Pork & Daikon Soup

This is a great winter comfort food that is quick to assemble but does need some time to cook. Of course, you could make this vegan by leaving out the pork and using a vegetable broth. I made a fun discovery about daikon by mistake (apparently I put the daikon too close to the cold air flow of the fridge): if you’re using it for soup, it can be frozen from its fresh state! (It wouldn’t work too well for other dishes after thawing – too watery.) Thaw it slightly to slip the skin off, then cut as indicated.

If you want to add the seaweed, you should look for kelp (scientifically called laminaria, known as haidai in Mandarin) that has been dried in strips. If you don’t have an Asian market nearby, you can alternatively order from the Maine Seaweed Company if you already know you like seaweed. For more information on seaweed, you can visit this page about the medicinal value of seaweed and Michael Guiry’s Seaweed Site, which has a lot of scientific info and great pictures.

ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb pork spareribs, cut across the bone into 2″ sections, then separated into individual ribs or 1 lb baby back ribs separated into individual ribs (try to buy pastured pork – you’ll do your health, your tastebuds, the pig, and the environment a favor!)
  • 1 qt water or broth (low sodium if you’re using canned)
  • 1/2 lb daikon
  • 1-2 strips of kelp, optional
  • salt to taste – seaweed is salty, so you may not need to add any

method:

  1. Place the ribs in the liquid and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and skim any scum from the top of the liquid – if you boil too rapidly, your soup will be cloudy. Simmer for approximately 1 h, or until almost completely tender.
  2. In the meantime, peel the daikon and cut it into 1″ thick rounds, then quarter or halve the rounds.
  3. If using kelp, wash it, soak it in cool water for 15-30 m, rinse and repeat, rinsing it again before cutting it into 2″ sections.
  4. Add the daikon to the soup, and simmer for 30 – 60 m more, adding the kelp about 15 m before pork and daikon are both completely tender. The kelp will help to thicken the soup slightly and give it a smooth, glossy look and feel.
  5. Adjust the seasoning, and serve.
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2 Responses

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