This article will explain how to prepare my favorite home-cooked Chinese vegetable soup with carrots and daikon (radish).
This Chinese soup is a regular dish for my family, previously cooked by my mother and recently myself.
We used slightly different ingredients for the soup but still shared a few similarities. First, they are clear soups, just like most other Asian soups. We never mash or blend the vegetables to make them creamy. Secondly, we always prepare the soup base separately with either chicken or pork bone, which depends on what is available on that day. (Note: This is not a vegetarian recipe.)
Finally, we like to add other root vegetables to create a more colorful and wholesome soup. My mom likes to include potatoes, but I am keener to add sweet corn for the flavor.
The recipe is divided into two sections. First, you need to prepare the soup stock with the bones. You can use the store-bought chicken stock if you run out of time or wish for an easy way out. This option will lessen the workload by half and shorten the preparation time to less than thirty minutes
Note Daikon is also called daikon radish. Chinese radish or white radish in Chinese. it is 白萝卜 which is translated as ‘white carrot’ in verbatim.
Here are the steps to prepare Chinese vegetable soup.
1. Prepare the chicken soup stock
A high-quality stock is the foundation of a bowl of good soup.
Some of the best soup stock in the restaurant is prepared with a combination of chicken bones, pork bones, Chinese ham, and vegetables.
Since this is not practical to cook this way at home, we usually use only chicken or pork bone as the ingredients for the soup base. I am using two chicken carcasses in this daikon and carrot soup recipe to prepare the chicken broth. Some home cooks prefer to use pork ribs served as part of the meal. If you want to save time, you can also use store-bought chicken stock, although the conclusion may not be as good as preparing it from scratch.
Note: Please use vegetable broth to prepare the soup if you want to turn it into a vegetarian dish.
Here are the steps:
1. Clean the chicken carcasses with running water to remove as much debris and blood as possible. Drain.
2. Chop the chicken carcass into large chunks with a clever.
3. Put the bone in a large pot and fill it with cold water. Ensure the water is sufficient to submerge the bones, which is essential to extract the flavor from the chicken bone.
4. Bring it to a boil. Remove the scum floating on the surface with a small wire mesh strainer.
5. Let the bones simmer for forty-five minutes over low heat, then remove the bones with a pair of tongs. A gentle simmer is a secret to extracting the flavor from the bones.
6. Keep removing the scum floating on top from time to time to ensure you will get a clear stock.
7. After forty-five minutes, pour the chicken stock through a wire mesh strainer to remove any unwanted debris.
2. Cut all the vegetables
The main vegetable used in this Asian soup is daikon and carrot. Although you can only use daikon (also called radish by the Chinese) with delicious soup stock, it is more wholesome if you use various vegetables to make the Chinese vegetable soup more colorful and tasty.
Besides the daikon, other vegetables suitable for this recipe are carrots, onion, sweet corn, potatoes, and tomatoes.
You may need to include them, or it partly depends on your preference and availability.
I cut the daikon and carrot into slices, the onion into small chunks, and break the sweet corn into 4 to 5 sections.
If you want to include potatoes, cut the potatoes into bite-sized portions with or without the skin. As for the tomatoes, cut them into small pieces and simmer them along with other vegetables.
Is it safe to cook daikon with carrots?
Some people do not want to cook daikon and carrot together because they have heard that these two ingredients should not be cooked together.
It doesn’t do much harm; only carrots have an enzyme that destroys the vitamin C in the white radish.
According to this article, Vitamin C begins to denature at a temperature as low as 86°F, much lower than the boiling point of the soup. That means the vitamin C in daikon will also be destroyed during boiling, even without carrots.
If this is your concern, please omit the daikon and substitute it with tomatoes and potatoes. That will become a classic root vegetable soup, a.k.a. ABC soup, popular among Malaysian Chinese. You may also want to explore some Vietnamese cuisine that uses carrots and daikon as pickles (without cooking).
If you look at it from the perspective of culinary, the natural sweetness of carrot, is the perfect counterpart of the bitterness of the daikon, the reason why this soap is so delicious.
3. Simmer and season the soup
Once you have all the ingredients ready, you can start boiling the soup.
Here are the steps:
1. Bring the filtered chicken stock to a boil again in the stockpot.
2. Add the carrots, daikon, and sweet corn to the soup pot. Turn down the heat when the soup is boiling again.
3. Let it simmer for 30 minutes until the carrot and daikon are soft.
4. Add the onion and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes. I usually do not add the onion earlier because I do not want it to disintegrate when served.
5. Season the Chinese vegetable soup with salt and white pepper. Serve.
If you like this recipe, you may also want to try other Chinese soups on this blog. I suggest you try the egg drop soup, which is quick and easy to prepare. You may also like the Malaysian-style oxtail soup burst with local herbs and spices.
- This Chinese vegetable soup recipe is quite versatile. You can change the combination of vegetables in the recipe. For example, you can add some spring onions (green onions), napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage, water chestnuts, and some Chinese shiitake mushrooms.
- As for white paper, you can substitute it with black pepper or add some white peppercorns to the soup while boiling.
- Adding a few garlic cloves while boiling the soup is also a good idea.
- Most of the vegetables used are root vegetables in this recipe, so I will leave the leaf vegetables out of it.
- Some recipes also add some sesame oil at the last minute, although that is not my preference.
If you like this soup, here are some other Chinese soup recipes you may like.
- Egg drop soup it’s perhaps the most popular soap in Chinese restaurants. Here is my version of this food blog’s classic egg drop soup.
- Here is my baby bok choy soup with pork recipe. My mom prepared it when I was a kid, a simple recipe that could be ready in fifteen minutes.
- 1 sweet corn
- 1 medium-sized carrot
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 200g of radish
- Chicken bone from 2 chicken carcasses (or use pork bone)
- 1 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/4 tsp of white pepper
- water sufficient to submerge the bone
- Cut sweet corn into 5 to 6 portions, carrot and the radish into slices, and the onion into small pieces.
- Clean the chicken carcasses. Cut the bone into large pieces. Submerge the bones in cold water in a pot.
- Bring it to the boil. Remove the scum on the surface by using a small wire mesh strainer.
- Let the bone simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, remove the bones by using a pair of tongs.
- Filter the stock to remove any unwanted debris.
- Add the carrots, radish, and the sweet corn to the chicken stock. Let it simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the onion into the chicken stock. Let it boil for another ten minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 369Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 1894mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 34g