Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chinese White Radish Beef Ribs Soup


Cantonese are big on soups and their soups are the easiest things to cook. You only need very few ingredients but lots of time because traditional Cantonese soup is boiled for hours. I am not a patient person, and I don't like to boil my soups for too long. The most I'll boil my kampung (village) chicken is 1 1/2 hours and for my pork bones soups, lightly longer, about 2 hours. Beef bones soups take the longest, nearly 4 hours, and I do cheat with a pressure cooker.

For rainy days such as what we are getting now, Chinese white radish (daikon) with beef ribs soup is bound to please the family, especially the guys. I think it's because the beefy goodness is more hearty, more macho, as versus sissy soups like corn soup. This soup is flavorful and nutritious but a little heavy on the oil so I usually boil a big pot and scoop off the top half into a big bowl and chill it so that the hardened layer of oil on top can be easily peeled off.

I have seen some recipes for the same soup with a hotch potch of ingredients including dried squid and dried oysters and I can tell you something's gone wrong there. You never put these dried seafood in white radish beef ribs soup, at least that's not the authentic Cantonese way. It's fine to use dried seafood with pork bones for winter melon soup but not beef and white radish. My dad, if I don't remember wrong, liked to add a piece of dried tangerine peel to his white radish beef ribs soup. The dried peel gives off a citrussy flavor and goes very well to blend the beefy stock with the more subtle-flavored white radish. However, sometimes the peel may overpower the beef flavor so I usually omit it or use a very small piece.

As with most long-stewing dishes, the soup's flavor develops and deepens the next day so most times I make sure there's enough leftover for a light lunch the next day. When Hub comes home for lunch, and it's rainy out, this tasty soup with plain rice though simple, is warming and satisfying, and life feels good. Just because of a soup.


Chinese White Radish Beef Ribs Soup
1 very large white radish/daikon
1.5 kg beef ribs, chopped into 4 to 5 cm lengths
a handful of good red dates (with seeds intact), soaked n washed
1 4X4 cm piece of dried tangerine or mandarin peel (optional), washed
1 slice of fresh ginger, about 1/2 cm thick by 4 cm long

1. Peel and cut the white radish into chunks of about 4 cm long, turning the radish as you cut so that the chunks are diagonally cut.

2. Trim the ribs well of any fat. Blanch the ribs with plenty of boiling water for a minute to remove any dirt and smell. Drain.

3. Boil a large pot (you can use a pressure cooker too) of water enough to cover the ribs 2 times over and add the ribs, mandarin peel, ginger and red dates. When the water boils again, lower the heat to medium and boil for about 2 hours or until ribs are half-tender. Add some water if it has evaporated, but not too much or the taste will be too diluted. If the lid of the pot is tight and the fire not too high, you may not need to add water at all. Some water loss is expected from all the boiling.

4. Add the white radish and boil again in medium-low heat for 1 1/2 hours or more, until the beef is tender but not falling off the bones. Season with salt and pepper.


"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

ohhh imagine this as a stew..would be a full meal by itself..yum yum!

Anonymous said...

My hub's favourite soup of all time! Yum.

Big Boys Oven said...

hahaha this is my favourite soup and must be at the perfection too before consume! :)

Precious Pea said...

I cooked this together with beef tripe too! Usually my radish is more than beef. Yumzz!!!

terri@adailyobsession said...

joe: yes, as a stew it's even better with rice.

r: a real man, ur hub :))

bbo: another real man!

pp: do u add beef tripe to the ribs? as a stew, tt'll be heavenly.

Lisa Lee said... this, must ask my mom to prepare this for dinner tomorrow. Hehe~

worldwindows said...

Nice beef soup dish. So hard to get that I will go to the Korean restaurant for my fix.

Jenny Tan said...

I'm not exactly a soup person, though I know it's good to have husband and kids LOVE soup, and the only soups I know how to cook is the ABC soup, winter melon soup and the lotus root soup :( Thanks for the recipe, cos I know they will sure love it. Esp since my husband usually eats the meat/bones (no offense to anyone, I call it doggy food, as my mom used to feed that to our dog :P) that is used in making soups...He will sure like the beef ribs! :)

Anonymous said...

we use pork neck bone instead of the beef..tends to be alil less "meaty" tasting and oily..while more flavorful

Anonymous said...

Yummm...I love Cantonese soups! How long do you boil it for using a pressure cooker? I'm planning to make the soup in my pressure cooker too. Save so much time!!

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