Old Cucumber Soup
In Chinese Herbology, foods have ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ properties. Yin foods have ‘cooling’ properties while yang foods, on the other hand, have ‘heaty’ properties. Some foods are ‘neutral’. Since ancient times, the Chinese firmly believed that diet (along with other factors like stress, climate and lifestyle) plays an important part in acheiving a balanced ying/yang quotient for an individual. So in a country like Singapore, where it is warm & humid all year round, consuming cooling foods to counter the ‘heat’ – such as this old cucumber soup – is definitely a must. I think this soup is also very beneficial for those in other countries who are experiencing summer now.
The Chinese name of this vegetable (yes, I know technically it is a fruit, but I don’t think it’s wrong to call it a vegetable in cooking :P) is 老黄瓜, literally translated as ‘old yellow cucumber’. According to this site, old cucumber is actually matured cucumber, hence its brown, wrinkled and hard skin. Looking at its dried-out skin, you might never have guess that consuming it is good for the skin and helps prevent aging! It is also high in dietary fiber, calcium, iron and rich in vitamin A, B6, and C. So, are you sold on the wonderful properties of this soup yet? If you are, let’s start cooking!
- One small to medium size Chinese old cucumber
- 1.3 litres of water
- 10 red dates
- 6 dried scallops
- 200g pork ribs
- 1 piece dried cuttlefish
- 1 sweet corn, cut to small pieces
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut (
- salt, to taste
1. Scrub the skin of the old cucumber clean and cut it in half, length-wise. Scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Cut into smaller chunks.
2. In a small pot, blanch the pork ribs in boiling water for a few minutes (so as to remove the scum bits). Drain the pork ribs and set aside.
3. In a soup pot, add old cucumber chunks, blanched pork, water, red dates, dried scallops, dried cuttlefish, sweet corn and carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the soup over low heat for about 40 minutes. For best results, keep warm in thermal pot for four hours prior to serving. Season to taste with salt.
1. The reason for leaving the skin on the old cucumber chunks is to prevent the flesh from turning mushy after cooking.
2. Some people like to consume the seeds so if you do, then you don’t have to scoop them out.
Another ‘Yin’ soup
- Watercress Soup