Wongbok Chicken Soup is a simple and healthy one-pot dish that's rich and umami due to the addition of dried Chinese mushrooms, Chinese ham and preserved duck gizzards. It goes perfectly with a bowl of warm jasmine rice on a cold day.
Clean the chicken and remove all innards. Rub the chicken skin with coarse salt to remove the thin yellowish film covering the skin.
Soak the mushrooms in hot water until soft, then cut off and discard the stalks. Do not discard the water used to soak the mushroom. Instead, add it to the soup for more umami flavour.
Remove the skin from the ginger and cut into thick slices.
Wash the Wong Bok and cut into 2 1/2 cm width wise.
Pour hot water over the yunnan ham and gizzard to dissolve the waxy oil covering, and rinse thoroughly.
Cut the yunnan ham into thick slices.
In a big pot, add in 3 1/2 litres of water and bring to a boil over high heat..
Add in the pork ribs, mushrooms, mushroom soaking water, ginger, Chinese ham, duck gizzards and the whole chicken, then continue to boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat to medium low and continue to simmer for 3 hours.
Add in the Wong Bok and continue to boil for another 30 mins.
In the last 15 mins, add in the wolfberries.
Serve with a bowl of warm rice.
Preserved duck gizzard is available at Chinatown Wet market located at Chinatown Complex (Smith Street). Look out for shops that sell Chinese sausages, salted fish and other dried goods.
Do not add salt to the soup. The duck gizzard and the ham are salty enough.
Do not add the wolfberries too early as the soup will turn a bit sour if the wolfberries are cooked too long.
Add few slices of ginger when cooking Wongbok/Napa Cabbage to counteract the cooling effect as Wong Bok is a cooling vegetable.
Add more Chinese Ham instead if you cannot get the duck gizzard.
For a healthier version, remove the skin from the chicken. As for me, I remove the fattier part of the skin and retain some to give the soup a smoother texture.
After cooking, the texture and the taste of the duck gizzard is like yunnan ham, soft and tender. If you prefer to have a more crunchy texture, take out the duck gizzards about 45 mins into the boiling process.
HOW TO BLANCH PORK RIBS
Add 3 bowls of water to a pot and bring to a boil.
Add in the pork ribs and boil for about 8-10 mins until the scum surface.
Discard the water and rinse the pork ribs thoroughly removing any blood clot in the crevices of the bones.
I usually stock up several months' supply of waxed goods by visiting the Chinatown pasar malam stalls on the last 1-2 days before Chinese New Year.Most of the stalls would be giving great discounts of up to 50% off just to clear stock. I then store my haul in the freezer and they can keep well for several months!Stock up on duck gizzards and Chinese sausages during CNY, where you will find plenty of 'Pasar Malam' stalls selling Chinese sausages and other waxed goods like waxed duck waxed pork belly etc,etc.Duck gizzard usually come in a vacuum-pack of of 5 costing S$10/ pack. I usually go during the last 2 days before the Chinese New Year when the stallholders sell it at half price (S$5/pack) to clear stock.You can buy a few packets and freeze them, and they can last for several months. Preserved waxed duck gizzard and ham also help to lower bodily heat.