Pork Belly and Conpoy Soup
The Pork Belly in this soup is actually the Chinese-style Preserved Pork Belly, or 五花臘肉. It adds a sweetness that plain pork belly does not have and it richly complements the umami flavor of the dried Scallops known as ‘Conpoy’. The main flavorings of the soup are developed in a good, hearty Chicken Stock, and rounded out with Ginger, Chinese Dried Black Mushroom (aka Shiitake), and Goji Berries. It is a very hearty soup, and perfect for cold, wintry days.
Notes on the Ingredients
You could really use any sort of stock as a base for this soup, but a light Chicken Stock works best. Use a good quality commercial variety if you like (but pay attention to the saltiness), or, if you prefer, you can also follow my recipe for a Basic Chinese Chicken Stock.
For the Preserved Pork Belly, you can generally find this in Chinese or Asian Grocery Stores if you live in a good-sized city or community with a sizeable Asian population. Alternatively, you can also purchase it online, but, in either case, try to use a brand that is unsmoked (most are not smoked), and light on added flavorings like Star Anise, etc. If you would like to try your hand at making your own, instead of buying it, please take a look at my recipe for Homemade Preserved Pork Belly.
I have used very tiny Dried Scallop for this recipe and just added them whole to the broth as it simmers. If you can only find the larger variety, you will need to soften them by soaking, then shred them before adding to the soup (being sure to add the reserved soaking liquid as well). If you are new to this ingredient, you may wish to review my post on How to Prepare and Use Dried Scallops.
Your Recipe Card:
Pork Belly and Conpoy Soup
- 3 – 4 cups good quality Chicken Stock;
- 1/4 lb. Preserved Pork Belly;
- ¼ cup tiny dried Scallop Conpoy;
- 1 small Shanghai Bok Choy;
- 1 Dried Shiitake Mushroom;
- 2 tbsp. Goji Berry;
- ¼ cup Shaoxing Wine.
- Slice the pork belly thinly and chop the Bok Choy, keeping the white and green parts separate.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pot over moderate heat and sauté the ginger until it is just turning golden.
- Add the pork belly and the white part of the Bok Choy until the latter is soft and the fat in the pork belly is opaque.
- Add the conpoy, plus the stock, Shaoxing Wine, and the whole dried mushroom and simmer over moderate heat until the conpoy and pork belly are tender (about 45 minutes or so).
- At this point, remove the ginger slices, slice the mushroom and return it back to the pot with the Goji Berry and the green parts of the Bok Choy. Continue to simmer gently until the berries are plump and the Bok Choy leaves are crisp tender but still nicely green.
- Serve immediately or cool quickly and reheat for later service.