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Nutritious Soups for My Dearest Karen

by: Mok Tin Chi

Hong Kong China: Wan Li Book Company 2004, $69.00, Paperback
ISBN: 988-202-195-6


Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Fall Volume: 2005 Issue: 12(3) page(s): 24 and 25

The Chinese believe that soups regenerate, are a source of health, and are nourishing. These are made by daddy Mok, a well-known Hong Kong Taoist and devotee of the I Ching, or Book of Changes. He holds many family soup secrets, and reveals them in this volume, to help his daughter preserve them.

They are in chapters titled: Childhood memories, Nutrient Boosters, Energizers for Success, and Senior. Many include common herbals, other less known items. Mung beans, almonds, candied dates, preserved duck eggs, and Job’s Tears can be classified in the former category. Dang gui, cordyceps, even bitter almonds among the latter ones.

Every recipe has a sentence detailing its most important function. For example, Lean Pork Soup with Green Turnips, Carrots, and Almonds advises that ‘this soup strengthens the internal organs and improves skin texture.' Sparerib Soup with Watercress and Dried Figs indicates it ‘eliminates heat and nourishes the lungs. It is also good for other internal organs.' Shin of Pork Soup with Tomatoes, Potatoes, and Malt says that 'This soup expels dampness in the body, strengthens the spleen, and whets the appetite.'

While these recipes indicate that many health foods are common foods, there are some where an item might not be in its larder. A few years ago, for those without access to a Chinatown or an herbal emporium, this book would be too big a challenge. Not so today. With the web, search engines, and sources galore, it no longer is. Even if you deem it so, learn about the unknown ingredient, and if enticed, find a mail-order sources to get it.
Sparerib Soup with Watercress and Dried Figs
Ingredients:
1 pound watercress
1 Tablespoon coarse salt
6 dried white figs
4 teaspoons sweet almonds
4 teaspoons bitter almonds
1 pound spareribs
4 slices fresh ginger
salt to taste
Preparation:
1. Rinse the watercress and soak it in two quarts of water mixed with the salt for one hour, then rinse well under running water, and set aside.
2. Rinse the spare ribs, then pour two quarts of boiling water over them.
3. Bring three quarts of water to the boil, add all the ingredients and cook just below the boiling point for twenty minutes, then reduce the heat to simmer, and cook for two more hours. Remove all bones, add salt as needed, and serve.

                                                                                                                                                       
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