Chinese Soups

Chinese soups require great skill and expertise
Photo by: Augapfel, Creative Commons

Chinese cuisine is known to be very diverse and original due to the many cultures and regions that make up China. With such diversity and rich history to behind it, Chinese cuisine has become famous in the international scene. Chinese chefs and cooks are in demand worldwide because it is very hard to prepare Chinese food without the necessary skill and expertise. The creativity and ingenuity of Chinese chefs have made it possible to come up with an amazing assortment of Chinese soups that are diverse in flavors and texture.

As with the soups of France, Chinese soups are highly dependent on the stock or broth base. The stock is made by boiling meats, vegetables and bones into a liquid broth in order to release the flavor. But unlike French stocks which use different spices and herbs, Chinese broths have no added seasonings in order to maintain the original flavor of the stock. Chicken is the main choice for broth, with pork as a close second. Beef on the other hand is not used for making broth because its flavor is deemed too strong. Chinese soups are generally made from three kinds of stocks. First is a broth made from a whole chicken. Second is a stock made from bones only. And finally, gourmet stock which is made from an assortment of ingredients and is used for banquet soups such as Shark’s Fin soup.

There are two broad groups that encompass all the known Chinese soups – thick and thin. Thin soups are made from a clear broth which is cooked quickly and where the ingredients are added at the end. Thick soups on the other hand are cooked with all the ingredients thrown in all at once in a slow cooking process in order to combine the flavors, after which cornstarch is added to thicken the soup. Thin soups like Chicken and Spinach soup are best served as a beverage during meals, while thick soups like hot and sour soups and shark’s fin can serve as a meal on their own.

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