Homemade Cantonese Lotus Root Soup

This is one of my favorite soup in our household and it brings back memories to the time when we were kids drinking this pretty often. This is really simple to cook and the preparation time is fairly short. You can choose to cook this in the slow cooker or regular pot over the stove.

This recipe feeds 4 adults.

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For the base of the soup, we are using chicken bones. 3 chicken whole body bone and 1 whole breast meat with the soft bone as well as 2 chicken feet. You can feel free to change the meat to pork bones ( about 300gram pork back bones )

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Next we have 1 whole lotus root peeled. 9 pieces of red dates, 3 pieces of dried sweet date, 2 pieces of dried cuttlefish, 300 grams of raw peanuts and 2 litres of water. You can get all of the dried items from your local provision stores or your wet market. Some of the items like dried cuttlefish and sweet plum might not be available at supermarkets.

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First, you need to blanch the chicken bone, feet and breast. Quick tip is to put the chicken bones and start the boil from cold water instead of putting them in when the water has boiled. This step is to remove any blood water or protein scum that comes out from the meat itself. This will remove any ‘raw’ or ‘fishy’ taste from the meat. This is done for pork as well. The reason why we should start from cold water is because if you put the meat only in hot water, the heat sealed in the ‘raw’ , ‘fishy’ taste instead of removing it. Additional tip from my mum is to include white vinegar and ginger slices in the water while boiling to make this step more efficient.

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This is the result of boiling the bones for 5 – 10mins. You can stop boiling them once you see this frothy stuff floating at the top of the water . These are the protein scum that we should get rid. Next, rinse the everything with cold water and make sure to especially wash away any scum on the meat or bones. You can place the bones and meat in the pot once you are done rinsing.

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I chose to blanch the peanuts as well to remove any earthy taste. This step also helps the peanut to soften easier and release the fragrance faster when you cook the soup. You can take out the peanuts once the water boil.

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For the rest of the ingredients, you just need to cut or tear them up into smaller pieces to ease their releasing of aroma and taste into the soup. I have also pitted the red dates so that they don’t end up in the soup.

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Place everything in the pot and you can start cooking. The key is to place the entire lotus root into the pot and not cut it up. This is to prevent it from being all mushy in the process of boiling. Start with high heat and when the water comes to a boil, lower the heat to mild fire and continue to boil the soup for another 2 – 3 hours. If you notice the soup drying up at any point, you can add boiled or hot water to continue boiling so that you get sufficient soup. Do not worry about the soup being bland as you can only add water while you are still cooking and the ingredients will continue to release flavours. Once the soup is nearly done, you cannot add any more water.

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Once the soup is done, you can remove the lotus root and slice them into the size of your preference. I did not add any other seasoning as the natural sweetness of the ingredients were sufficient. Depending on individual taste buds , you can add some light soy sauce for taste.

Ingredients Recap:

3 chicken body bones

1 chicken breast with soft bone

2 chicken feet

1 lotus root peeled

300 grams peanuts

2 dried cuttlefish

9 red dates, pitted

3 dried sweet plum

2 litres of water

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