Old Cucumber Soup in porcelain bowl with chopsticks at the side

Old Cucumber Soup (老黄瓜汤) Recipe

Old Cucumber Soup is touted for its health benefits like it's cooling properties to lower body 'heatiness' and anti-ageing benefits as well! Learn how to make this soup for yourself! 

Course Soup
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword old cucumber soup, healthy cucumber soup, cantonese soup
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 179 kcal
Author Bee Leng


  • 500 g Pork Bones
  • 2 carcasses Whole Chicken
  • 1 Old Cucumber Medium sized
  • 1 Dried Cuttlefish
  • 3 tbsp Chinese Peanuts with skins on
  • 6-8 pieces Red Dates
  • 2 tbsp Wolfberries
  • 2.5 litres Water
  • 1 pinch Salt (optional)



  1. Blanche the pork and chicken bones in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Discard the water. Wash the bones and remove all the visible blood clots.

  2. Blanch the cuttlefish in boiling water for 1 minute to soften it. Then remove the centre soft bone, mouth and eye of the cuttlefish, and cut into 1-inch lengths.

  3. Wash the old cucumber. Then cut the old cucumber into half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon. 

  4. Cut the old cucumber into 2-inch cross-sections.

  5. Remove the seeds from the red dates and rinse. Rinse the wolf berries and drain dry. Wash the peanuts and set aside.


  1. Add the 2.5 litres of water into a pot and bring to a boil over high fire.

  2. Add in the pork bones, chicken bones, cuttlefish, old cucumber, and peanuts.

  3. When it is boiling, turn the heat to medium and continue to simmer for 2 hours.

  4. Add in the wolf berries and red dates, and simmer for another 15 minutes.

  5. Add salt (a pinch, or to taste). Try the soup first before adding salt, because the soup may already be tasty enough.

  6. Dish out the Old Cucumber Soup into individual bowls, and it is ready to be served!

Top Tips


  1. Make sure the water is boiling hot when you add more water into the soup so that the temperature will not drop suddenly, affecting the cooking time.
  2. Add in dried octopus, dried squid or cured Chinese ham (云南火腿 Yun Nan Huo Tui or 金华火腿 Jin Hua Huo Tui) to enhance the taste of the soup.
  3. To get rid of the excess oil in the soup, you can either
    1. leave it in the fridge until the fat coagulates on top to remove the fat layer (this requires you to cook the soup 1 day before)
    2. use an oil separator / fat separator which is a large beaker with a long spout that allows you to pour out the soup from the spout, leaving the floating oil layer behind. I have been using mine for a long time - but you can easily get one from Amazon. There are plenty of models that ship to Singapore, and some even qualify for free shipping with minimum $125 spend.


  1. Use pork cuts like suo shi gu (锁匙骨) or bing pang ban (乒乓板) when cooking Chinese soup with pork bones. Visit our Sweet Corn Pork Rip soup recipe to know more about these 2 cuts!
  2. Buy Indonesian pork (from the wet market) as it tends to be leaner and sweeter, so the soup will not be so oily.
  3. Blanch the pork bones to get rid of the blood clots. This removes the porky smell and ensure that the soup will not have a scum layer on top when cooked.


  1. Try to buy red dates with seeds. Firstly they are sweeter. Secondly pitted red dates, if stored too long at the shops, may have tiny insects and spider webs forming inside the centre hollow of the dates.
  2. Don't soak the wolfberries. Rinse them just before adding them into the soup otherwise they will become mushy.
  3. Only add Red dates and wolf berries during the last 15 minutes, because if you boil them for too long, it makes the soup sourish.


  1. Don't soak the cuttlefish, otherwise all the sweetness will be absorbed into the water, leaving it tasteless.
  2. Use either dried octopus or dried cuttlefish to get that additional sweetness to the soup. Dried octopus is more expensive (almost double the price), and it is sweeter than dried cuttlefish. Dried cuttlefish is lower in cholesterol. 
  3. Replace cuttlefish with a small piece of cured Chinese ham (1/2 palm size) for deeper flavour. Cured Chinese ham (云南火腿 Yun Nan Huo Tui or 金华火腿 Jin Hua Huo Tui) is also great for lowering heatiness.