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A Complete Guide: Chinese Cucumber Soup Recipe

Chinese cucumber soup is a light and refreshing soup that is perfect for any time of year. It is easy to make and can be served hot or cold, making it a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in any season. The soup is made with Chinese old cucumbers, which are known for their crisp texture and mild flavour.

A pot of simmering Chinese cucumber soup with sliced cucumbers, ginger, and scallions, surrounded by traditional Chinese soup bowls and chopsticks

To make Chinese cucumber soup, you will need a few key ingredients, including pork bones, chicken bones, dried scallops, and wolfberries. These ingredients add depth and complexity to the soup, while the cucumber provides a refreshing and light flavour. You can also add other ingredients to the soup, such as dried oysters or dates, to further enhance the flavour.

If you are looking for a way to add some seafood to your Chinese cucumber soup, you can try adding dried cuttlefish or dried shrimp. These ingredients will add a subtle seafood flavour to the soup and will complement the cucumber and other ingredients nicely. Be sure to soak the dried seafood in water before adding it to the soup to soften it and bring out its flavour.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese cucumber soup is a light and refreshing soup that can be served hot or cold.
  • The soup is made with Chinese old cucumbers, pork bones, chicken bones, dried scallops, and wolfberries.
  • Dried cuttlefish or dried shrimp can be added to the soup to give it a subtle seafood flavour.

Understanding Chinese Cucumber Soup

A steaming pot of Chinese cucumber soup, filled with sliced cucumbers, fragrant herbs, and savory broth, simmering on a stove

If you're looking for a light and refreshing soup that's perfect for hot weather, then Chinese cucumber soup is a great option. This soup is a staple in many Cantonese families and is popular in Singapore, Malaysia and other parts of Asia. It's made with old cucumbers, which are cucumbers that have matured and have a yellowish skin and a harder texture than regular cucumbers.

One of the main benefits of Chinese cucumber soup is its cooling properties, which makes it a popular choice during the hot summer months. In traditional Chinese medicine, it's believed that foods can be classified as either yin or yang, and cucumber is considered a yin food, which means it has cooling properties that can help to balance the body's internal temperature.

Cucumber soup is also low in calories and fat, making it a great option for those who are watching their diet. It's also rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium.

To make the soup, you'll need a few key ingredients, including old cucumbers, pork ribs or chicken legs, and dried seafood such as scallops or cuttlefish. The seafood adds an umami flavour to the soup and is a great way to boost its nutritional value.

Here's a list of ingredients you'll need for the soup:

  • 1 old cucumber
  • 500g pork ribs or chicken legs
  • 10 red dates
  • 6 dried scallops
  • 1 dried cuttlefish
  • 1 sweet corn, cut into small pieces
  • 1 carrot, medium-sized, peeled and cut
  • Salt, to taste

To make the soup, start by scrubbing the skin of the old cucumber and cutting it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Then, blanch the pork ribs or chicken legs in boiling water for a few minutes to remove any impurities. Rinse the meat and set it aside.

Next, soak the dried scallops and cuttlefish in hot water for 15 minutes until they become soft. Rinse them and set them aside. In a large pot, add the pork ribs or chicken legs, the old cucumber, red dates, dried scallops, and cuttlefish. Add enough water to cover the ingredients and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender and the soup is flavourful.

Finally, add the sweet corn and carrot to the soup and simmer for another 10-15 minutes until they become soft. Season the soup with salt to taste and serve hot.

Chinese cucumber soup is a delicious and nutritious soup that's perfect for hot weather. It's easy to make and can be customized with your favourite ingredients, including seafood. Give it a try and enjoy its cooling properties and health benefits!

Key Ingredients and Substitutions

A cutting board with sliced cucumbers, ginger, and scallions. A pot with simmering broth and a ladle. Ingredients like sesame oil and soy sauce nearby

Main Components

The main components of Chinese cucumber soup are old cucumber, red dates, and salt. Old cucumber is a type of cucumber that has matured and has a thicker skin. It has a slightly sweet and mildly bitter taste, and is believed to have cooling properties that can help reduce internal heat in the body. Red dates, also known as jujubes, add a natural sweetness to the soup and are believed to be good for digestion. Salt is added to enhance the flavour of the soup and balance out the sweetness of the other ingredients.

