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!
Buy Indonesian pork (from the wet market) as it tends to be leaner and sweeter, so the soup will not be so oily.
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.
TIPS ON RED DATES AND WOLFBERRIES
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.
Don't soak the wolfberries. Rinse them just before adding them into the soup otherwise they will become mushy.
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.
TIPS ON DRIED CUTTLEFISH
Don't soak the cuttlefish, otherwise all the sweetness will be absorbed into the water, leaving it tasteless.
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.
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.