If you overindulged recently, or if you are just looking to reset and detoxify your body, this Winter Melon Soup is the perfect thing to eat! It is filled with vegetables, nutrient-rich pork bone broth, and a few really good Chinese medicines.
Making Homemade Pork Bone Broth
There are many versions a Chinese soups out there, but I love this Winter Melon Soup the most! For the base of the recipe, I use quick and easy pork bone broth to add a little bit more protein.
Pork bone broth has become a bit of a rage these days. If you look into its nutritional benefits you can definitely see why people are starting to drink this broth more and more. Not only is it full of nutrients such as calcium, iron, and magnesium, it is also rich in collagen and may help protect or ease tension or pain in your joints. While it does take about a full day to make, it’s definitely worth it as you can freeze it to save for later.
One I have the pork bone broth made, I like to add more flavour by adding in the pork ribs. The beauty of this is that you don’t need to use the best cut of ribs that you find at the supermarket! Rather, you can use the end scraps of the ribs that have cartilage pieces in them. Not only are these ribs nutritious, they’re also full of flavour and are cheap since they are the end scraps. And don’t worry, once you cook these ribs in the soup for a few hours the meat just falls off the bone!
To add additional health benefits to the soup, I add winter melon, lotus root, and ginger. Winter melon is delicious and almost turns translucent when you cook it. On the other hand, lotus root is quite dense when it’s raw and turns nice and soft when you cook it. Both of these vegetables are full of nutrients and make a great addition to the soup.
While winter melon and lotus root are not commonly found in standard grocery stores, try going to your Asian grocer to get these fresh during the winter time. Ginger on the other hand can be found in just about any grocery store these days. Just make sure that the root is hard, has a smooth tan skin, and there is no moisture on it.
Two other forms of Chinese medicine that I use in the soup are Chinese red dates and dried goji berries. Again, these may be difficult to find at your standard supermarket to try looking for these at your Asian grocery store. Both the red dates and dried goji berries have numerous health benefits, and adding them to the soup also adds a touch of sweetness to the broth, which compliments the pork and other ingredients nicely.
There are many more Chinese medicines out there that I commonly use in my cooking, so perhaps I’ll write a separate blog post going into more detail on those! Comment down below if you would like to see this on the blog!
Cooking the Soup
With just about any soup, all you really have to do is add the ingredients to the pot and simmer on the stove for a few hours. However, it is a good practice to pre-boil the pork bones to remove any impurities so that your soup doesn’t become cloudy. Read the recipe down below for the full instructions on how to prepare the pork bones.
Get the Recipe!
Winter Melon Soup
For the Pork Bone Broth:
- 4 pounds pork bones
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 2 scallions whole
- 1 2-cm piece ginger peeled
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns whole
For the Soup:
- 1 pound pork bone ribs
- 10 cups water
- 12 cups pork bone broth
- 6 cups winter melon cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 1-cm slice ginger root peeled
- 1 lotus root peeled and sliced into 1-cm pieces
- 3 scallions finely chopped, white and green parts separated
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 4 Chinese dried red dates
- 1/4 cup dried goji berries
For the Pork Bone Broth:
- Make the pork bone broth the day before making this soup. Add the pork bones to a large bowl and rinse well. Fill the bowl with cold water to cover the pork bones and add the vinegar. Let sit for 20 minutes.
- Drain the water from the pork bones and rinse well under cold water. Add the pork bones to a large stockpot and add enough water to cover the pork bones. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Drain the pork bones and water into a colander in the sink. You want to discard all of the water as it is full of impurities. Also, wash the pot out to remove any impurities from that as well.
- Rinse each pork bone under cold water scraping off any fat, sinue, or blood that is on the bones. This is tedious, but it will leave you with a clear stock.
- Once the pork bones have been rinsed, add them back to your clean stock pot and cover with water again. Add the scallion, ginger, salt and peppercorns to the pot.
- Bring the contents of the pot just to a boil over high heat. Do not bring it rolling boil. Once the water just beings bubbling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer on the lowest heat setting for 12-24 hours and top off with extra water if the pork bones begin to pop out of the water. Do not stir the soup while it's cooking.
- Once the soup has cooked, use a ladle to scoop out the broth into containers or another soup pot. Try not to mix the soup too much as any additional impurities are at the bottom of the pot and you don't want those in your bone broth. Discard all the bones and vegetables and you have a yummy pork bone broth!
For the Soup:
- Place the water in a large pot and bring it to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add the pork bones, and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Drain the pork ribs and water into a colander, discarding the water. Wash the pot to remove any impurities and re-fill it with the pork bone broth. Place it on the stove and heat over medium heat.
- While the pork bone broth is heating up, rinse the pork ribs under cold water. Rub each one in between your hands to wash away any impurities. Once all the bones are rinsed, add them to the pot.
- Next, add the winter melon cubes, ginger, sliced lotus root, the white ends of the scallions, soy sauce, Chinese dates and goji berries. Stir everything together.
- Cook the soup over medium heat for at least 2 hours so that all the flavours can come together.
- To serve, scoop the soup into a bowl and garnish with the green ends of the scallions.