Pork Ribs and White Radish Soup

Melbourne’s more than chilly weather off late makes me crave for soup. Hot, heart-warming nourishing soup! I think I’m the hibernating kind when temperatures plummet to brrrrrrrfreezing cold (for me at least); my appetite is unusually suppressed during the winter season. It’s the perfect time for soups, stews, roasts, carbs, lots of warm bread and puddings but all I want to do is hibernate (tsk tsk tsk..such a bear). You see, where possible, J and I try to conserve energy and keep tabs on our power usage and yes the bill, hence we rarely turn on the heater (unless my fingers and toes are on the verge of falling off) so having to pile on jackets, scarves and a thick pillow-soft robe means I’m in some state of stupor and all I want to do is count the ZZZZZzzzzs.

White Radish, Coriander from the garden and Red Dates

The heavy pots and casserole dishes will reemerge from their cabinet hideout and soon our home kitchen will be filled with wafts of french onion soup, spicy pumpkin, creamy broccoli and cauliflower soups, sweat-inducing seafood tom yum, tom kha gai (broth of chicken, galangal, lemongrass and coconut milk) and plenty more. That temptress Sticky Date Pudding is definitely singing her siren song and messing with my head right now; gorgeous caramelly dates in a warm cake cocoon drenched in silky lick-your-spoon-clean butterscotch sauce <earth to foodsze earth foodsze..hello..pork rib soup? remember? knock knock>

White Radish

Oh yes, back to my pork rib and white radish soup, this chinese-style soup has a clean flavour where maximum sweetness and flavour comes just from the pork ribs, a handful of red dates, white radish and coriander roots. Seasoning is minimal with fish sauce instead of salt and white pepper to taste. It is dead easy and I’ve simmered mine for 2 hours on the stove but this can be easily thrown together in a slow-cooker before you head to work and the soup’s ready and waiting when you get home. Ok. let’s get rolling; this mama only has sexy sticky date pudding on her mind right now! Whatever happened to all the nonsense up the top about suppressed appetite? Well, when sticky date pudding’s involved, resistance is futile. Stay tuned!

Pork Ribs & White Radish Soup

900 g meaty pork ribs
1 large white radish (mine was about 700g), cut into batons or rough chunks
120 g red dates
4 coriander roots & stems, washed clean (keep the leaves for garnishing)
3 litres water
3 tablespoons fish sauce
white pepper to taste
salt, to taste

  1. In a pot, cover pork ribs in cold water then bring to the boil; boil for 5 minutes to remove the scum that surfaces; rinse out the pork ribs with cold water then return this to the clean, washed pot.
  2. Add the 3 litres of water, red dates, coriander roots and stems to the pork ribs; bring to the boil then simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Add in the white radish batons/chunks and fish sauce and continue simmering for another 1 hour until meat is very tender.
  4. Season with white pepper and salt to taste; garnish with coriander leaves.

If using a slow-cooker, complete step 1 i.e. remove the grey-ish pork scum then chuck all ingredients in the slow-cooker and hit the ON button 😉   


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7 comments to Pork Ribs and White Radish Soup

  • Jlau

    Hey I know this might sound so simple.. But how long can I simmer in cooker? Will it be reduced to just sediments and meat? I’m always paranoid of leaving the slow cooker on then leave for work. But it be so lovely to come back home to a hot bowl of soup

  • Mei Sze

    Hi Jess,
    If you set your slow cooker to ‘low’..anywhere from 8 to 10 hours will be good and the pork ribs will just start to fall off the bone..if using chicken drumsticks..the meat will definitely be very very tender. If you don’t want the radish to disintegrate then you can keep it in large chunks OR when you get home, cut the radish into smaller pieces, transfer the soup to a pot then boil for 20 – 30 minutes until the radish is tender but the all in method in the slow-cooker should be fine; just make the chunks larger and as long as the setting is LOW, it shouldn’t disintegrate that much. Hope that helps. It’s a really nice simple hearty soup.

  • Jess

    Ooh thanks!!.. It sounds so simple…just gotta get over my paranoia of leaving pots unattended!

  • This is a great recipe and your soup looks really hearty. I love making this soup too but instead of fish sauce, I prefer to use a few slices of dried squid to be simmered along with all the other ingredients. It adds a really nice complexity to the soup. 🙂

  • Mei Sze

    Hi Chopin fan 🙂 (I’m a Gershwin fan) 😛

    Thanks for your comment. Dried squid is the usual ingredient I put in most of my pork rib soups including the lotus root soup but I added fish sauce here because many years ago, a Thai housemate made hers using fish sauce and coriander roots, so I borrowed inspiration from there for something different. But dried squid is definitely always in my pantry 🙂

  • I’m a Gershwin addict too and I love playing his music on the piano. This Wild transcription is one of my all time faves and played by a wonderful pianist too.


  • Elsie

    It has a different twist to the ones I used to cook, must be the corriander roots. Thanks for the tip.