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The Traditional and Nourishing Old Cucumber Soup Chinese Recipe

Old cucumber soup is an authentic Chinese recipe that has been inherited across families. This Cantonese soup remains a favoured delicacy in Singapore and is a staple in Chinese households. Renowned for its health benefits, this nourishing soup is known to possess cooling properties, ideal for combating hot climates.

A steaming bowl of old cucumber soup sits on a rustic wooden table, garnished with fresh herbs and served with a side of steamed rice

The soup is made using old cucumbers, which are cucumbers that have been left to mature on the vine until they turn yellow. The soup can be prepared using a variety of ingredients, including pork ribs, chicken bones, dried scallops, and dried oysters. Some recipes also call for the addition of seafood, such as cuttlefish or wolfberries.

Key Takeaways

  • Old cucumber soup is a traditional Chinese recipe that is popular in Singapore and is often served in Chinese families.
  • The soup is made using old cucumbers, which are believed to have cooling properties and are packed with nutrition.
  • The soup can be prepared using a variety of ingredients, including pork ribs, chicken bones, dried scallops, and dried oysters. Seafood, such as cuttlefish or wolfberries, can also be added for extra flavour.

Historical Background

A steaming bowl of old cucumber soup sits on a rustic wooden table, surrounded by traditional Chinese cooking ingredients and utensils

Old cucumber soup, also known as Lao Huang Gua Tang, is a popular Cantonese soup that has been enjoyed for generations. This soup has a rich cultural significance in Chinese cuisine and is believed to have originated during the Qing Dynasty.

Cultural Significance

In Chinese culture, food plays a significant role in promoting health and well-being. Old cucumber soup is believed to have cooling properties, making it a popular dish during hot summer months. The soup is also believed to help balance the body's Yin and Yang energies, promoting overall health and vitality.

Regional Variations

While old cucumber soup is a popular Cantonese soup, there are regional variations of the dish throughout China. In some regions, the soup is prepared with the addition of seafood such as dried oysters, scallops, and cuttlefish.

If you are looking to add seafood to your old cucumber soup, consider using dried scallops or cuttlefish. These ingredients will add a rich umami flavour to the soup, making it even more delicious.

In conclusion, old cucumber soup is a delicious and healthy Chinese soup that has been enjoyed for generations. Whether you are looking for a traditional Cantonese soup or a regional variation, this soup is sure to please.

Ingredient Insights

A steaming bowl of old cucumber soup sits on a rustic wooden table, garnished with fresh herbs and floating slices of cucumber

When it comes to making Old Cucumber Soup, choosing the right ingredients is crucial to achieving the perfect balance of flavours. Here are some insights into the key ingredients used in this Chinese recipe:

Choosing the Right Old Cucumber

Old cucumbers are matured cucumbers that have a yellow skin and a slightly bitter taste. They are often used in Chinese soups because they are believed to help cool the body and aid in detoxification. When selecting an old cucumber, look for one that is firm and heavy for its size. Avoid cucumbers that have soft spots or wrinkles.

Understanding Dried Seafood

Dried seafood, such as dried scallops and dried cuttlefish, are often used in Chinese soups for their rich umami flavour. They are also believed to have health benefits, such as improving circulation and strengthening the immune system. When using dried seafood, it is important to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes to rehydrate them before cooking.

If you want to add seafood to your Old Cucumber Soup recipe, consider using dried oysters or dried shrimp. These seafood options will complement the flavours of the other ingredients and add a unique twist to the soup.

Balancing Yin and Yang Foods

In Chinese cuisine, it is important to balance yin and yang foods to maintain a healthy diet. Old cucumbers are considered to be a yin food, which helps to cool the body. Red dates and dried red dates are considered to be yang foods, which help to warm the body. By combining these ingredients, you can create a soup that is both nourishing and balanced.

Other yin and yang foods that you can consider adding to your diet include lotus root soup, yellow gourd, and sweet corn. These ingredients can help to balance your body's energy and promote healthy aging.

By understanding the key ingredients used in Old Cucumber Soup, you can create a delicious and healthy soup that is perfect for any occasion. So, go ahead and experiment with different ingredients and find your perfect balance of flavours.

Preparation Techniques

A chef slices and simmers old cucumber with pork ribs and Chinese herbs for a traditional soup recipe

Cleaning and Blanching

To prepare old cucumber soup, start by cleaning the old cucumber thoroughly. Scrub the skin clean and cut it in half, lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard them. Cut the cucumber into smaller chunks and set them aside.

Next, blanch the pork ribs in boiling water for a few minutes to remove any impurities. Drain the pork ribs and rinse them under cool water. This step is important to ensure that the soup is clear and free of any unwanted flavours.

Simmering to Perfection

In a clean pot, add water, chicken bones, pork bones, and the blanched pork ribs. Add the old cucumber and peanuts to the pot and bring it to a boil. Once it is boiling, turn the heat to medium and continue to simmer for 2 hours. This slow cooking process will allow all the flavours to meld together and create a rich, flavourful broth.

If you want to add seafood to your old cucumber soup, you can add dried scallops and dried oysters to the pot. These ingredients will add a unique umami flavour to the soup.

Seasoning and Balancing Flavours

After 2 hours, add in the wolfberries and red dates, and simmer for another 15 minutes. Finally, season the soup with salt to taste. Be careful not to over-salt the soup, as the natural sweetness of the old cucumber and red dates should be the dominant flavour.

