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SOUP IN CHINESE COOKING

Clear Corn SoupSoups in Chinese cooking are used very differently. At ordinary Chinese home meals, there is usually a common bowl of soup on the table of which you drink with your porcelain spoon any time of the meal, especially toward the end. Traditionally in China, since water is never and tea rarely served on the table, soup acts a drink.

In soups as well as other savory dishes, the Chinese cook uses MSG. ThiHot and Sour Soups substance salt-like in appearance, has the virtue of bringing out and accentuating the flavor of any foods with which it is employed. In Chinese homes, where chicken figures frequently, chicken stock is, logically used for soups. But thrifty cooks buy giblets whenever possible, and at the same time, ask for the feet in which there is more goodness than one might think. Chicken gizzards, hearts, skinned feet and necks make beautifully clear stock. Chicken livers, which are parts of the giblets one buys, are never used in the stock but are reserved for inclusion in special dishes. Another to which we are more likely to resort, these days, is those very useful chicken cubes which are pretty generally available. In a Chinese restaurant, where they often boil or reheat pork, beef, chicken, duck, and various bones, there is a common soup stock, usually very dilute, that can be served with anything else and is called ' high soup'.
Lotus Root Red Dates Clear Soup

Soups may be divided into light soups and heavy soups. A light soup's ingredients are more for flavorings than for eating. The excellence of Chinese light soups is due to the clear stock and the fresh flavor of the added ingredients which is achieved by the speed at which they are cooked. On the whole, Chinese restaurants do not make thin soups, probably because people are not prepared to pay just to drink a thin soup.

Heavy or thickened soups, a Cantonese specialty, on the other hand, are slow-cooked. A whole fresh chicken, a whole shad, a turtle, or the sea cucumber is usually used, and sometimese Chinese herbal medicines are added and simmered for several hours so to get a liquid that's infused will all the goodness and essence of the ingredients. The two most famous Chinese soups of this type, shark's fin soup and bird's nest soup appear to be thickened but the glutinous texture does, in neither case, result from the addition of cornstarch but from the two main ingredients, shark fin and bird's nests which are simmered for many hours.

Shark's FinAs the Chinese are the only people who can make sensible use of shark fins they are exported by Chinese traders to countries all over the world. The nests in making bird's nest soups are exclusively those of swiflets, the birds from the family of common swallow. These highly prized nests are built and clung to the ceiling of the caves as high as 70m by the birds mostly of seaweed that is mixed by their own saliva, making the process of harvesting an ordeal and expensive. Swiflets nests are mostly found on cliffs in areas along the Southern Chinese coast and South East Asia.

One thing you might observe is that Chinese beef or pork soups are free from strong unpleasant smell. This is because Chinese get rid of the blood when slaughtering the animal, which is the culprit of the odor. One trick to make great soups is to boil the beef/pork for a while and skim off fat and foam from the surfaces of soups. Repeat this a couple of times until none or little foam appears.

There's a Chinese saying "making a pot of good soup can tie a man's heart".

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CHINESE SOUP RECIPES

- Double-Boiled Spring Chicken Soup with Snow Fungus and Quail Eggs
- Pork Soup
- Abalone Soup w/ Chinese Cabbage
- Sparerib Soup
- Egg Drop Soup
- Hot and Sour Soup
- Hot and Sour Soup 2
- Hot and Sour Soup 3
- Vegetable Soup
- Vermicelli Cabbage Soup
- Cabbage Soup
- Peking Soup
- Bird's Nest Soup w/ Mushrooms
- Corn and Fish Soup
- Fish Soup with Chinese Parsley
- Winter Melon Soup (M)
- Cucumber and Pork Soup
- Papaya Spareribs Soup
- Tomato and Pork's Liver Soup
- Ox Marrow with Lemon Soup
- Chicken with Mushroom and Ham Soup
- Honey Dew Spare Rib Soup
- Stewed Turtle Soup with Chicken Feet
- Lamb and Turnip Soup
- Vegetarian Nori Soup
- Vegetarian Shark's Fin Soup
- Chopped Liver Soup
- Tomato Soup with Egg Flower
- Meat Ball Soup with Chinese Cabbage
- Abalone Soup with Meat Balls
- Sweetcorn and Egg Chowder
- Double-boiled Fish Maw and Dried Scallop Soup
- Chicken Feet Soup with Snow Fungus
- Sea Coconut Chicken Soup
- Cucumber and Mushroom Soup
- Bird’s Nest Soup with Chicken
- Winter Melon and Spare Rib Soup
- Frog Soup with Bittergourd & Lotus Seeds
- Tian Qi Sparerib Soup
- Green Apple with Almond & Spare Rib Soup
- Duck with Preserved Mustard Soup
- Small Red Bean and Sole Black Garlic Soup
- Chinese Clear Chicken with Mushroom Soup
- Herbal Duck Soup

- Shark's Fin Soup - Clear
- Shark's Fin Soup
- Fish Maw Soup
- Seaweed and Egg Soup
- Winter melon Soup
- Fish Soup
- Spinach and Beancurd Soup
- Beancurd and Mung bean Threads Soup
- Pigeon and Sea Cucumber Soup
- Suzhou Beancurd Broth
- Corn Soup
- Beancurd and Spinach Soup
- Chicken Herbal Soup (M)
- Wholesome Vegetable Soup
- Crabmeat Soup
- Seven Happiness Soup
- Sea Moss and Mushroom Soup
- Broad Bean Soup with Sea Cucumber
- Hairy Gourd Soup with Frog and Conpoy
- Stewed Pigeon Soup w/ Dried White Fungus
- Chestnut Duck Soup
- Lotus Root Soup w/ Mungbeans & Beef Brisket
- Pacific Clam Soup
- Supreme Mushroom Soup
- Pickled Mustard Greens and Pork Soup
- Fresh & Salted Pork Soup with Bamboo Shoot
- Chicken and Spinach Soup
- Shredded Meat and Vegetable Soup
- Lotus Root and Pork Soup
- Whole Chicken Soup
- Chicken Ginseng Soup
- Double-boiled Fish Maw and Chicken Soup
- Double Boiled Sea Cucumber and Chicken Soup
- Fried Tofu and Radish Soup
- Hairy Gourd Egg Soup
- Aloe Vera and Spare Rib Soup
- Dried Fig and Pork Soup
- Old Ginger Mutton Soup
- Burdock and Sparerib Soup
- Sichuan Seafood Hot Sour Soup

(M) = Microwave Recipe


   

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Last Modified: 11/28/11.