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The art of the Cantonese soup

By Pauline D Loh | China Daily | Updated: 2018-05-29 08:19
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Dried cuttlefish and lotus root soup

300 g pork soft cartilage or ribs

300 g lotus root or one large segment

1 dried cuttlefish

1 large handful raw peanuts, soaked overnight

2-3 Chinese jujubes (dried red dates)

1 small piece ginger

Salt to taste

Blanch the pork ribs in boiling water. Peel and clean the lotus root and cut into thick slices. Rinse the cuttlefish and remove the backbone. Break off the tentacles and tear the main piece into two. Rinse the peanuts and red dates, and flatten the ginger with the side of a cleaver.

Place a large pot of water to boil, about 3 liters. When it boils, add all the ingredients except the salt. Skim off any foam or scum that rises as the soup comes back to boil, then turn the heat down low to simmer for an hour. When the soup is rich and flavorful, add salt to taste.

Take out the lotus roots, soft peanuts and pork ribs and serve them by the side with a soy sauce dip.

This is another Shunde classic that I remember from childhood. It is an incredibly flavorful soup because of the alchemy that happens when cuttlefish meets pork and peanuts. The lotus root simply absorbs all the flavors.

Dried cuttlefish is commonly seen along the southern coastal cities of China. Squid, or cuttlefish, is splayed and dried in the sun, with the heat concentrating all the sweetness as it shrinks and hardens. It actually looks like a miniature kite with its trailing tentacles.

Peanuts, slow cooked, contribute their nutty sweetness to the soup.

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