Soup has always been more than a meal. This humble dish can warm you up, comfort you, and help you feel better when you are ill. Beyond this, the health benefits of soup are too many to name with good soups common in diets around the world. We’re going to look at a few of the best Chinese soups around so if you’re feeling down, looking to choose a healthier option, or just want to warm up on a cold day, these soups are a must.
Hot and Sour Soup
Hailing from the Szechuan Province, Hot and Sour Soup is a staple of Chinese restaurants. Initially, considered a palate cleanser and digestive. It’s easy to see why with ginger, vinegar, and white pepper at the forefront of this broth. While recipes may vary, most include tofu or pork, chicken broth, onions, day lily bulbs, wood-ear mushrooms, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, and vinegar. The focus of this soup is fresh with all of the elements coming together just before serving. This is not a soup to make days before, as the vinegar and pepper lose aroma very quickly.
Nutritionally this soup is good and bad. Like lots of Chinese soups, the sodium intake is a higher making up for about 30% of the recommended daily allowance. However, at under 100 calories per portion, it is a low-fat option. Add to this the benefits of ginger, chicken broth, and garlic, and you have yourself a tasty option for a night out.
Winter Melon Soup
Winter melons are an incredibly versatile and healthy ingredient. It is green and white in colour and doesn’t carry a strong flavour of its own. This makes it a great vehicle for whatever broth you place it in as it absorbs the flavours around it. Add to this the health benefits such as Vitamins C, B1, and B3 as well as high levels of potassium and you’ve found a winning ingredient. In Chinese culture, Winter melons have long been used as a diuretic to reduce swelling, the chance of stroke, and can prevent migraines. Additionally, it is 96% water so anyone looking to lose weight will find this a useful ingredient.
In terms of soups, it is often cooked with shrimp or pork broths so can be suited to whatever taste you may have. This soup is also easy to make and doesn’t need hours of prep work so it is quick and easy to order on the go or make yourself at home.
Mustard Green Chicken Soup
This twist on a traditional chicken soup sees the addition of mustard greens to add an interesting flavour profile as well as a wealth of health benefits. Mustard greens are similar to horseradish in flavour and are characterised by a long stem and deep green leaves. Mustard greens are high in vitamins and minerals with vitamins K, C, and A the most prevalent. Vitamin K is essential to cardiovascular health thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Add to this the extremely low-calorie count and dietary fibre and it doubles as a cholesterol reducing ingredient.
In Taiwan, the mustard green represents long life and is a fitting meal for celebrations like New Year. As an addition to a rich chicken broth, the mustard green cuts through to bring a fresh and peppery finish to the classic.
These are just a few soup options in Chinese cooking. With hundreds of years of tradition and development, Chinese soups are a must for soul, body, and mind. Next time you are out with friends, or even just staying in with a good book, a world of cuisine awaits at your fingertips.