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Chinese Leek Soup Recipe: A Tasty Dish to Warm You Up

If you're looking for a comforting and flavourful soup to warm you up on a chilly day, look no further than Chinese leek soup. This soup is a staple in Chinese cuisine, and for good reason - it's easy to make, quick to cook, and perfect for the whole family to enjoy. Whether you're looking for a hearty meal or a light lunch, this soup is sure to satisfy.

A pot simmers on a stove, filled with clear broth and chopped Chinese leeks. Steam rises as a spoon stirs the soup

Chinese leeks, also known as garlic chives, are the star of this soup. They have a mild, onion-like flavour that pairs perfectly with the other ingredients in the soup. The soup is typically made with chicken or vegetable broth, and can be cooked with a variety of other ingredients such as potatoes, zucchini, and celery. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even add some seafood to the mix - shrimp or scallops work particularly well in this soup.

To make Chinese leek soup, you'll need just a few essential ingredients and some basic cooking skills. Follow our step-by-step instructions to create a delicious and nutritious soup that's perfect for any occasion.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese leek soup is a comforting and flavourful soup that's perfect for the whole family to enjoy.
  • Chinese leeks, also known as garlic chives, are the star of the soup and have a mild, onion-like flavour.
  • The soup can be cooked with a variety of ingredients, including seafood, and is easy to make with just a few essential ingredients and some basic cooking skills.

Understanding Chinese Leeks

A pot of Chinese leek soup simmers on a stovetop, with steam rising and the aroma filling the kitchen. Chopped leeks and other ingredients are visible in the pot

Chinese leeks, also known as garlic chives or Chinese chives, are a popular vegetable in Chinese cuisine. They are characterised by their flat, green leaves and mild onion flavour. They are not to be confused with spring onions or chives, though they belong to the same Allium tricoccum family of vegetables, along with garlic and onion.

Varieties and Selection

Chinese leeks come in two main varieties: the regular variety and the flowering variety. The regular variety is available year-round and has a mild, onion-like flavour. The flowering variety is available in the spring and has a stronger, more pungent flavour.

When selecting Chinese leeks, look for firm, crisp stalks with long, white stalks and abundant green leaves. Avoid leeks that are wilted or have yellow or brown leaves. If possible, choose leeks that are organically grown.

Preparation Techniques

To prepare Chinese leeks, start by trimming off the root end and any tough or discoloured parts of the leaves. Rinse the leeks thoroughly under running water, making sure to remove any dirt or sand that may be trapped between the leaves.

Chinese leeks can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, stir-fries, and dumplings. They can be chopped finely and added to salads or used as a garnish.

Storage Tips

Chinese leeks can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. To store them, wrap them in a damp paper towel and place them in a plastic bag. Alternatively, you can store them in a container filled with water, much like you would with fresh flowers.

As a suggestion, you can add seafood to your Chinese leek soup recipe. Shrimp or prawns would be a great addition to the soup. Simply sauté the seafood in a pan with garlic and ginger before adding it to the soup.

Essential Ingredients

A pot simmering on a stove, filled with chopped Chinese leeks, garlic, and broth. Steam rises as the ingredients meld together in the soup

When it comes to making Chinese leek soup, there are a few key ingredients that you simply can't do without. In this section, we'll take a closer look at each of these ingredients and explain why they're so important to the recipe.

Leeks and Vegetables

Of course, the star of the show in any leek soup recipe is the leeks themselves. Look for fresh, firm leeks with bright green leaves and a white base. You'll also need some other vegetables to give your soup depth of flavour and added nutrients, such as carrots and celery. These vegetables will add a subtle sweetness and earthy note to your soup, making it even more delicious.

Broth and Seasoning

To make the soup base, you'll need to use a good quality chicken stock. This will give your soup a rich, savoury flavour that will keep you coming back for more. You can also use vegetable stock or seafood stock if you prefer. Seasoning is also important, and you can use a combination of spices and herbs such as star anise, black peppercorns, thyme and bay leaf to infuse the soup with warmth and earthy notes.

Additional Flavours

There are a few additional flavours you can add to your soup to take it to the next level. For example, you can use soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and sugar to enhance the flavour of the soup. If you're feeling adventurous, you can also add seafood such as prawns or clams to the soup for an extra burst of flavour and texture. Just be sure to use fresh seafood, and cook it for the appropriate amount of time to ensure it's fully cooked.

By using these essential ingredients, you'll be well on your way to making a delicious and nutritious Chinese leek soup that's sure to impress.

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions

A pot simmers on a stove. Chinese leeks, broth, and seasonings are added. Steam rises as the soup cooks


Before starting to cook the Chinese leek soup, you need to gather all the necessary ingredients. You will need Chinese leeks, garlic, spring onions, and any other desired vegetables. If you want to make the soup more flavourful, you can add some sausage or seafood to it.

Once you have all the ingredients, you need to prepare them. Wash the Chinese leeks and slice them into small pieces. Mince the garlic and chop the spring onions. If you are using seafood, clean and prepare it as needed.

Cooking Process

To start cooking the Chinese leek soup, heat some oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and stir fry for a few seconds until fragrant. Then, add the sliced Chinese leeks and stir fry for a couple of minutes until they start to soften.

Next, add any other vegetables you are using and stir fry for a few more minutes. If you are using seafood, add it now and stir fry until it is cooked through.

Once the vegetables (and seafood) are cooked, add enough water to cover them and bring the soup to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes to allow the flavours to meld together.

Finishing Touches

After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add the chopped spring onions and any desired seasonings such as hot sauce or vinegar. Let the soup simmer for a few more minutes to allow the spring onions to soften.

