Chinese Pork and Corn Soup

Friday, October 4, 2013

I'm feeling a bit under the weather, so that only means one thing. I am craving a big bowl of hot brothy soup more than ever. If you come from a Chinese family, then you will know that every dinner begins with a bowl of soup or tong as we call it.



It is one of the things I miss most about being at home. Since I don't live under my mother's roof anymore, big pots of tong is hard to come by and honestly any other type of soup that's bought will either be over-salted and wouldn't hit the spot in the same way a nice bowl of homemade tong makes me feel better.

So, I present you another super easy soup to make, a four ingredient soup made with pork, corn, carrots and turnips. Honestly this soup is so easy to make that it shouldn't require a recipe, but if you didn't grow up stalking your mom in the kitchen or with your mom calling you and harassing asking you if you've made any tong lately (then giving you suggestions on things to put in your soup), then hopefully this will act as some inspiration on how you can get your quick fix!

This recipe is actually pretty similar to my other Chinese pork soup recipe, except this one replaces daikon with corn and turnip. Corn because it adds so much sweetness to my soup, and because I love fresh corn!


I used turnips in this recipe instead because I didn't want to head to Chinatown and couldn't find daikon at Fairway. Okay, I lied about that one - I'm using it because I figured it's an easier vegetable to find for those of you who have less diverse supermarkets, they definitely have daikon at Fairway. (Side note: turnip was $1.29/lb vs daikon that's $1.49/lb, so seriously this was a no brainer)

For the most part, any mild flavored root vegetable would do - turnips, radish, daikon, potatoes even!

Finally, I picked up some pork rib tips, mainly for the fact that it seemed to have a good layer of fat, combined with pork bone and a bit of meat in it. The pork bones help add more depth of flavor to the soup but in a crunch, I supposed you could use other cuts of pork as well. I've also used pork neck (soup) bones before, so that definitely works. If you want more bites of meat in your soup, you can add some pork butt too.


Now that you have all of the 4 ingredients, it's time to get cookin'! As I mentioned in my other post, blanching the pork bones for a few minutes in a separate pot of water is a must. It helps get rid of all the impurities, bloody bits and other things you don't want from your pork bones in your soup. It will help your soup become a beautiful clear broth.

Once you have that step down, cut up your veggies, add it all to a pot of hot water, boil on medium heat for about an hour, and you'll have a piping hot bowl of brothy soup to enjoy. The outcome is a soup that's so sweet and rich that I didn't even need to salt it. The dried scallops definitely added extra flavor and umami to the soup. The natural flavors of each ingredient shines through.

Mmmmm.....


Please excuse the huge bubbles of oil in the photo above. Usually when I'm less lazy (or sick!), I would skim the fat. Alternatively, you can put your soup in the fridge and wait until the fat congeals and quickly scoop all of it out that way. In case you're wondering, since drinking this soup last night, I have skimmed the fat and tossed it out in the garbage.

Two Final Notes

  1. I added my Chinese soup trifecta to my soup. I'm talking about none other than dried dates for sweetness (although the corn definitely added some sweetness to the broth), dried goji berries and dried scallops because I had it in my pantry and need to use it up. 
  2. Along with any bowl of Chinese soup is a sauce dish filled with Maggi soy sauce and a drop of sesame oil to eat your root vegetables with. 
Now, go and make yourself a big pot of tong and make my (and maybe your) mother proud!

Chinese Pork and Corn Soup

1.5 lb pork rib tips or pork bones
1 ears corn, husked and cut into fourths
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
water

Optional
2 dried dates
1 handful dried goji berries
4 dried scallops

1. Blanch pork bones. In a large pot (I used a 6-quart stockpot), fill up with 1/3 from the top with water - enough to cover the pork bones later. As you boil the water, peel and cut your vegetables. Once the water is boiling, gently drop in the pork bones. Blanch for about 5 minutes, or until you see foamy impurities float to the top. Strain the water and rinse pork in cold water for 1/2 minute. Set pork bones aside.

2. Boil water and add ingredients. After quickly rinsing the large pot, fill up with 1/2 from the top with water (I used about 12-cups). Bring to boil in high heat. As the water is boiling, rinse all your dried ingredients to make sure it is clean. Once water boils, add the pork bones, the dried ingredients and the vegetables to the water. Bring to boil and then reduce to a low simmer.

3. Simmer and serve. Simmer for 1 hr, although you can serve it sooner than that if you like - you can definitely scoop up a bowl, and continue simmering the soup for up to 2 hrs.

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