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3 Herbal Pork Soup Recipes

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The 3 Chinese herbal pork soup pair pork ribs or lean pork fillet with an array of Chinese herbs to address a variety of conditions.

The first 2 recipes uses pork ribs and the last one uses lean pork.

1. 4-taste soup

One of the most popular herbal pork soup is the 4-taste soup or 四味汤 (si wei tang). This healthy soup features 4 mild Chinese herbs fondly known as the 4 officials in traditional Chinese dietary therapy. It is taken frequently to maintain general good health, loosely translated as the 4-taste soup.

These 4 herbs are good for the stomach. They strengthen the spleen. If you suffer from indigestion and diarrhoea, this soup should be great for you. You should avoid this if you have constipation.

Ingredients

  • 2.5g lotus seeds
  • 2.5g euryale seeds
  • 2.5g coix seeds
  • 2.5g poria
  • 2.5g danggui
  • 100g fresh Chinese yam
  • 300g pork ribs
  • 4 cups water

Seasonings

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cooking wine

The Chinese yam in soup packs are obviously the dried type. The difference is that fresh Chinese yam can be eaten while the dried ones are not as nice.

Be careful when peeling fresh Chinese yam, they can be slippery. If you do not know how a fresh Chinese yam look like, here's a picture and another recipe.

Directions for Steaming

  1. Wash and soak the lotus seeds, euryale seeds, coix seeds in warm water. Soaking re-hydrates and soften the seeds
  2. Peel the Chinese yam and slice thinly
  3. Wash the pork ribs and parboil
  4. Place the Chinese yam, lotus seeds, euryale seeds, coix seeds, poria, and pork ribs into a ceramic bowl
  5. Add the water until it covers the ingredients. Depending on your soup container, it might not need 4 cups of water.
  6. Place the bowl in a steamer or big wok and steam for 20 to 30 minutes
  7. Add salt and wine before serving

The recipe calls for steaming the soup. If you have a double-boiling jar, you can try double-boiling it. I hope you enjoy trying out this healthy soup recipe with 4 classic herbs.

2. Pork soup with pork ribs and lotus seeds

Close up shot of dried lotus seeds. Photo by Phoebe Lim

This soup is a gentle tonic and is refreshing for summer. I love to cook it till the lotus seeds are so soft they melt in my mouth and the pork is falling off the ribs.

Lotus seeds are usually sold in dried form. Before use, soak for about 30 minutes. Remove the brownish skins by rubbing them in your palms. They usually already have the bitter seeds removed.

If you are using fresh lotus seeds, remember to remove the skins and seeds. Try to buy those already skinned and pitted. It would save you a lot of preparation work.

If you like the pork ribs to be tender, lengthen the cooking time. Do not turn up the heat.

Ingredients

  • 300g prime pork ribs
  • 80g lotus seeds
  • 80g carrot
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 1500ml water
  • Seasonings
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine

Directions for the Stove Top

  1. Cut ribs into pieces. Parboil in water for about 3 minutes. Drain and trim away any fats or dirt
  2. Soak the lotus seeds with cold water till soft.You can cut the lotus seeds in half if you want
  3. Wash, peel and cut the carrots into small chunks (slightly smaller than the pork ribs)
  4. Bring the water to a boil in a large soup pot, add the pork ribs, lotus seeds, carrots and ginger
  5. Bring the Chinese pork soup to a boil again and lower the heat to a simmer
  6. Simmer for 1 hour
  7. Add salt and cooking wine before serving

Directions for the Slow Cooker

  1. Prepare the ingredients as per step 1 to 3
  2. In the slow cooker, place the pork ribs, lotus seeds, carrots and ginger and add hot water
  3. Use high heat to bring the soup to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer
  4. Add the cooking wine
  5. Simmer for 1.5 to 2 hour
  6. Add salt before serving

3. Lean pork soup with American ginseng and red dates

This is a great summer soup tonic.

Ingredients

  • 20g american ginseng
  • 300g lean pork
  • 3 candied dates
  • 6 cups of water

Candied dates gives extra sweetness to the clear broth.

The recipe here uses the thermal cooker but you can use the slow cooker too. Use a normal soup pot for the first 20 minutes and shorten the cooking time by about 1 hour.

Directions

  1. Cut the lean pork into medium-sized chunks
  2. Parboil the pork for about 5 minutes
  3. Crush the american ginseng slightly with the side of your knife
  4. Bring the water to a boil in the inner pot of the thermal pot and add all the ingredients
  5. Bring the water back to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes
  6. Remove inner pot from heat and transfer to the outer pot, cover and let it cook for 2 hours
  7. Season with some salt before serving

Happy Souping, Phoebe