This soup has light, sweet refreshing flavours of papaya and figs, with cool, citrus tones of tangerine in a savoury broth made by slow-stewing meaty pork ribs in chicken broth.  It is as appetising and delicious as it sounds, and loaded with essential phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins. The Chinese have long believed in the medicinal properties of the papaya fruit, or paw paw as it is often called.  While the fruit, when unripe, should not be eaten raw due to a toxic alkaloid present in its milky latex, it is consumed safely when cooked in soups, stews and stir-fries, and surpasses many fruits in terms of its nutritional and medicinal value.

In traditional Chinese medicine, papayas are considered neutral in nature.  Eating this fruit is believed to strengthen the stomach and spleen, aid digestion, clear heat, lubricate the lungs, alleviate cough, relieve irritability, kill parasitic worms and increase milk production for breast feeding in women (source:


The fig fruit is a wonderful accompaniment to papaya here as it also helps strengthen the stomach and clean the intestine. It works to reduce inflammation and rids the body of toxins. Figs are also acknowledged for their anti-cancer properties.

This recipe serves 3 to 4 persons.


300 gm Pork Ribs

300 gm Unripe (Green) Papaya, peeled, 

   seeds removed, washed and cut into bite size chunks
7 Dried Figs, washed
1 tbsp Sweet Almonds, washed
1 tbsp Bitter Almonds, washed
1/8  Dried Tangerine Peel (roughly the size of a tablespoon),
   soaked in water for 15 minutes, bitter pith removed or scraped off,
   thoroughly washed

Chicken Stock or Water

Sea Salt, to taste


1.  Fill a saucepan or small pot with water and bring to a boil.  Put in pork ribs and blanch for a minute or so to remove impurities. Discard the water and wash the meat clear of all scum.

2.  Put all the ingredients into a pot. Pour in chicken stock or water until just enough to immerse all the ingredients. Bring all the ingredients in stock or water to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for at least 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until meat is tender. If cooking in a slow cooker, use Automatic setting and cook for 4 hours, or until meat is tender.

3.  When serving, scoop a little of each ingredient into individual serving bowls and fill with soup. Alternatively, you may scoop all the ingredients into a large soup dish and fill with soup. Serve hot.