This month, I'm rolling out a "Bless my hair, skin and nails" mini recipe series, starting with this pumpkin soup with dried lily bulbs. If you're on a mission to go meatless on Mondays, this one sweet pot of earthy soup will fit the bill!
Initiating this mini series is my call to action for a natural glow and better physical appearance, who doesn't want that? As we age, the condition of our hair, skin and nails are the most apparent components that reflect how hard we battle through a busy, stressful lifestyle every single day. With all that maintenance and moolah 💸💸💸from our visits to the hair salon, beautician and manicurist to be at tip-top version, (psst...I visit them when I'm feeling rich), the most essential and cost-effective method we can practice is through what we consume.
I was born with fine hair that bothers me every morning when I look into the mirror. My heart sank on a bad, and flatter hair day. When visiting the dentist is your nightmare, well for me is the hair stylist. Every time I visit a new hair salon, a harmless comment like "Why is your hair so fine, thin and dry? Did you do something crazy before?" affects me.
I am embarrassed 😳, and responded, "It is hereditary" with a dry laugh 😁.
I was actually crestfallen😔 Additionally, this imperfection of mine eats me when the media frames beauty standards of woman with thick, shiny and luscious hair I knew I will never own it.
Until recent months, I was inspired by women of power and confidence, sharing about their imperfections and how they flourish with them. Their voices shape the way I look at myself now. This time, I scrutinise what I love about my features and my imperfections concurrently in front of the same mirror. I slowly learn to embrace who I am, value what my mama has given me and be unique in my own way. Since I am blessed with this amount of hair that I can blow dry them in a jiffy, I should hella cherish this hair supply with foods that boost the growth and condition. You make the best out of what you have, amirite?
This Chinese pumpkin soup with dried lily bulbs has its purported cooling effect and was served for dinner four times in the month of July due to the immense heat. The soup is vegan, meat free and seasoning free.
What is dried lily bulb (百合, bai he)?
Dried lily bulb are cleaned and sun dried from the fresh ones. They are part of the edible root vegetable family which are commonly used as herbal remedies, more highlighted in Traditional Chinese Medicine for making soups, stir fries, and desserts.
The light sweetness and cooling properties of the lily bulbs help to
relieve sore throat
relieve heart burns
tranquillise the mind
relieve dry coughs. They are ineffective against wet coughs with phlegms.
promote better sleep at night, especially if you're experiencing insomnia
Veggiebeast and my family loved it! Therefore, meat is certainly not necessary to enhance the flavour when pumpkin, daikon and carrot and red dates did a splendid job! Whilst preparing the soup, I prefer to chop them all in large chunks. They will reduced in size by a quarter over the cooking time. Having them chopped in bite sized pieces will lead them to crumble into odd shapes, especially for pumpkin.
To prepare such Chinese herbal soups, it is advisable to own a linen filter soup bag for your convenience. With the soup bag to contain the herbs or spices, it saves the hassle to separate residue from the soup before serving.
If you're planning a light dinner, this soup can feed you to your heart's content. Alternatively, I will recommend serving it with your choice of carbs in the soup, or as a side on a hungry day. For me, I love slurping these eggless pumpkin yee mee (noodles) with the soup.
Let me know once you've tried this recipe! I'll love to see your version and you can tag me on Instagram @poutchow or #poutandchow.
PUMPKIN SOUP WITH DRIED LILY BULBS (serves 4)
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
200g daikon (white radish)
60g medium sized carrot
4 dried red dates
3 tbsp dried lily buds (from Hock Hua Tonic)
1 large yellow onion
1 can button mushrooms (425g)
3 tbsp whole white peppercorns
4 Pumpkin Yee Mee Noodles Cake, (optional)
A handful of chopped fresh coriander for garnish, optional
Fill 20ml room temperature water into a bowl to soak dried red dates and dried lily bulbs for 5 minutes.
Scoop pumpkin seeds and fibres, and discard them. Next cut away pumpkin skin using a cleaver and cut them in large chunks.
Chop both ends of daikon and carrot. Peel skin off and chop them in thick circles, about 1.5cm thickness. Cut both ends of yellow onion, peel skin off and cut them in large wedges.
Fill whole white peppercorns in a linen cotton filter soup bag and tie a tight knot.
Boil 10 cups water in a deep sauce pan over medium high heat. Gently lay soup bag, soaked red dates and lily bulbs (without the water in the bowl), and vegetables at a low height to avoid water splashing. Cook for 45 minutes.
OPTIONAL STEP: While soup is boiling at 20 minute mark, remove pumpkin chunks if you prefer to eat them in whole before it dissolves into the soup. Cook the rest for another 25 minutes.
Wash canned button mushrooms and add them into soup. Put lid on and simmer at medium heat for 30 minutes.
Remove lid, use a chopstick to poke through daikon and carrot to check whether they have softened (not crumbly). Remove soup from heat.
In a separate pot, boil 1.2 litres water to cook pumpkin yee mee (noodles) for 2 minutes. Divide noodles between four bowls.
Ladle soup and vegetables over noodles, and garnish with fresh coriander.