Preparation for old cucumber soup takes approximately 10 minutes, while the total cook time is about 2 hours and 15 minutes. The slow cooking process is essential to ensure that the soup is flavourful and nutritious.

Nutritional Information

A steaming bowl of old cucumber soup with Chinese herbs sits on a wooden table, surrounded by ingredients and a handwritten recipe card

Health Benefits

Old cucumber soup is a healthy and nutritious dish that has been enjoyed in Asian countries for centuries. It is known for its cooling properties, which can help to reduce body heat and inflammation. The soup also contains a variety of vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health.

One of the key health benefits of old cucumber soup is its anti-aging properties. The soup contains high levels of antioxidants, which can help to protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. This can help to reduce the signs of aging and keep you looking and feeling younger.

The soup is also a good source of dietary fiber, which can help to improve digestion and reduce the risk of constipation. It is also low in calories and fat, making it a great choice for those who are watching their weight.

Dietary Considerations

Old cucumber soup is a neutral dish that is suitable for most people. It is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can help to reduce the risk of heart disease. However, it is important to note that the soup contains a moderate amount of sodium, so it may not be suitable for those who are on a low-sodium diet.

If you are looking to boost the nutritional content of your old cucumber soup, you may want to consider adding some seafood to the recipe. Seafood is a great source of protein, iron, and calcium, and it can help to make the soup even more nutritious.

Some great seafood options to consider include dried scallops, dried oysters, and cuttlefish. These ingredients are commonly used in Chinese cuisine and can help to add a rich, savoury flavour to your soup.

In addition, you can also add some carrots to your soup for an extra boost of vitamin A. Carrots are a great source of this essential nutrient, which is important for maintaining healthy skin, eyes, and immune function.

Overall, old cucumber soup is a nutritious and delicious dish that is perfect for anyone looking to stay healthy and cool during the hot summer months.

Cooking Methods

A pot simmers on a stove, filled with chunks of old cucumber, herbs, and broth. Steam rises as the soup cooks, filling the kitchen with fragrant aromas

Stovetop Slow Cooking

The stovetop slow cooking method is the traditional way of cooking old cucumber soup. It involves simmering the ingredients for several hours to extract the maximum flavour and nutrients from the bones and vegetables. You can use a chicken carcass, pork ribs soup, or chicken bones to make the broth. You should keep the skin intact on the cucumber to add more flavour to the soup.

To begin, add the bones and vegetables (including cucumber, red dates, and goji berries) to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to low and let the soup simmer for at least 1.5 hours. Skim off any scum bits that float to the surface. After simmering, you can add dried oysters or other seafood of your choice to the soup, and let it continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes.

Using a Pressure Cooker

If you're short on time, you can use a pressure cooker to make old cucumber soup. The pressure cooker method is faster and more efficient than the stovetop method. You can use the same ingredients as in the stovetop method.

To begin, add the bones and vegetables to the pressure cooker with enough water to cover them. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally. Add dried oysters or other seafood of your choice to the soup and let it cook for another 10-15 minutes.

Proposed use of seafood: You can add dried scallops or dried cuttlefish to the soup to add more umami flavour. If you prefer fresh seafood, you can add prawns or fish fillets to the soup towards the end of cooking.

Frequently Asked Questions

A steaming bowl of old cucumber soup, surrounded by traditional Chinese ingredients and utensils, sits on a rustic wooden table

How can I make a simple old cucumber soup?

To make a simple old cucumber soup, you will need an old cucumber, water, and some seasoning. First, cut the old cucumber into small pieces and put them in a pot with enough water to cover them. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about an hour. Add seasoning to taste, such as salt and pepper. You can also add other ingredients like meat, seafood, or vegetables to enhance the flavour of the soup.

What are the benefits of having old cucumber soup?

Old cucumber soup is known for its cooling and detoxifying properties. It is believed to help reduce body heat, improve digestion, and promote healthy skin. The soup is also rich in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which can help boost your immune system and overall health.

Can I prepare old cucumber soup without any meat ingredients?

Yes, you can prepare old cucumber soup without meat ingredients. Instead of meat, you can use seafood such as dried scallops, dried cuttlefish, or dried oysters to add flavour to the soup. Vegetables like carrots, sweet corn, and red dates can also be added to make the soup more nutritious and delicious.

Is it okay to include the skin of old cucumber in the soup?

Yes, it is okay to include the skin of the old cucumber in the soup. The skin contains nutrients and fibre that can be beneficial to your health. However, make sure to wash the cucumber thoroughly before using it to remove any dirt or pesticides.

Why does my old cucumber soup taste bitter, and how can I fix it?

The bitterness in old cucumber soup may come from the seeds or the skin of the cucumber. To reduce the bitterness, remove the seeds and peel the skin before cooking. You can also add a pinch of sugar or honey to balance the flavour.

What's a good recipe for old cucumber soup with chicken?

To make old cucumber soup with chicken, you will need an old cucumber, chicken pieces, dried scallops, dried red dates, and other seasoning. First, blanch the chicken pieces in boiling water for a few minutes, then rinse with cold water and set aside. Cut the old cucumber into small pieces and add it to a pot with enough water to cover it. Add the chicken pieces, dried scallops, and dried red dates to the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about an hour. Add seasoning to taste, such as salt, pepper, and soy sauce. You can also add other ingredients like mushrooms or tofu if you like. Serve hot with steamed rice.

As a suggestion, you can also use fresh prawns or fish fillets in place of chicken to give the soup a seafood twist.