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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lotus Root with Peanut Soup 莲藕花生排骨汤

This is one of my few personal comfort food and it probably is yet another classic dish among the Chinese community. A few ingredients and this hot bowl of soup will almost guarantee anyone a satisfied and an all warmed up stomach at the end of it. 

I have to say that I honestly know not much about Chinese soup. Recalling what I think I do know about this soup - well I do remember my mom telling me about this soup regulating our body temperature. It tames down what Chinese would call "yit hei". Not literally bringing down the normal 98.6 °F body temperature, but it actually refers to that excessive internal heat in our body that Chinese believe often is the culprit for minor sickness like sore throat, headache or well...lets just say a not-so-smooth bowel movement too lol. And I do remember my uni room-mate, ChanSee once mentioned that it works just as well in modulating our blood circulations. Citing from the Wikipedia page, "Lotus roots have been found to be rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, copper, and manganese, while very low in saturated fat". So all good I guess?

Lotus Root with Peanut Soup 莲藕花生排骨汤
Serves 3-4
4-5 sections of lotus root (~2lbs)
2lbs pork ribs (I opted for the baby back ribs)
3/4 cup raw peanuts, rinsed and soaked overnight
10-12 red dated, soaked to soften and seeds removed
~3L water
salt to taste

1. Wash the pork ribs, trimming away excess fat then chop them into smaller pieces. Blanch the ribs in boiling water removing the scum and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, put the 3L of water to boil in the stock pot. While it takes its time to boil, we can then work on the lotus root. Wash them under running water, remove the skin with a knife or peeler and cut them into thin pieces.
3. Once the water is ready, bring in all the ingredients and let boil. Once it starts boiling, cover and turn down the heat to medium-low. Leave to boil for optimally at least another four hours.
4. Add in salt to taste right before serving.

I have to admit that I do get a little too particular when it comes to making Chinese soup. I believe that it is one that really requires time and probably should not be done if time is a limiting factor. On any Chinese soup days at home, I will usually get them started even before noon and they will be simmering away for at least some good seven hours before we will have them for dinner. So I have to note here that the 3L of water is a rough estimation. It probably looks a little more than usual to start with, but having them simmering continuously through the hours, the water level will eventually drop to an acceptable level.  

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