Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sea Coconut Pear Soup (水梨海底椰汤)

These are fresh sea coconuts that I bought from my neighbourhood wet market.  This could be a seasonal fruit since I do not see them all year round at the market and never in the supermarket before.  Sea coconut is believed to relieve heatiness, cough & phlegm (remember the cough syrup brand "非洲海底椰止咳露”?  though I think most of the sea coconuts sold locally are imported from Thailand).  

You can cook them as a sweet dessert with snow fungus (雪耳), candied dates (蜜枣) and Osmanthus flowers (桂花), or as a savory soup, as what I have done here.  Pear and candied date are usually paired with apricot seeds (南北杏)to relieve cough.  For this soup, the use of pear and candied date add sweetness to the soup while the sea coconut gives this soup a light coconut fragrance.

Preparation work:
1) Peel the skin of the sea coconut.  This can be done easily with a small paring knife as the skin is quite soft.  Cut them into big chunks.
2) Wash and soak the lotus seeds in hot water and remove the inner stems (莲子心) .
3) Peel the pear and cut into 4 to 6 large pieces.
4) Lightly rinse the candied date.
5) Wash and blanch the pork muscles.  I use pork muscles as I want my soup to be light and clear after slow-cooking.  Plus, the meat of the pork muscles is very tender and nice to eat (even after 2 hours cooking).

Boil 1.5 litre water in pot and place all ingredients in the pot.  When water starts boiling again, turn to low heat and simmer for 1.5 hours.  Add salt to taste.

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