Chinese cabbage soup is an Asian delicacy typically prepared with Chinese varieties of cabbage namely Napa cabbage or bok choy. These varieties of cabbage are most commonly used in the Chinese cuisine, especially in soups and salads.
The succulent and green leaves of Chinese vegetables provide a flavorful taste to any soup made with variable combinations of meats, vegetables, lentils, tofu and seasonings.
Preparation of Cabbage Soups
Chinese cabbage leafs are cut into halves before being added to any Chinese cabbage soup. Boiling and simmering are the most common methods of preparing soup. As the base of the soup, a homemade stock or stock cube can be used. Homemade stock can be prepared by boiling the meats or vegetables along with onions, herbs and spices. It can be preserved in a freezer, if, made in large quantity.
Cabbage takes less time to cook and tenderize and so, the leaves of this vegetable are cooked either by the steaming method or by the stir-frying technique. However, the cooking time may vary according to the other ingredients of the soup.
Chinese cabbage is said to have ‘natural sweetness’ that adds flavor to the soup.
Popular Chinese Cabbage Soups
- Chinese cabbage soup with pork bones – Blanched pork bones are used in this dish, but pork can be substituted with chicken, if desired. Bunch of Napa cabbage is rinsed well before being sliced into wedges. Minimal ingredients including salt and garlic cloves are included to add flavor to the soup. Crushed garlic is added at the end of the cooking that allows the beneficial nutrients to be extracted from the garlic without over-cooking it.
- Chinese meat ball and cabbage soup – This is an Asian creation that incorporates meatballs and cabbage and bears the pungent flavor of fresh ginger. Perfection in the Chinese flavor is achieved by including soy sauce, rice wine or vinegar. Meatballs are prepared beforehand to reduce the preparation time. Mushrooms are incorporated in the soup for more taste. Flavor of the soup is enhanced by adding onion, garlic, salt and pepper. The soup is generally served with hoisin sauce on the side.
Mung bean and Chinese cabbage soup – This is a vegan soup cooked with mushrooms, ginger-garlic, dry sherry, soy sauce and toasted sesame seeds along with Chinese cabbage.
Chinese Cabbage Soup: Nutritional Facts
Though Chinese cabbage is a rich source of Vitamin A and C, the other ingredients used in cabbage soups may increase or lower the nutritional worth of the dish. For example, homemade soups are healthier than packaged soup powders, but creamed homemade soup contains more fats and calories.