This black beans with pork ribs soup has such an earthy, full-bodied taste from just a few ingredients, that it makes me wonder where all that flavour comes from. This is where I have to occasionally remind myself not to dismiss the potential of a soup recipe, just by looking at its seemingly simple ingredients. This is one soup where every listed ingredient, however small in quantity, contributes significantly to its overall flavour, so try not to skip anything!
This soup is considered to have ‘warming’ properties in Chinese food therapy, and is loaded with nutrients. Dried beans, in general, are rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, dietary fibre and protein – all essential elements for building energy, contributing to healthy growth, as well as maintaining and repairing body tissues, cells and muscles.
Black beans, in particular, have been found in a research study, to contain the highest level of anti-oxidant activity followed in descending order, by red, brown, yellow and white beans. In this study, black beans were found to be as rich, in anti-oxidant compounds called anthocyanins, as grapes and cranberries. In fact, it contains 10 times the amount of anti-oxidants as found in the same amount of oranges. Chinese medical practitioners believe that black beans nourish the kidneys and promotes fertility. It is believed that the energy of the kidney system is important for reproduction as well as fertility enhancement (source:www.acupuncturechicago.blogspot.sg).In this soup, black beans are stewed with dried tangerine peel as the peel enhances the flavour of the beans. The peel itself is not without medicinal value – on the contrary, dried tangerine peel is a healthy source of bioflavonoids, and helps improve digestion as well as reduce infections. You should be able to easily obtain dried tangerine peel from most Asian grocers in your local area.When cooking any soup containing black beans, be prepared to have your soup turn a dark brownish-black colour as well. This is perfectly normal and hopefully, doesn’t deter you from consuming an otherwise, delicious, healthy and nutritious soup!This recipe serves 2 to 3 persons (source with modification: “Healthy Chinese Soups and Drinks” by author Susan Chan).
BLACK BEANS WITH PORK RIBS SOUP RECIPE
300 gm Pork Ribs
1/3 cup Black Beans, soaked in water for 30 minutes, washed and drained
1/4 Dried Tangerine Peel, soaked in water for 15 minutes, washed, bitter pith removed
1-cm piece of Ginger, peeled and sliced
3 cups Chicken Stock or Water
Sea Salt, to taste
1. In a small saucepan, bring water to boil and parboil the pork ribs for a few minutes to remove scum and grit. Discard the water, and wash well.
2. Place all ingredients (except salt) in a slow cooker. Cook on Auto or High setting for at least 2 hours, or till beans are soft. If cooking in a deep pot, bring all the ingredients in stock or water to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for at least 2 hours, or till beans are soft . Season to taste. Serve hot or warm.