Friday, July 15, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Slow & steady (& pork ribs soup with winter melon)

I have a new best friend in the kitchen, who has been working very hard these days... Meet Mr Crock Pot (or Mr Slow Cooker), who used to reside under the hubby's bed when he stayed in hostel during his uni days.  Hubby would sometimes cook soup, and this pot would be dug out to serve its purpose, and then be shoved under the bed when it wasn't used.  Once, the pot overflowed when he was out, so he came back from lectures to a whole puddle of soup under his bed!

Anyway, the pot followed him when he moved out of hostel, and was finally banished to a kitchen cupboard for a long long time.  This was until a few weeks ago, when I found it sitting sadly, all covered in dust.  I dug it out, gave it a nice long scrub, and started using it to cook all my soups... and I must say I'm loving it, since it means I save on gas!  The pot keeps warm for a long time after you turn off the heat, so you don't have to keep the switch on all the time.  In addition, I can leave my soups to simmer even when I leave the house, which wasn't the case when we used the stove to cook our soups.

And here's one recipe I just tried out using the slow-cooker, and quite enjoy:

Pork Ribs Soup with Winter Melon and Gingko Nuts
(Adapted from a chicken soup recipe from Naturally Speaking, by Terry Tan)

300 g pork ribs (the usual recipe calls for 1.5 kg of chicken, but I used pork, as Junior J was not allowed to eat chicken for awhile)
2 litres of water
450 g winter melon (peel, remove pith and cut into chunks)
Gingko nuts (approximately 1 handful, if using dried nuts, pre-soak for an hour)
10 red dates
1 honey date (this was added to sweeten the soup, since gingko nuts may make the soup slightly bitter)
Wolfberries (approximately 1 handful)

1. Heat water in pot.  At the same time, scald pork ribs in boiling water and rinse.
2. When water in pot is boiling, add pork ribs, red dates, and the honey date.
3. Add gingko nuts after an hour of simmering.
4. Add winter melon chunks about 1 hour before serving (to prevent them from being boiled to a mush!).
5. Stir in wolfberries 5 minutes before serving.

Do you use a slow-cooker at home?  And do you have any favourite soup recipes to share?

PS: The girly giveaway is still on-going!  Have you taken part yet?


  1. i love my slow cooker! i disliked having to watch over the fire when cooking soup with the stove as it takes so long. Slow cooking brings out the best of the ribs/bones. sometimes i leave all the ingredients in the pot with water and wake up with a lovely pot of soup!

    pork ribs, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, onions (add half hour before serving).. wahlah.. ABC soup. tomatoes gives a nice sourish taste and potatoes dont get mushy when cooking with slow cooker.

  2. I've never tried adding gingko nuts to my winter melon soup, I'll give it a try next! I put in dried scallops though :) And have you tried sharkfin melon? I put pork, red dates, wolfberries and dried scallops. Yum!

  3. ooh i have to try this..i wonder if i can get the red dates, etc from here...does Junior J like this soup u made??? it's so cold here.any warm soup is good!

  4. I love slow cooker cooking for the same reasons as you! Not having to watch the stove ranks very high up the positive list. I do stews as well in this. I actually have a Slow Cooker recipe book. Can lend it to you next time!

  5. Glogurl: Thanks for dropping by! Your soup sounds yummy, thanks for sharing!

    Ruth: I've never heard of sharkfin melon! Can you buy that at markets?

  6. Just Me: J liked it, thanks to the honey date, which made it sweet! If T likes sweet soups, then you might wanna add an extra honey date and less gingko since the latter might make the soup a lil bitter...

    Corsage: OOOH, yes, I would love to borrow the book next time! Thanks so much for offering it!

  7. Sharksfin melon is perfect for this - as it takes 3 hours for the melon to cook to disintegrate into mock sharks fin. I discovered a root vegetable called "fen ge" (I think it's arrowroot but not sure) during confinement, which you just have to substitute for winter melon in your soup (and less out the gingko nuts). It being a root vegetable, would need to boil much longer than the melon. Add in carrots for colour and taste, and just the honey date would do as fen ge imbues its own form of sweetness.

    Post more soup recipes! I do one every day for dinner and am so far on the usual lotus root, ABC soup (corn carrot and the like), chicken and watercress (best as it's a meal in one), fen ge and pork rib soup, and a sour Filipino soup called sinigang.

  8. Tee hee! Itsfunny how the universe works sometimes. I have decided that we're getting a slow cooker. And suddenly all these sort of recipes start popping out at sites I visit! Thanks for sharing! I will give this a go someday.. Hopefully soon!

  9. Maril: Wow thanks for all the tips! Where on earth can I buy the sharksfin melon? Your soups sound yummy... we love soups over here, so will post up recipes that work, after trying them out! :)

    Kelly: Oh, what a co-incidence! Do share those recipes that work for yourself too... could always do with more recipes to try!

  10. Sorry for my late reply. You can get sharksfin melon from the market and supermarket. So far, the ones I saw at NTUC are usually cut up (e.g. like pumpkin). I boil the soup in slow cooker and I don't bother to remove the seeds beforehand (or else quite a bit of the melon will get cut out too). After cooking for few hours in the slow cooker, the seed will come out on their own and float on top of the soup and I'll just scoop them away. Or else, just give it few stirs and the seeds should come out :)

  11. Slow cooker is great but it still uses electricity. Try thermal magic cooker if you make soup frequently. No need for long period of boiling on gas or using precious electricity. :)



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