An article about Chinese vegetarian soup recipes with 3 recipes for vegetarian rice porridge.
Traditional Chinese vegetarian dishes used a lot of mock meats which are often made of highly processed wheat. There are mock pork, mock duck, mock prawns, mock calamari, and etc. You name it and they will try to "mock" it.
Mock meats are basically made with either soy, wheat gluten or mushrooms. Many are highly processed and heavily flavoured with artificial additives.
I still remember drinking a Chinese vegetarian soup made up of mock prawns, calamari, fish and salted vegetables. I had severe indigestion after that and vowed never to touch mock seafood again. But mock foodstuffs are quite popular. Perhaps fans have very good digestive systems.
Many people turn vegetarian because of personal conviction. That killing animals for food is cruel. Eating mock meats make sense to them. However, those who become vegetarian for health reasons should avoid mock meats. Go 100% meat-free using fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and fungus.
I have made some flavor-packed vegetarian soups with only vegetables, legumes and fungus.
Snow pea shoots and tofu soup.
One of the difficulties of finding truly vegetarian Chinese soups in restaurants is the soup stock used to prepare the soup. The ingredients in the soup could be all vegetables but the stock could have been made with chicken, pork or seafood. What we need is
Carrot, onion and celery are the 3 most common vegetables used to make stocks. Sometimes browning, frying or roasting the ingredients first before boiling them can intensify their flavour. Chinese mushrooms are usually indispensable too.
Try these 2 soup stocks made only with vegetables.
A common issue with a vegetarian diet is the lack of proteins. This can be quite easily solved by the addition of eggs and tofu.
If you are not a vegan, vegetarian egg drop soups are perfect for you, especially combined with fresh vegetables like sweet corn or tomato. Try this chinese sweet corn soup. This is a clear soup with fresh corn kernels. The recipe calls for chicken stock but if you replace it with a vegetable stock, it becomes vegetarian. I am tempted to add some chopped onions too. If you prefer the creamy version, you can use a stick blender to puree the corn.
Or these fresh tomato egg drop soups. Again, clear soups with beautiful strands of egg floating around. Red and yellow, such attractive colours.
Finally, a variety of tofu products can be used in vegetarian soups. Soft and firm tofu add bulk while tofu puffs add texture.
I love this tomato and silken tofu soup because it is so simple to make. I sometimes garnish it with chopped spring onion but it isn't necessary.
Root vegetables are popular with vegetarians. I like adding carrot, lotus root, arrowroot, taro and more into soups. If you have gastric problems, these are really good comforting food.
The Chinese also uses a wide variety of mushrooms to make vegetarian soups. Dried chinese mushrooms have this intense flavour. Soak with water to rehydrate them. Strain the soaking water and add to the soup. Fresh mushrooms are also popular. Use a variety of mushrooms such as enoki, chinese, oyster, abalone, button, moss and more in a single dish. Yummilicious!
Make some healthy vegetarian porridge by adding different types of vegetables, fresh mushrooms and non-meat ingredients into plain rice congee.
Chinese dried mushrooms, wood and cloud ear fungus, taro, sweet potato, and carrot are quite common ingredients added to plain rice congee to bulk it up and increase the nutritional value.
A pot of rice porridge with pieces of sweet potato. A classic Hokkien fare.
I personally like sweet potato chunks in my congee. One day I will sit down and write up the recipe but it is very simple actually. Just steam the sweet potato, peel, cut into chunks and add to rice congee. Yummm.
I have 3 vegetarian rice porridge recipes here.
Now that you know more about Chinese vegetarian soup, stock and rice congee, add them to your repertoire and I'm sure your vegetarian diet would be so much easier to maintain.