Chinese / Cooking

Papaya Soup

Papaya Soup- Yes to CookingOne of nature’s wonders, papaya improves digestion and prevents heart disease, arthritis, lung disease, and eye disorders. And with its antioxidants and loads of vitamins and minerals, papaya will help you fight off cold and flu viruses to help keep you healthy through the winter.

Papaya soup (木瓜湯) is a very simple, mild soup that is a high source of Vitamin C.  Ideal for little children or adults, this soup has a naturally sweet taste and is extremely flavorful.  Similar to many Chinese soups, the papaya soup requires cooking for several hours on low heat.  This slow cooking allows the soup broth to become concentrated, which serves to enhance the taste. For people who are pressed for time and would not be able to keep an eye on the stove, a crock pot or clay soup pot can be used as a substitute.

Total Time: 3.5 hours

Ingredients:
1 large papaya
80g pork spare ribs, sliced
15g South dried almonds
10g North dried almonds
4 pieces of dried fig
2 pieces of dried date
3 slices of ginger, peeled
7 quarts water
Salt to taste

Directions:
1) Wash and peel papaya.  Cut lengthwise and use a spoon to remove seeds.  Then cut papaya into large chunks about 1.5 inch long pieces.
2) Parboil pork spare ribs in a small pot.  Drain and set aside.
3) Bring water and ginger slices to a boil in a stockpot.
4) Add all ingredients to the stockpot.  Let simmer at a medium heat for 3 hours.  The soup should have reduced by approximately 20%.
5) Add salt to taste.  Serve hot or store in the refrigerator when cooled.

Papaya Soup- Yes to Cooking

Tips:
When selecting the papaya, choose the Carribean or Asian variety which are long and large (as opposed to the pear-shaped Hawaiian variety).  Avoid papayas that have completely ripened.  Papayas should be firm to the touch with a slight yield, so that they remain as chunks after boiling.

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8 thoughts on “Papaya Soup

    • So interesting! My grandmother used to make this soup for me as I was growing up. The soup usually includes white fungus (雪耳) and is known for helping to maintain beauty, by improving detoxification and preventing dark spots 🙂

    • A slightly ripe, yet firm to the touch, papaya is best! If it’s too ripe, the chunks of papaya would just dissolve after all the boiling and you wouldn’t get chunks. Definitely give it a try and let me know how it goes! 🙂

  1. This soup sounds both strange and appealing at the same time. Your photograph doesn’t show any meat and–doing the math–80g of pork rib sounds to me like a handful of bone pieces, maybe a single short rib. Or do I have that wrong? I assume it’s just there for the flavoring. Very interesting recipe. I want to try it. Ken

    • You’ve got it right! The purpose of the meat is really to bring flavoring to the soup. It’s similar to the idea of using stock. How much meat and what cut of meat to use is up to your discretion. If I use 2 mid-sized pieces of short ribs, I find that they are tender enough after the boiling to consume. If I use a leaner cut (like a pork loin), then I usually would not save it after the soup is done.

    • In this case, you would not be able to substitute it with the almonds found in a supermarket. Rather, North and South dried almonds can be purchased at Oriental food stores. It may be a bit confusing but while they are called “almonds”, they actually come from apricot kernels, with the “south” being the sweet variety and “north” being the bitter variety. They are used in many Chinese soup recipes for the medicinal properties that they lend (particularly, suppressing coughs).

      An important distinction is that these almonds can NOT be consumed raw or in large quantities as it can make one sick.

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