Recipe: Chinese Black Bean Soup

In the past year or so, I started learning how to boil Chinese soups for overall good health. This is one of my favorite soups.

Black beans, also known as black turtle beans, is an excellent source protein and fiber. It is also packed with powerful anti-oxidants providing loads of essential vitamins and minerals.

In TCM (traditional chinese medicine) terms, this soup helps to tonify the kidneys, strengthen yin energy and nourish blood. A-must for people who are tired, run down and whose body needs recovery.
Kidneys serve the body as a natural filter of the blood, and remove waste which is diverted to the urinary bladder. Like all kinds of filters, our kidneys need to be nourished and detoxed to maintain its proper function. People who suffer from kidney function deficiency may experience symptoms of systematic exhaustion, urinary disturbance, sexual dysfunction, weakness in lower body, lower back pain and/or diminished hearing.

Traditionally drunk by pregnant and women undergoing confinement, this blood-nourishing soup is beneficial for both men and women. It is delicious and so easy-to-make. All you need is a handful of ingredients, and a couple of hours (standing by).

Black beans

Serving: 2-3 bowls

200gm of pork spare ribs (or you can use any pork bones)
2/3 cup of black beans (pre-soaked in cold water for an hour)
2-3 dried scallops
20 red dates
1 clove of garlic 
handful of dried goji berries*
1-2 dried honey dates*
1 dried cuttlefish* (cut into small pieces)
How to cook:
1. Blanch pork ribs (or bones) in hot boiling water. Drain and discard the water. Put aside.
2. Combine all of the above ingredients in a pot (except the pork ribs), and fill with about 2 litres water.
3. Bring to boil for 10 minutes.
4. Lower fire and simmer for half an hour.
5. Add pork and simmer for another 45-60mins.  

One tip I received from my girlfriend’s godmother is to use cool (not hot) water in Step 2. That is, place all the ingredients in the pot (minus pork ribs) and fill it with cool or room-temperature water. This allows for the water to warm up the ingredients gradually, and will soften the black beans nicely bringing out its fragrant taste.

This soup should have a rich dark brown/black color. The taste is naturally sweet from the beans with a slight saltiness from the dried scallops.

Photo image by The Happy Glut. Notice the pork bone is stained black from the beans after a long boil.

Click here for more healthy (and simple) Chinese soup recipes – refer to the Recipe header.

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