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Burdock Soup 牛蒡汤

Friday, 11 February 2011

The Cantonese love their soups but the wild boar is an anomaly. He loves butternut squash soup, seafood bisque but not a huge fan of Chinese herbal or any Cantonese slow-cooked soups (lo foh tong 老火湯). See the trend there? He enjoys rich and thick stuff rather than clear broth. That's the reason why I rarely cook soup, having it once a week is way too frequent he says.

Burdock Soup 牛蒡汤 2

I was quite surprised when the wild boar told me he enjoyed this. With just a few ingredients, it was really tasty. The main ingredient of this soup is this tree branch-like thing. It was about 1 meter long, I cut it just to fit the entire thing into a picture. It gives the soup a very pungent and earthy flavour. Tasty aside, it was quite...fibrous. I'm not sure if that's normal since I've never had it before.

Burdock Soup 牛蒡汤

This is not just any other woody tree branch, it is known as the burdock root 牛蒡. Also known as "gobo" in Japanese, burdock root is harvested from the Great burdock plant (botanical name: Arctium lappa). It is originally from Europe, Siberia, and mainland China but it is popularised in Japan. It is also known as the "oriental ginseng" due to its extremely high nutritional values.

Burdock is rich in nutrients like protein, vitamins A, B1, and C, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and other minerals. It also contains inulin which is a natural dietary fiber, thus aids digestion. In addition, burdock has been traditionally used as a "blood purifier" to clear the bloodstream of toxins. Besides, it also prevents aging, moisturises skin, prevents strokes, lowers blood pressure and blood sugar, relieves constipation, diarrhoea, and high cholesterol. It is also useful for treating colds, cough and sore throat. Burdock is also said to help fight cancer.

All in all, burdock is good for you!

Burdock Soup 牛蒡汤 3
Ingredients:
Adapted from Happyhomemaker88
  • 1 burdock root (about 1 meter long)
  • 700 g pork ribs
  • 15 dried Chinese red dates
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup goji berries
  • Salt

Directions:
  • Peel the burdock root, cut into smaller chunks and soak in water for about 10 mins. [this helps to get rid of the bitter woody taste.]
  • Blanch the pork ribs. [Place pork ribs and enough water to cover all the ribs in a pot, bring it to a boil. You will see a lot of scum on the surface. Discard and rinse the ribs under cold water.]
  • Place blanched pork ribs, burdock, red dates and water into a pressure cooker pot. Cook under pressure for about 1 hr. Allow the pressure cooker to cool down on its own. [You can simmer for about 3-4 hrs if you don't have a pressure cooker.]
  • After the pressure is released, return the pot to heat, add goji berries and simmer for further 10 mins.
  • Add salt to taste.

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