Sweet Corn Pork Rib Soup Recipe: Sweet corn pork rib soups belongs to the 煲汤 (Po Tong in Cantonese) class of soups, which are more elaborate and take more than 2.5 hours to simmer. Kids love this soup for its natural sweetness and beautiful colours!
My mother is a Cantonese, so like all good Cantonese households, it is a must to have a soup in every meal. Usually on the weekdays, we would have 滚汤 (Gun Tong in Cantonese) – ‘quick boiling soups’ which take 30 minutes or less to cook, such as Potato, Carrot and Onion (or ABC) soup, Szechuan Vegetable with Sliced Meat, and Chye Sim Soup with Meatballs, and Tofu with Fishball Soup just to name a few.
During weekends we would have 煲汤 (Po Tong in Cantonese) which are more elaborate soups and takes more than 2.5 hours to slowly boil. Soups like Salted Vegetable Duck Soup, Old Cucumber Soup, Lotus Root Soup, Chinese Watercress and Honey Date Soup (西洋菜汤) Recipe and Sweet Corn Pork Rib soup all fall in the category of Po Tong. Sweet Corn Pork Rib soup is my youngest daughter’s favourite, and actually this soup is a meal on its own with corn, carrots and pork ribs, that you can just eat with plain rice.
Choosing to use Pork Ribs or Pork Bones
For this soup, its not necessary to always use pork ribs. For a more economical option, you can replace the pork ribs with pork bones as well. Two good choices of pork bones to use are known colloquially as “bing bang ban” (乒乓板, literally translated as ping pong bat) and “suo shi gu” (锁匙骨, literally translated as key bone) which you can get from your local butcher at the wet market.
These two cuts of economical cuts of pork are good for soups – even after boiling, the meat on the bones still taste good when eaten because there is some fats (but not too much) to keep the meat tender and yet not make the soup oily.
Sweet corn pork rib soups belongs to the 煲汤 (Po Tong in Cantonese) class of soups, which are more elaborate and take more than 2.5 hours to simmer. Kids love this soup for its natural sweetness and beautiful colours!
INGREDIENTS FOR SWEET CORN PORK RIB SOUP (serves 6-8)
- Sweet Corn, 2
- Pork Spare Ribs, 1 Kg
- Dried shiitake mushroom, 5-6
- Red Date, 6 pieces
- Large Carrot, 1
- Wolfberry, 1 TBsp
- Yellow Onion, 1
- Water, 3.5 litres
PREPARATION FOR SWEET CORN PORK RIB SOUP (20 min)
- Wash the mushrooms, then soak in hot water for 15 minutes. Don’t discard the mushroom water.
- Set a kettle of water to boil, then wash the spare ribs.
- Blanche the spare ribs with the boiling water, then wash and drain.
- Wash, peel and chop the carrots into chunks.
- Wash, peel and chop the onion into small wedges.
- Cut the sweet corn into 3 or 4 pieces
COOKING METHOD FOR SWEET CORN PORK RIB SOUP (2h 15 min)
- In a large pot, bring water to boil. Then add in pork ribs, mushroom and the mushroom water.
- Boil for half an hour, then add in the sweet corn, carrots, onions.
- Continue to boil for another 1.5 hours at medium heat. Cover the pot with the lid, leaving a small gap so the water will not overflow.
- Add in the red dates and wolf berries, then boil for another 15 minutes. Add salt to taste if you prefer, and the soup is ready to be served.
TOP TIPS FOR SWEET CORN PORK RIB SOUP
- When soaking the mushrooms, add just enough water to cover 1 inch above the mushrooms, otherwise the mushrooms will end up tasteless. For tips on how to select shiitake mushrooms of good quality, check out my article How to Choose Shiitake Mushrooms here.
- Blanching the pork ribs beforehand helps to remove the blood and blood clots, so there will not be a strong pork smell after cooking.
- Do not boil the red dates and wolf berries for too long, otherwise the soup will become sour. Add them in only during the last 15 minutes.
- To enhance the taste of the soup, you can also add chicken bones (2 carcasses) to the soup together with the pork ribs. You will need to blanche the chicken beforehand as well.
- You can replace the pork ribs with pork bones as well. Two good choices are ping pang ban (乒乓板) and suo shi gu (锁匙骨) which you can get from your local butcher at the wet market. These two cuts of economical cuts of pork are good for soups – even after boiling, the meat on the bones still taste good when eaten because there is some fats (but not too much) to keep the meat tender and yet not make the soup oily.
- Indonesian pork (from the wet market) tends to be leaner and sweeter than Australian pork (typically sold at supermarkets like NTUC), so the soup will not be oily.
- More water can be added to the soup but it must be hot boiling water so that the temperature will not drop suddenly, affecting the cooking time.
- Try to buy red dates with seeds. Firstly they are sweeter. Secondly pitted red dates, if stored too long at the shops, may have tiny insects and spider webs forming inside the centre hollow of the dates.
- Don’t soak the wolfberries. Rinse them just before adding them into the soup otherwise they will become mushy.
Suggested Modifications for Special Diets
- Baby/Toddler-Friendly: You can use the soup as a base for cooking porridge to make the porridge more tasty.
- Child-Friendly:Soups are great nourishing foods for everyone including children. You can serve the soup on its own, or serve over white rice.
- Egg-Free:no modifications needed
- Fish-Free: No modifications needed.
- Gluten-Free: No modifications needed.
- Nut-Free: No modifications needed.
- Shellfish-Free: No modifications needed.