Finally, taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve the Chinese leek soup hot, garnished with some chopped spring onions or any other desired toppings.

That's it! You have successfully made a delicious Chinese leek soup that is sure to warm you up on a cold day.

Serving and Pairing Suggestions

A steaming bowl of Chinese leek soup sits on a wooden table, accompanied by a plate of crispy fried wontons and a pot of fragrant jasmine tea


When it comes to serving Chinese leek soup, there are several accompaniments that can be paired with it to enhance the dish's flavour and texture. Here are some of the best accompaniments that you can try:

  • Steamed Rice: This is a classic accompaniment that goes well with almost any Chinese dish. The fluffy texture of steamed rice complements the soup's smoothness, and the mild taste of rice balances the soup's flavour.

  • Roast Pork: If you're looking for a meaty accompaniment, roast pork is a great option. The crispy skin and juicy meat of roast pork add a savoury note to the soup, making it more filling.

  • Noodles: If you want to turn the soup into a main course, you can add noodles to it. Egg noodles or rice noodles are the best options, and they can be cooked separately and added to the soup before serving.

  • Herbs: Adding herbs like coriander or parsley can add a refreshing and aromatic note to the soup. Simply chop the herbs and sprinkle them on top of the soup before serving.

  • Parmesan Cheese: If you want to add a cheesy note to the soup, you can sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on top of it. This will add a savoury and nutty flavour to the soup.

Wine and Beverage Pairings

Chinese leek soup pairs well with a variety of beverages, including wine, beer, and tea. Here are some of the best pairings that you can try:

  • White Wine: A dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio pairs well with the soup's delicate flavour. The wine's acidity and fruitiness complement the soup's savoury note.

  • Beer: A light beer like Pilsner or Lager pairs well with the soup's mild flavour. The beer's carbonation and bitterness balance the soup's smoothness.

  • Tea: A light and fragrant tea like Jasmine or Green tea pairs well with the soup's herbal note. The tea's floral and grassy flavour complements the soup's fresh taste.

If you want to add seafood to the soup, you can try adding shrimp or scallops. These seafood options will add a sweet and savoury note to the soup, making it more flavourful.

Cultural Significance

A steaming pot of Chinese leek soup sits on a wooden table, surrounded by traditional Chinese herbs and spices. The aroma of the soup fills the air, symbolizing the cultural significance of this beloved recipe

Chinese leek soup is a popular dish in Chinese cuisine, and it has cultural significance in various regions of China. In this section, we will explore the cultural significance of Chinese leek soup, including its role in Chinese New Year traditions and regional variations.

Chinese New Year Traditions

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is a significant event in Chinese culture. It is celebrated in January or February and lasts for 15 days. During this time, families gather to share meals and exchange gifts. Chinese leek soup is a popular dish served during this festival, and it is believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year.

Regional Variations

Chinese leek soup is a versatile dish that can be prepared in various ways, depending on the region. In Singapore, for instance, the soup is often made with mandarin peel, which gives it a citrusy flavour. In Malaysia, lap cheong (Chinese sausage) is added to the soup to give it a smoky taste. In some regions of China, shaoxing wine and dark soy sauce are used to enhance the flavour of the soup.

Seafood can also be added to Chinese leek soup, and it is a great way to add more flavour and nutrition to the dish. Some popular seafood options include prawns, scallops, and fish. If you are a vegan, you can substitute seafood with tofu or other plant-based proteins.

Chinese leek soup is a delicious and nutritious dish that has cultural significance in Chinese cuisine. Whether you are celebrating Chinese New Year or just want to try something new, this soup is a great option to consider.

Frequently Asked Questions

A pot simmering on a stove, filled with Chinese leek soup. A bowl of chopped leeks and other ingredients nearby

What's the simplest way to make Chinese leek soup?

The simplest way to make Chinese leek soup is to sauté sliced leeks in a pan with some butter or oil until they are soft and fragrant. Then, add chicken or vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the leeks are tender. You can add salt and pepper to taste. For a heartier soup, you can add some diced potatoes or seafood like shrimp or scallops.

How can I adapt a Chinese leek soup recipe to be vegetarian?

To adapt a Chinese leek soup recipe to be vegetarian, you can substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth or water. You can also add some sliced mushrooms for extra flavour and texture. For a protein boost, you can add some tofu cubes or kidney beans.

Can you suggest a way to include chicken in a Chinese leek soup?

To include chicken in a Chinese leek soup, you can add some diced chicken breast or thigh to the soup after sautéing the leeks. Cook the chicken until it's no longer pink before adding the broth. You can also use leftover cooked chicken and add it to the soup towards the end of the cooking time.

How does Japanese leek soup differ from the Chinese version?

Japanese leek soup, also known as miso soup, usually includes miso paste, tofu cubes, and seaweed in addition to leeks. The broth is made with dashi, a Japanese stock made from dried kelp and bonito flakes. Chinese leek soup, on the other hand, usually has a clear broth made from chicken or vegetable stock and is simpler in terms of ingredients.

What are the health benefits of having leek soup?

Leeks are low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are an excellent source of vitamin K, which is important for bone health and blood clotting. Leeks also contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

What's the proper method for cleaning Chinese leeks before cooking?

To clean Chinese leeks before cooking, slice them in half lengthwise and rinse them under running water to remove any dirt or sand trapped between the layers. Pat them dry with a paper towel before slicing them according to your recipe. If you're using the green part of the leeks, make sure to remove any tough or fibrous parts before cooking.

I suggest adding some prawns or squid to the Chinese leek soup for a seafood twist. Simply sauté the seafood with the leeks before adding the broth and simmering until cooked through.