If you like lotus root as well as old cucumber, there’s certainly no reason why you can’t enjoy both in the same soup! I picked out this recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks on double-stewed Chinese soups.
To enhance the flavour and nutritional content of the soup even more, I used home-made chicken broth, added dried squid and also a generous handful of nutritious black beans for increased dietary fibre. Comfort food at its best!
The lotus root is a nutritionally rich source of calcium, iron and fibre. These nutrients are seen as highly essential – calcium impacts our bone strength and density and influences heart function; iron boosts production of blood haemoglobin and myoglobin production; and fibre helps maintain digestive and bowel health. The lotus root is also a beneficial source of anti-oxidants (source: http://www.livestrong.com).In Chinese food therapy, the lotus root is of a ‘cool’ nature and believed to reduce internal ‘heat’. It is also said that it replenishes ‘Qi’ and nourishes the blood, thereby improving the body’s immune system, and invigorates the spleen. Eating lotus root can also improve poor appetite, and helps improve digestive health.
Old cucumber is also of a cool nature, and is believed to aid detoxification and ease throat pain caused by some illnesses. It is also nutrient-rich with vitamin E, hence it’s usefulness as an anti-ageing ingredient, and vitamin B1, which is essential for our brain and nervous system.
Here is the recipe, which serves 4 persons (source with modifications: ‘Double-Stewed Soups’ by author, Patsie Cheong).
LOTUS ROOT WITH OLD CUCUMBER SOUP RECIPE
500 gm Pork Ribs
10 Chicken Feet (optional)
400 gm Old Cucumber
300 gm Lotus Root
150 gm Groundnuts or Peanuts
3 tbsp, heaped, of Black Beans
10 Red Dates
1/4 of 1 Dried Squid
2 to 3 Dried Scallops
Chicken Stock (or Water)
Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste
1. Wash and soak peanuts in hot water for at least half an hour to one hour. Discard the water, and wash thoroughly. Wash dried scallops, and soak in hot water until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Drain and discard the soaking water. Wash the black beans. Wash the red dates and dried squid thoroughly.
2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the lotus root. Wash and cut into roughly 1-cm thick slices. Wash the old cucumber thoroughly. With skin intact, cut into half length-wise. Using a table spoon, scoop out all the seeds. Wash and cut into thick segments.
3. Meanwhile, fill a saucepan or small pot with water and bring to a boil. Put in pork ribs and chicken feet and blanch for a minute or so to remove impurities. Discard the water and wash the meat clear of all scum and grit.
4. Put all the ingredients into a slow cooker. Pour in chicken stock or water until just enough to immerse all the ingredients. Cook on Auto or High setting for at least 4 hours. 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 3 hours, or longer (as this is a soup in which the flavours will develop and come together better with a longer simmering time), or until meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. Season to taste. Serve hot or warm.