Sunday, June 11, 2017

Chinese Dried Bak Choy (Cole) and Pork Soup...

Summer weather is finally underway... I don't know about you but we've been out and about checking out the diverse food events offered in our cosmopolitan city of tastes. As wonderful as it is to be eating out and trying different cuisines and flavours, at a certain point the body craves something nourishing to combat all the deep-fried, greasy, fatty, sugar-laden, sauce-avalanched goodness or badness... that's me anyways. I guarantee homemade soup is the remedy for all of that, and for us, it's got to be the Chinese kind.

This was my first time making dried bak choy soup. My family adores this unique salty flavour often served as a complementary soup at the beginning of a Chinese meal at restaurants. It is traditionally drunk for body heat relief in Asia. Yes, hot soup to combat internal heat (often from eating processed and less healthy foods). The Chinese believe that these kind of slow-fire soups are not just soups but more like tonics. This is attributed to the concept of balance in one's body, that bak choy soup brings down heat in one's body and so is especially suitable in the hot weather. One that helps restore your insides to get you back on track. Pork, carrots, dates and almonds add to the brew's benefits and harmony of flavours.

At the beginning of the 2-3 hour long-simmering process.

Chinese Dried Bak Choy (Cole) and Pork Soup
Makes 6 to 8 servings

1-1/2 lbs. pork neck bones or 1/2 lb. baby back ribs (cut into chunks) & 1/2 lb. pork loin (cut into cubes)
1/4 pkg. dried bak choy (dehydrated cole)- find in dried vegetable section in Asian supermarket
1 or 2 large carrots, cut into big chunks
8 red dates
2 Tbsp. Chinese almonds or omit
12 cups of water (add more to cover above ingredients 2-inches)
Salt to taste

Bak choy is the most popular and widely-used vegetable in China, where it’s been cultivated for more than 5,000 years. It was dehydrated back in the days for preservation until the next harvest. With an interesting salty flavour, it really elevates the taste in soups, and is full of nutrients-- vitamins C and K, plus a higher concentration of beta-carotene and vitamin A than any other variety of cabbage plus a host of other nutritional benefits.

Rehydrate the dried bak choy for at least two hours (or until soft). Rinse and drain them. Set aside.

To give you a clear soup, first blanch the bones/bones & meat in a large pot with just enough boiling water to cover for a few minutes until the scum has surfaced. Toss in a slice or two of ginger if you have to help rid of the impurities' flavour. Remove the bones/bones & meat from the pot and rinse with cold water. Rinse and wipe the pot; bring water to a boil and add the pork, carrots, red dates and almonds with a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 2-3 hours. Add salt to taste.

Enjoy alone or eat along a bowl of steamed rice! Delicious to the last drop!

For more nourishing Asian soup options check out my post I've Got A Soup For That (Yum Tong)...

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