This Apple, Pear and Snow Fungus Soup is excellent for cold days. It’s light, little sweet with a hint of tartness and pork flavor. Nourishing yet easy!
It’s official fall! This’s my favorite season, and I can feel it in the air, especially in the morning and evening. This is the time that I starts to think about soup.
This Apple, Pear and Snow Fungus Soup 蘋果雪梨雪耳湯 is a popular Cantonese soup that is often served during fall and winter. Chinese soup is known for being nourishing. Different ingredients provide different health benefits. This particular soup helps to moisten the lungs and skins, which is very fitting for cold and dry days.
To make this soup, you will need a few special ingredients. If you’re going to a Chinese supermarket, you’ll be able to find all of these easy breezy. If not, you will still be able to get most of the items online.
Snow Fungus 雪耳
This mushroom comes in dried, and usually in a pack of few. To use it, soak a desired amount in a bowl of room temperature water for about 30 minutes to rehydrate. Then, rinse off any dirt and trim off the bottom dark part. It doesn’t have much of flavor, but it has a gelatinous texture. It’s great to absorb other flavors during cooking.
Yali Pear 鴨嘴梨
The most common pear in Hong Kong and China. It has a light yellow color with brown spots all over. It’s sweet and crisp with a little tartness. It can be easily bruised, so they are often wrapped in papers and foam netting. They’re very affordable. If you can’t find these pears, you can use other Asian pears.
Apricot Kernels 南北杏
There are two types of apricot kernels, sweet 南杏 and bitter 北杏. They look pretty much the same, but they have different health benefits. Sweet apricot kernels are good for lungs. Bitter ones are good for lower blood pressure and reduce coughs. But they are often used together in soup. One important note is that apricot kernels are toxic if using too much and not cooked long enough. The kernels and almonds are both named “almond” in Chinese, so they are called “almond” in packaging. But you can see they don’t look like regular almonds and they are much smaller in size.
Dried Fig 無花果
Dried fig is often used as sweetener in Chinese soup. But it also helps with digestion and lower blood pressure. Any dried figs will do. You can probably find them in your local gourmet markets.
Once you have all the ingredients, the cooking part is incredibly easy. Soak the snow fungus and meat (separately) first. Then, cut the apples and pears into wedges and remove cores and seeds. When the fungus is rehydrated, trim off the bottom and cut into smaller pieces. Add all the ingredients (except salt) into a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then cook for 2 hours in medium-low heat with a lid on. Season with a few pinches of salt. That is it. You can make this a few hours or a day ahead, and bring back to boil before serving.
The soup is a little sweet with a hint of tartness and pork flavor. It’s very light and perfect to go with a meal. And most importantly, it’s keeping you warm and moisten from the inside during cold days. I’m definitely going to make this again in a couple months!
Apple, Pear and Snow Fungus Soup 蘋果雪梨雪耳湯
- 0.5 ounce snow fungus 雪耳
- 8 ounces lean pork meat (like pork shank)
- 2 medium apples (cut into wedges and core removed)
- 3 Yali pears 鴨嘴梨 or other medium Asian pears (cut into wedges and core removed)
- 8 pieces sweet apricot kernels 南杏
- 6 pieces bitter apricot kernels 北杏
- 1 dried fig 無花果
- 8 cups water
- Quickly rinse the snow fugus under tap water. Soak in a bowl of tap water for 30 minutes. Rinse again under tap water to remove any dirt. Remove the yellow end and cut into roughly 1-inch pieces.
- Rinse the meat under tap water, then soak in bowl of tap water for 10 minutes. Rinse again. Pat dried. Trim off any fat and cut in half.
- In a large pot, add pork, snow fugus, apple wedges, pear wedges, sweet almonds, bitter almonds and dried fig. Pour in 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Cover with a lid. Reduce to medium-low heat and keep on a small rolling boil for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Taste and season with a few pinches of salt. Serve hot.
- Snow fungus (aka white fungus) usually comes in a pack of a few. They are yellowish white. They can be found in Chinese supermarkets or on Amazon.
- I got my meat in Chinese supermarket. The pork is dark meat and very lean with almost no fat. If you can’t find lean pork meat, you can use pork bones. But you will need to boil the bones separately before using. Add pork bones in a pot just enough to cover. Bring to a boil and remove the bones. Rinse under tap water. It’s ready to be used.
- For the apples, use any sweet apples you prefer. Granny smith is too sour though.
- For the pears, I used yali pears 鴨嘴梨. You can use other Asian pears if you like. They can be found in Chinese or Korean supermarkets.
- For the apricot kernels, both sweet and bitter ones have different health benefits. They are always being used together in Chinese cooking. You can skip them if you can’t find them or prefer not to use. Some of you may have heard apricot kernels are toxic and can be harmful. But if being cooked properly, they’re perfectly fine to consumer in a small amount. You can get both apricot kernels in Chinese supermarkets. When buying, they are likely to be named “almonds”. And some may not even named whether they are sweet or bitter. You may want to compare the packaging with my Chinese translation. (Sweet apricot kernels = 南杏, bitter apricot kernels = 北杏) You can also get them online, sweet kernels & bitter kernels.
- Dried fig can be found in regular supermarket or Chinese supermarkets. The one I found is from Nutra Fig.
- For leftover, the soup can be kept for 3 days in the fridge. Cooled and stored in an air-tight container. Bring back to a boil before serving.