pumpkin and pork bone soup


When I was a young child, my Nanny nicknamed me “summer water closet”, because she said I could drink more soup than anybody else in the family.  My beloved Nanny made soup almost every day while she was working with us.  She was more than our nanny and was very much a member of the family and I was told many times that I was her favorite !    I remember everyday when I came home from school, the minute I dropped my school bag in the middle of the living room, I would run into the kitchen to find out what was in that clay pot of hers.  Without failure, there was always a big bowl of soup sitting on the counter waiting for me.  She would smile and watch me down that big bowl of steamy soup in minutes. I am pretty sure that must be the highlight of her day.

After Nanny retired, my mom took up the responsibility of making soup.  Her soup had the most expensive ingredients in it for she believes even now the importance of having the right kind of soup for the family.  She would spend hours washing, cutting and watching the pot simmer on the stove.  To her that was her way to show love to the clan.  Unfortunately mom is too old to make soup now,  even a few years ago when I went back home for visit she would drag her body around to make me the soup she thought I need. ( You look too pale !!) But as the years go by, her body is failing her and there is no way she can stand long enough to cook for her little girl. 

As you can see soup does bring back a lot of good memories for me, of my childhood and the two ladies whom I love dearly.  Sadly Nanny passed away many years ago, but her toothless smile and that super long braid of hers are forever seared into my mind.   I am so blessed to have memories of this wonderful woman.  

I was not diligent at all in soup making when I was raising my own brood.  Now that the family is all grown up I have rediscovered the joy and the benefits of a good pot of soup.  I am beginning to understand and appreciate the medicinal purposes of the different kinds of soup. Fortunately my youngest daughter has now inherited this penchant for soup and she is more than happy to try out the different concoction I come up with.

I used to buy the soup packages from the local chinese grocery, it has all the ingredients you need and all you have to do is follow the instructions and you will have a delicious pot of soup for the table.  Lately I have become more adventurous and want to find different “twists” for the old.  During my “surfing” on the internet, I came across this wonderful website “The Chinese Soup Lady”, and now I am very much inspired to try new recipes.  I found this Pumpkin and Pork soup the other day and was quite surprised for I had never thought of cooking pumpkin in a Chinese soup and more than willing to give it a whirl.  

This soup is different in a nice sort of way.  It is definitely something I will make again, but next time I will cook the pork bones broth a little longer and  put the pumpkin in maybe ten minutes prior to serving.  As for the century egg, I will leave them out the next time, as I am not too keen with them.  

So here is the recipe from her site:


 1 pound of fresh pork bones
1/2 fresh Japanese pumpkin, cubed with skin intact
4 century eggs, washed and halved
1 tablespoon of apricot kernals
2 L of water

  1. Rinse and soak the apricot kernals for 10 minutes in warm water
  2. Boil your soup water
  3. Wash pork bones and in a separate pot of boiling water, blanch your bones for 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  4. Wash and cut up pumpkin, while keeping the outer skin on (this helps keep the pumpkin from disintegrating)
  5. When soup water boils, add the pork bones, the pumpkin and the apricot kernals
  6. Boil on high heat for 30 minutes and add the century eggs
  7. Reduce heat and boil on medium for another hour
  8. Serve and enjoy!

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