Soup In a Clay Pot

pot art

pork mushroom soup

It is a Chinese soup, which is very different from western soups. Traditionally Chinese soups are cooked in a clay pot, and you can basically throw in anything in the pot and let it simmer for hours. The classic combination for soups are chicken with mushrooms, lamb with turnip, fish with tofu, pork with bamboo shoots…

Last time, I visited my parents. It was winter in China. My parents just moved to a new city, Chengdu, in Sichuan province. The city’s winter is cold but not cold enough to have central heating. Whereas, the place I grew up, Lanzhou, is up at north. Winters in Lanzhou are much colder, but indoors are always cozy and comfortable. Chengdu’s winter is cold and damp everywhere, which is very similar to Canberra’s winter.

My mum saw locals in Chengdu use clay pot to cook in winter time. The main reason is the pot itself can stay hot for quite a while after cooking. So the food will stay hot. What a clever idea! Therefore, my mum now has two clay pots. The first time I saw her pots, I immediately had pot envy. Now, I also own two clay pots. 🙂

Of course, as I was making it I quickly found it was a mistake to make a soup like this in a stinky hot summer. I wanted to have a soup, because my mum said she was having soup for lunch.


Pork leg bone in (1.5 kg), king oyster mushroom (200 g), water, fresh ginger (100 g), white pepper (1 teaspoon), dried chilli (4), bay leaf (3) and salt. spring onion and fresh chilli for garnish.

What to do:

  1. Place pork leg and cold water (enough to cover the meat) in a pot, and bring to boil. Let it boil for 2 minutes, then transfer the meat into a clay pot, then tip the water into the sink.
  2. Top up the clay pot with some fresh boiling water (enough to cover the meat). Turn the heat down to low, let it simmer. Add king oyster mushroom, fresh ginger, white pepper, dried chilli, bay leaf. And simmer until the meat is falling off the bone.
  3. Season with salt to taste.
  4. Garnish with spring onion and fresh chilli, serve while hot.

Note: never heat the clay pot empty, it could crack. You should always some water in the pot before you heat it up. Also don’t put hot clay pot on a cold surface, it could crack. (That is an easy mistake to make in winter.)

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