Comfort Cooking

Covid-19 stay-home recipe: Nourishing soup also helps to detoxify

ST VIDEO: HEDY KHOO
Sold in dried form, the ba wang hua - which is used in this soup (left) - is believed to help with reducing heat in the lungs in traditional Chinese medicine.
Sold in dried form, the ba wang hua - which is used in this soup (above) - is believed to help with reducing heat in the lungs in traditional Chinese medicine.ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

At a loss as to what to cook tonight? Fret not. This is the first of Comfort Cooking, a daily series on nourishing recipes you can whip up in your kitchen during this circuit-breaker month

To get you started on your circuit breaker home-cooking journey, here is a simple recipe for ba wang hua and pork rib soup.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, ba wang hua (night blooming cereus), sold in dried form, is a flower that is believed to help with detoxification, such as reducing heat in the lungs.

The flowers are usually used in soups. When boiled, they add a sweet gumminess to the broth.

Red dates help nourish the blood and figs are believed to be beneficial to the digestive system.

Chinese physician Cheong Chin Siong suggests adding nan bei xing (Chinese apricot kernels) as they help "moisten" the lungs, relieve dryness in the throat and reduce phlegm. He recommends taking this soup once or twice a week.

Skip the salt if you want a healthier version. The soup is flavourful enough on its own.

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BA WANG HUA AND PORK RIB SOUP

INGREDIENTS

5.6 litres of water

2 pork bones (500g), cracked into two

500g spare ribs (cut into 7cm by 8cm pieces)

100g ba wang hua, well-rinsed

10 small red dates (17g)

1 honey date (20g)

4 chilled figs (60g)

20g nan bei xing (Chinese apricot kernels)

1 tsp salt (optional)

Sold in dried form, the ba wang hua - which is used in this soup (left) - is believed to help with reducing heat in the lungs in traditional Chinese medicine.
Sold in dried form, the ba wang hua - which is used in this soup - is believed to help with reducing heat in the lungs in traditional Chinese medicine. ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

METHOD

1. Bring 1.8 litres of water to a boil in a pot. Blanch the pork bones and spare ribs until there is no visible blood.

2. Discard the water, rinse the pork bones and spare ribs and set aside.

3. Bring 3.8 litres of water to a boil in a clean pot.

4. Add the blanched pork bones and spare ribs.

 

5. Add ba wang hua, red dates, honey date, chilled figs and nan bei xing.

6. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer covered for 1½ hours.

7. Season with salt if needed. Stir well and cover for five minutes.

8. Turn off the heat and serve.

Makes four to five servings

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2020, with the headline 'Nourishing soup also helps to detoxify'. Print Edition | Subscribe