Other possible additions to the soup include carrot, sweet corn, and lotus root. These ingredients can add additional flavour and texture to the soup.

Herbal Additions

Herbs can be added to the soup to enhance its flavour and nutritional value. Common herbs used in Chinese cucumber soup include dried seafood, dried oysters, and chicken feet. Dried scallops and cuttlefish can also be added to the soup to give it a savoury umami flavour.

If you prefer to use seafood in your soup, you can use prawns or fish instead of the dried seafood. Prawns can be added to the soup towards the end of the cooking process, while fish can be added at the beginning and allowed to cook until tender.

Protein Choices

Pork is the most common protein used in Chinese cucumber soup. Pork bones or meaty pork ribs can be used to add flavour and nutrition to the soup. Chicken can also be used as a substitute for pork. You can use chicken carcass or chicken thighs with meat to make the soup. Beef bones are another possible substitute for pork.

Chinese cucumber soup is a delicious and nutritious soup that can be made using a variety of ingredients. By using the above key ingredients and substitutions, you can create a soup that is tailored to your taste and nutritional needs.

Preparation Techniques

Fresh cucumbers and aromatic herbs are being sliced and chopped on a wooden cutting board, while a pot of broth simmers on the stove

Cleaning and Prepping

Before making Chinese cucumber soup, you need to clean and prep the cucumbers. Start by washing the cucumbers thoroughly and then peel off the skin. The skin of the cucumber is tough, and it is not recommended to use it in the soup. After peeling the cucumber, cut it into large 2 inches chunks. You can remove the seeds with a spoon or leave them in, depending on your preference.

If you are using seafood in your soup, make sure to clean and prep it as well. For example, if you are using dried scallops, rinse them thoroughly and soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Cooking Methods

There are different methods of cooking Chinese cucumber soup, including using a slow cooker or pressure cooker. However, the most common method is simmering the soup over low heat for a few hours.

To make the soup, start by blanching the meat (pork ribs, pork bones, chicken bones, or seafood) in a pot of hot water. This helps to remove any impurities and ensures that the soup is clear. After blanching the meat, add the cucumber, red dates, and any other ingredients you want to use.

Simmer the soup over low heat for at least 2 hours, or until the cucumber is soft and the soup is flavourful. You can add more water if the soup becomes too thick.

Here is a recipe to help you get started:

Print Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 small to medium-sized Chinese old cucumber
  • 1.3 litres of water
  • 10 red dates
  • 200g pork ribs
  • 1 piece dried cuttlefish
  • 6 dried scallops
  • 1 sweet corn, cut into small pieces
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Blanch pork ribs, dried cuttlefish, and dried scallops in a pot of hot water. Remove any scum on the surface of the soup, if any.
  2. Add old cucumber, red dates, sweet corn, and carrot into the pot.
  3. Bring the soup to a boil again and reduce the heat to low fire. Simmer for 2-3 hours.
  4. Add salt to taste.

If you want to use seafood in your soup, you can add dried oysters or cuttlefish. Make sure to clean and prep them before adding them to the soup.

Making Chinese cucumber soup is easy and straightforward. With a few simple ingredients and some patience, you can create a delicious and nutritious soup that is perfect for any occasion.

Nutritional Information

A bowl of Chinese cucumber soup with ingredients and nutritional information displayed on a label next to it

Chinese cucumber soup is a nutritious soup that is packed with essential nutrients that are good for your health. Here is a breakdown of the nutritional information for a typical serving of Chinese cucumber soup:

  • Calories: 224 kcal
  • Fat: 26 g
  • Protein: 18 g
  • Sodium: 673 mg
  • Cholesterol: 41 mg
  • Dietary Fiber: 4 g
  • Calcium: 72 mg
  • Iron: 2 mg
  • Vitamin A: 254 IU

As you can see, Chinese cucumber soup is a low-calorie soup that is rich in protein and dietary fiber. It is also a good source of calcium, iron, and vitamin A. However, it is important to note that the soup is relatively high in fat and sodium.

