This rich soup is infused with the refreshing aroma of lotus root. The pork will fall from the bones when gently touch by chopsticks. The lotus root is slight sweet and tender. A great one-dish-meal for a light dinner.
Last Wednesday was the beginning of spring (立春, li chun) according to the Chinese lunar calendar. Despite temperatures still dropping as low as minus 10 degrees C (14 F) at night and the fact that it just snowed last week, we can sense that spring is approaching.
Are you looking forward to spring? I sure am! But I have to confess, I will definitely miss eating hot and hearty winter soup. I love all sorts of soups, and I enjoy them no matter which season it is. But especially in the wintertime, a hot bowl of soup not only satisfies our taste buds, but also warms up our hearts.
Last weekend, I cooked another big pot of lotus root soup and devoured it all. It felt like an addiction. I couldn’t stop eating and was totally indulged in the warmth the hot soup brought me, while it was still freezing outside.
The combination of lotus root and pork ribs is a classic. It seems so simple, yet it creates a rich, flavorful, and satisfying soup.
Like other pork-based soups, the ribs are simmered until tender, creating a rich, savory soup. The lotus adds a nice flowery aroma, so the soup feels refreshing and light. After braising, the lotus root will be very tender and lose its crispness, becoming starchy and reminiscent of taro root.
People in China consider this dish a medicinal one (药膳, yao shan), because traditional Chinese medicine considers it to have a great amount of health benefits. This is the type of food a mom would cook for her daughter who just gave birth. But for me, it’s just a comforting and soothing dish that I enjoy as a complete meal. It contains a good amount of protein, vitamins, dietary fiber, and carbs. So why not?
To make this dish more interesting, I made a simple dipping sauce to serve with the ribs. It’s my all-time favorite and I use it for almost every type of boiled meat – chicken, pork, beef, or duck. To create the sauce, simply mix some light soy sauce with Chinese black vinegar and a pinch of sugar. It’s a savory sauce that’s slightly sweet and brings out the great flavor of boiled protein. If you don’t have black vinegar, simply use some soy sauce with a pinch of sugar. It works like magic.
If you’ve never dealt with fresh lotus root before, you should check out this video. I recorded the video for a stir fried lotus root recipe, but it includes the process of preparing lotus root at the beginning.
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Lotus Root Soup With Pork Ribs (排骨莲藕汤)
For the soup
- 1 lbs (450 g) pork spareribs , cut into single ribs
- 1 lbs (450 g) 1 pound lotus root
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
- 1 thumb ginger , sliced
- 4 tablespoon green onions
- Salt to taste
For the dipping sauce
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Chinkiang vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Add pork spareribs and 8 cups water into a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Skim the foam from the surface until the soup is clear.
- While boiling the ribs, prepare the lotus root. Wash lotus root carefully. Peel the root and remove tough ends. Cut into 2 equal parts lengthwise, then chop into irregular bite size pieces.
- (Optional) Transfer the ribs and boiling water into a dutch oven, without transferring the cooked blood on the bottom of the pot. This step helps you to get a clear soup in the end. You can skip this if you like.
- Place lotus root into the dutch oven containing the ribs (If you skipped step 2, add the lotus root into the big pot with the ribs). Add Shaoxing wine, ginger, and green onion. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and cook over low heat for 1.5 to 2 hours, until the ribs almost fall off the bones and the lotus root becomes very tender. If the soup reduces too quickly, add a bit hot water during cooking. Do not add water during the final 30 minutes.
- Add salt to taste.
- Mix light soy sauce, black vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl.
- Serve the soup warm with the dipping sauce. Dip the ribs in the sauce while eating.
The nutrition facts are calculated based on 1 of the 4 servings generated by this recipe.
More recipes that use lotus root:
Honey Lotus Root with Sticky Rice (糯米藕)
A classic appetizer that is gooey and sweet. It’s vegan and gluten-free.
Chinese Spicy Roast Fish (重庆烤鱼)
The crispy and moist roasted fish is served with varies vegetables that are cooked in a pungent hot sauce.
Stir Fried Lotus Root with Pepper
Cooked with a light and appetizing sweet-sour sauce, this is a super healthy side that you can have done in 15 minutes.
Questions and Reviews
I love all soups and could eat them all day every day. This looks like a delicious soup and seems like I could find the ingredients here. Can’t wait to give it a try.
This soup looks great. I never know what to do with spare ribs and I see lotus roots in Chinatown markets but never knew what to do with it. I love all the lotus root recipes too. Pinning, and subscribed to your youtube channel (the videos are great)
Glad you hear you found my video helpful 🙂 Spareribs is really delicious if you cook them long enough until the meat almost falls from the bone. I like to cook it in the soup or stew.
Thanks so much for sharing!
This looks delicious, Maggie! I’d love to have a lotus root cooking lesson from you – you’ve got it down!!
I’d never heard of lotus root before I ‘met’ you, Maggie … but now if I ever see it on a menu I’ll definitely try it!
I love how you’ve combined it with pork in this post. And that dipping sauce definitely sounds like one to remember. It’s so simple!
I love lotus root, but I’ve never cooked with it before. That’s going to have to change – this dish looks and sounds absolutely delicious!
I’ve always wanted to cook lotus root but didn’t know how to prepare it! Thanks for the wonderful video. You are amazing Maggie!! 🙂
When my daughter-in-law had her first baby I was there and so was her birth mother from Taiwan. She made this soup for her!! I hadn’t thought of it in years. It was really good and very comforting.
Yep, Chinese moms really likes to make this type of soup for the daughter 🙂 Soup is considered to be comforting, healthy and high in nutrition. Also because people tend to avoid cold dishes (equals hot food / drink is good for healthy). Cold food and drinks are forbidden things to women who just give birth. When I showed American style baby shower food pics to my mom, she was so surprised 🙂
My son and daughter-in-law live in Atlanta. Ming’s mother doesn’t speak English but we spent 2 weeks together and had no trouble communicating through charades. 🙂
I love lotus root – and often order it when travelling in Asia. It’s so hard to find here in Australia though.. but if I can get my hands on some this will be the first dish I make Maggie!
This soup reminds me of mom’s cooking. My mom made this soup occasionally. Since I have moved to the State, I haven’t made Chinese soup at all. It was hard to make soup when I was living by myself. When I got married, Bryan isn’t a fan of brothy soup. And I have no idea how to make Chinese soup either. After seeing your recipe, I really want to make this. Bring back some of the flavors from home. 🙂
I totally understand the feeling! I probably won’t cook this dish if I’m living alone. And I won’t feel like cooking it unless the rest of the family can enjoy it too. I think it’s the type of family dish that supposed to be shared.
Glad to hear this recipe is helpful. Hope the flavor is as nice as the one your mom used to make 🙂
Soups are my favorite! Love this lotus root soup. I used to help my mom make this for our family when we were growing up almost every week. After I got married I think I”ve only made it a handful of times which needs to change since you’ve totally got me craving some. Yours looks so delicious and perfect 🙂
I love lotus root so much! I don’t know many ways to cook with it so this is a FAB one to add to my stash!! 🙂
Hi! I want to make this recipe sometime for my cooking class, except a few classmates can’t have pork. Would beef ribs be a proper alternative?
I think it would work but beef ribs are tougher and requires a much longer cooking time.
I think using bone-in chicken pieces (thighs or legs) can be a better alternatives.