Recipes: Chinese Black Bean Soup

This is supposed to be really good for the blood circulation according to my MIL. Here’s the recipe I came up with based on what I’ve seen in my MIL’s soup and what I found in a Chinese Cooking recipe book which I had to modify because it contained a lot of weird ingredients that I will never ever put in any soup I drink.

If the ingredients are unfamiliar or the quantity is not standardised, I have added links to images of what I used so you can find them, too.


  • 4 chicken thigh bones
  • 1 fist size chunk of lean pork
  • 15 red dates
  • 1 rice bowl of black beans (found these in the organic section of Mercato supermarket)
  • water (I used 3 IKEA bowls)
  • salt to taste


  • You don’t have to use chicken bones or lean pork. You can also use pork spare ribs which is the norm for most Chinese soups, I reckon. I used chicken bones and lean pork because they were all I had in the freezer.
  • The recipe I read said you have to pan fry the black beans until they split open. Did I do that? No. Did it work? Yes. So no, you don’t have to do that either but it will probably make your soup “nicer” (not that I would ever have noticed, though).
  • Before making any soup, the norm is to boil the meat in water for a few minutes to remove the “meat scum” (or albumin). After that, you wash the meat and put it back into fresh water. If you can’t be bothered, the easier way is to boil the meat in water, skim off the meat scum, then add your remaining soup ingredients.
  • If you can’t wait around for the cooking time, you can always through everything into a slow cooker in the morning before you head out for the day.


  • Boil your meat to remove the meat scum.
  • Add all ingredients (except the salt) into a large pot.
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Simmer for at least 3 hours.
  • Add salt to taste and water for dilution if the soup is to thick/rich (because of water evaporation during the simmering process).
  • Serve.

Easy peasy.

Your end result looks sort of like this. One day (probably never) I will get a photo of my own to add to the space below. Until now, you’ll have to trust that this recipe works and that it tastes acceptably authentic.

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