To make the soup more nutritious, you can add seafood such as dried scallops or cuttlefish. These seafood ingredients are rich in protein and low in fat, making them a great addition to the soup. You can also add other nutritious ingredients such as red dates, wolfberries, and peanuts to enhance the flavour and nutritional value of the soup.

Chinese cucumber soup is a nutritious and delicious soup that you can enjoy as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Serving and Pairing Suggestions

A steaming bowl of Chinese cucumber soup sits on a wooden table, surrounded by fresh ingredients like sliced cucumbers, green onions, and a small dish of soy sauce

Chinese cucumber soup is a versatile dish that can be served as an appetizer or as part of a main course. Here are some serving and pairing suggestions to make the most of this delicious soup:

  • As an appetizer: Serve the soup in small bowls or cups as a light and refreshing starter. Garnish with chopped coriander or spring onions for added flavour and texture.

  • As a main course: Pair the soup with steamed rice and a variety of side dishes such as stir-fried vegetables, grilled meats or seafood. The soup's natural sweetness and umami flavour make it a great complement to neutral or savoury dishes.

  • As a nourishing Chinese tonic soup: Add Chinese herbs such as dried goji berries, red dates or ginseng to the soup for added health benefits. These herbs are believed to prevent aging and boost the immune system.

  • Seafood suggestion: For a seafood twist, add prawns or scallops to the soup. These seafood options add a rich umami flavour to the soup and make it more filling.

  • Cooking tips: To enhance the flavour of the soup, use fresh ingredients and simmer the soup over low heat for at least 2 hours. This slow cooking process allows the flavours to meld together and creates a rich and flavourful broth.

Chinese cucumber soup is a popular dish in many Asian countries and is enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether you're looking for a light and refreshing appetizer or a nourishing main course, this soup is a great option. Experiment with different ingredients and garnishes to create your own unique version of this classic dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

A steaming pot of Chinese cucumber soup surrounded by fresh ingredients and a recipe card

How do I make a simple Chinese cucumber soup?

A simple Chinese cucumber soup can be made by boiling sliced cucumbers in chicken or vegetable broth. You can add garlic, ginger, and scallions for added flavour. If you prefer a thicker soup, you can add cornstarch or flour to thicken the broth. You can also add seafood such as shrimp or crab meat to the soup for a seafood twist.

What ingredients are needed for old cucumber soup with carrots?

To make old cucumber soup with carrots, you'll need old cucumbers, carrots, pork ribs, dried scallops or dried oysters, and Chinese herbs like wolfberries and red dates. You can also add chicken or seafood like prawns or fish to the soup for added flavour.

Can I add chicken to my Chinese cucumber soup?

Yes, you can add chicken to your Chinese cucumber soup. Simply boil chicken breast or thighs in the broth along with the cucumbers and other ingredients. You can also add other vegetables like carrots and mushrooms for added nutrition.

What's the recipe for green cucumber soup in Chinese cuisine?

Green cucumber soup in Chinese cuisine is made by boiling sliced cucumbers in vegetable or chicken broth with garlic, ginger, and scallions. You can also add spinach or other leafy greens to the soup for added nutrition. For a seafood twist, you can add shrimp or crab meat to the soup.

How do you prepare old cucumber pork rib soup?

To prepare old cucumber pork rib soup, you'll need old cucumbers, pork ribs, dried scallops or dried oysters, and Chinese herbs like wolfberries and red dates. First, boil the pork ribs in water for 5-10 minutes to remove any impurities. Then, add the cucumbers, dried scallops or dried oysters, and herbs to the pot. Simmer for 2-3 hours until the soup is flavourful and the pork ribs are tender.

What are the health benefits of drinking old cucumber soup?

Old cucumber soup is believed to have many health benefits. It is said to be good for the skin, digestion, and immune system. The soup is also believed to help with weight loss, as it is low in calories and high in fibre. The Chinese herbs used in the soup are also believed to have medicinal properties that can help with various ailments.