This bowl of Lotus Root and Pork Soup (莲藕排骨汤) brings back fond memories from my youth. I remember the lotus harvest in Hubei, where I grew up, as a time of great celebration. Carp in the town’s enormous lotus pond would jump and leap into the air whenever the villagers drained water from the pond.
The people of Hubei were known for their hospitality, and their love of this simple, wholesome, and delicious soup was legendary.
You don’t have to use the seaweed that I included in my recipe. In my opinion, it improves the flavor and is also beneficial to your health. In addition, after learning this trick from Bill’s mom, I now routinely incorporate dried goji berries into all of my soups. I read that consuming goji berries can increase your body’s overall Qi (energy flow), and that surely is something we could all use. It wouldn’t hurt to get a little boost.
- 900g of pork ribs or pork neck bones
- 450g of lotus root
- 4 slices of ginger
- 1 finely chopped scallion
- 12 cups of cold water
- 1 cup of re-hydrated seaweed/kelp
- 1 tablespoon of dried goji berries
- Pork ribs or neck bones should be soaked in cold water for at least an hour. Then, drain completely and put to one side. Blanch the pork bones in a large pot of boiling water. Cook for an additional minute until the water has returned to a boil.
- Remove the pork bones from the heat, drain them, and give them a good cleaning. After following these steps, your soup will be crystal clear.
- You can get rehydrated seaweed or dry seaweed (kelp/kombu) at an Asian grocery store if you want to include it. Simply avoid the “knots” of seaweed, as they often contain sand. Dried seaweed needs to be soaked for at least three hours before it can be used, so plan ahead.
- After the seaweed has soaked, it is simply washed in a basin of water until the water runs clear. Afterward, drain, and throw it in the stew.
- Lotus root, like a potato, will oxidize quickly if peeled and sliced into large chunks in advance of the soup’s preparation. Keep it in reserve until right before you start cooking.
- Start by combining the (blanched) pork, seaweed, lotus root, ginger, goji berries, and cold water in a stock pot. Boil and heat to a low simmer immediately.
- Let it simmer, covered, for at least four hours (the longer, the better). It will taste much better when reheated the next day. Season with salt to taste, then garnish with chopped scallion.