bones when you want to cook soup or porridge. Rinse pork ribs, scald in boiling water for awhile, just 1 or 2mins will do. Remove and rinse. And it will be like this before you could use it for your soup….

2. Soup will taste sweeter with dried cuttlefish, scallops & red dates.

3. Aside the benefit of consuming 玉竹 (in Chinese Herbology), it gives abit of “milky” color to the soup, which i personally likes it alot. But it is optional i would say.

And… would you like to have a bowl?

Stay Tuned 🙂