The pumpkin is a very versatile food, and we often hear of pumpkin pies, pumpkin cakes, fries and snacks, and of course, it’s association with Halloween in Western culture.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the pumpkin is highly valued for its health and medicinal benefits. It effectively relieves damp conditions of the body such as dysentery and eczema, and promotes discharge of mucus from the lungs, bronchi and throat, thereby easing bronchial asthma.
Its seeds are especially good for intestinal health, as it helps rid the intestines of parasites and alleviates constipation (source: http://www.naturalnews.com).
Nutritionally, the pumpkin is a powerhouse of many anti-oxidants, such as vitamins A, C and E. It is very low in calories, only a mere 26 calories per 100 gm. It does not contain cholesterol or saturated fats, but is rich in dietary fibre, anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins (source: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com).
Here’s an easy recipe that brings together the sweet-tasting pumpkin flesh with tangy tomatoes, carrots and sweet red dates for a tasty, refreshing, flavourful soup.
Serves 4 persons.
PUMPKIN WITH TOMATO AND PORK RIBS SOUP RECIPE
300 gm Pork Ribs or Meat
300 gm Pumpkin (Japanese variety), seeds removed, skin intact, cut into bite size chunks
2 Tomatoes, quartered
1 Carrot, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
10 small Red Dates, pitted
Chicken Stock or Water
Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste
1. Fill a saucepan or small pot with water and bring to a boil. Put in pork ribs or meat 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 stewing pot. Pour in chicken stock or water until just enough to immerse all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and let simmer for 3 to 4 hours. Season to taste.
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.