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Chinese Homemade Soup

What does Chinese homemade soup look like and what are the differences comparing to the soup from the West? Here are some examples to show you the soup we had in our daily family meal.  

Chinese Soup Is Not A Starter

For Chinese family meals, or at local Chinese restaurants, there is no such thing like three courses, starter, main or dessert. In China, all dishes come to table at the same time, then everyone shares the food.

For family meal, we don't serve the soft drinks with meal, unless it is during the festival time, therefore, a soup is always needed.

I noticed that in the West, soup is usually served as a starter or with bread. In China, soup is served as one dish, together with the meat or vegetable dishes. Because it is shared by all diners, the soup is usually placed in a big soup bowl.

This picture is taken from our family lunch in China, you can see the meat and veggetable dishes together with the egg tomato soup.

Chinese Family Lunch.

Chinese Soup For Health

Comparing to some soups I saw from the West, Chinese homemade soup does not use any butter, cheese or cream, therefore it is much lighter. (Actually, we don't use butter, cheese or cream in traditional Chinese cooking.)

Chinese soup is also considered as an alternative approach to improve the health or cure the diseases. This type of soup is usually cooked with Chinese herbs and the nutrition is more important than the taste.

For example, my father made this chicken soup. Apart from chicken, there are dark brown coloured sea kelp, white colour ones are the Chinese herb called Huai Shan, and the lotus seeds.

Chinese Chicken Soup with Sea Kelp and Chinese Herbs.

According to Chinese medicine, Huai Shan is used for treating the kidney, lung and spleen, as it has the medical functions such as promotes urination, lower blood sugar and lower blood pressure.

The lotus seeds can nourish the spleen and alleviate diarrhea. The sea kelp is rich in vitamin B, C and E.  

For seasoning, the soup will mainly just use ginger and little bit salt. To eat the meat, we would use the light soy sauce as the dipping sauce, which is light but has the original taste of chicken. 

Chinese Chicken Soup with Kelp and Herbs. .

You may watch the video of making Chinese soup dipping sauce.

Usually the soup with herbs needs slow cooking under medium heat for about several hours, using a typical Chinese clay pot. The clay pot can transfer the heat evenly and is widely used for Chinese stew or soup.

Chinese Clay Pot for Soup.
Chinese Chicken Kelp Herb Soup Cooked in Chinese Clay Pot.

To make the chicken soup, we would use whole chicken rather than just chicken meat. So you will see the chicken feet in the soup. Don't worry or be scared, they are clean and perfectly healthy. @_@

Chinese Chicken Soup with Chicken Feet :)

Chinese Homemade Soup with Meat & Vegetables

Pork meatball soup is our family’s favourite, such as this meatball soup with sea kelp (hai dai).

Chinese Meatball Kelp Soup.

Another type of pork meatball soup with black wood ear and a vegetable called silk melon.

Chinese Meatball Soup with Veg.

Tofu is also used for soup. Here is the meatball soup with tofu and black wood ear and vegetable.

Chinese Meatball Soup with Tofu and Veg.

The meatball soup takes about 20 minutes mainly because you need to cook the meat and let the meaty flavour get into the soup. 

Some soups can be done within 10 minutes, such as this seaweed tofu soup, seasoned by ginger, dry shrimps and spring onions, which perhaps takes just five minutes.

Chinese Tofu Seaweed Soup.

The egg tomato soup is also very popular especially for the summer.

Chinese Egg Tomato Soup.

You may click the picture to see the recipe of this soup.

Chinese Egg Tomato Soup

Well, these are just some examples of Chinese homemade soup. Hope you enjoy it, perhaps give a try in your home? :)

You may also like to see other Chinese daily food such as Chinese breakfast (1) (2) (3). 

(Posted:23/03/13; Update:20/06/15)

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