Home » Course » Soup_Stew » Kelp Rib Soup Chinese Style {海带排骨汤}

Kelp Rib Soup Chinese Style {海带排骨汤}

by Shirley
Published: Last Updated on
Kelp Rib Soup Chinese Style

Kelp Rib Soup { Hai Dai Pai Gu Tang 海带排骨汤} is a traditional Chinese food, especially popular in China’s Yangtze River Delta area. This Huai Yang dish features tender meat-off the bone ribs with soft and satisfying kelp in an extremely natural-delicious soup.

This savory soup uses unbelievably simple ingredients, just to bring out all the inherent yumminess of ribs. Kelp’s amazing health benefits also make this delicious soup perfect for detoxing and weight loss.

What is Kelp?

Kelp is large plants growing in the ocean. They grow well along rocky ocean coastlines where there are lots of movements from the ocean. Why? Ocean waves bring in the nutrients they need to grow.

Sea Kelp is typically brownish in the bottom, reddish in the middle, and greenish on the top as different parts of the plants absorb different amounts of light

Kelp typically comes in a dried form. They are brown, greenish looking, folded sheets. You may also find a layer of whitish salt on the surface.

Dried Kelp
Dried Kelp

Pre-washed and sliced tender dried kelp slices are readily available on the market. They are great for a quick & easy Chinese Style Sea Kelp Salad featuring Zhenjiang vinegar, light soy sauce, sesame oil and minced garlic. Tasty and refreshing.

Sea Kelp Salad Chinese Style
Sea Kelp Salad Chinese Style

Are Seaweed and Kelp the Same?

Well, they are both marine-based plants and can come in three different colors: red, brown, and green. The color depends on how much light they absorb via photosynthesis during their life cycle. However, they are not the same thing:

Seaweed is a more generic term that includes varieties of marine-based plants and algae. They vary in size and shape. Seaweed can grow both in oceans and freshwaters, such as rivers and lakes.

Kelp, on the other side, is always large and only grows in the ocean.

Why Kelp is a Superfood we should eat regularly?

People often refer to Kelp as the “health booster directly from the sea”, and for good reasons.

Kelp is the BEST natural iodine source

Iodine is a critical component in thyroid hormone production. The thyroid hormone helps bodies regulate metabolism and signal proper immune responses. They can also potentially help increase energy levels and boost brain function.

People who are lacking iodine typically have an enlarged thyroid gland, which leads to a puffy or swollen neck. Because iodine is so important, the commercialized salt typically adds iodine during production to become so-called “iodized-salt”. However, the best way for our bodies to absorb nutrients is to consume them in the natural state.

Kelp is an effective natural detoxing and weight loss superfood

Sea Kelp contains few calories and is rich in fiber. It also includes various substances that help increase metabolism and acts as prebiotics. All these make kelp a superb detoxing and weight loss superfood.

How to Cook Dried Kelp?

The first thing to do is to give it a good soak and rehydrate the kelp properly

Soak Dried Kelp in plenty of water
Soak Dried Kelp in Plenty of Water

Soak the dried kelp in a large basin containing plenty of water for 4 hours. This will help dried kelp fully rehydrate.

The Second is to wash & rinse kelp thoroughly

Naturally, kelp contains slimy substances. For that reason, people often use them as a natural thickening agent.

Rehydrated Kelp
Rehydrated Kelp

If you don’t like the soup to be overly slimy, wash and rinse kelp thoroughly multiple times. Use your hands to scrub the kelp sheets and then soak them in the water and rinse off. Repeat this a few times or till the water is almost clear looking.

The third is to blanch the kelp first before adding it to any recipes

Blanched Rehydrated Kelp Bit-Size Pieces
Blanched Rehydrated Kelp Bite-Size Pieces

This step will further remove any slimy things and also help soften the kelp.

How to blanch kelp? Turn the heat to high, fill a large stockpot (8 Qt.) with about 75% water and bring it to a boil. Add rehydrated kelp into the pot, stir gently, cover the lid and cook for 2 minutes or till it reaches a boil again.

Turn the heat to simmer and let it cook for 20 minutes. When adding to a rib soup, you can do this step on parallel as the soup base or broth is simmered.

What Ingredients Do I need to Make Kelp Rib Soup?

You will need ribs, light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, green onion, ginger, dried kelp, and salt as primary ingredients to make Kelp Rib Soup.

Kelp Rib Soup Ingredients
Kelp Rib Soup Ingredients

Carrots are a wonderful optional addition to this soup, for the extra nutrients, color and texture. I usually add one carrot when I have carrot lying around.

Garnishing items like red bell pepper and celery are optional, but they provide additional flavor, texture, and color appealing to the soup.

Garnishing Items for Kelp Rib Soup - Red Bell Pepper Green Onion and Celery
Garnishing Items for Kelp Rib Soup – Red Bell Pepper Green Onions and Celery

How to Make Kelp Rib Soup?

Refer to the Recipe for a detailed step-by-step tutorial. Here are key takeaways.

Kelp Rib Soup Chinese Style
Kelp Rib Soup Chinese Style

1. Pan-fry the ribs with ginger, green onion, Shaoxing Wine, and light soy sauce

Turn the heat to high and heat a Wok for 1 minute. Add 1 tsp canola oil using a homemade oil sprayer and then add minced ginger and chopped green onions. Stir-fry for 10 seconds or till fragrant and then add ribs and pan-fry for about 5 minutes.

Pan Fry Ribs for Soup
Pan Fry Ribs for Soup

Pour Shaoxing wine in a circular motion onto the ribs, continue to fold, and stir-fry for another 2 minutes.

Repeat the same for Light Soy Sauce.

Pan-Fry Ribs with Shaoxing Wine and Light Soy Sauce For Soup
Pan-Fry Ribs with Shaoxing Wine and Light Soy Sauce For Soup

2. Add boiling water for the Soup

Pour the boiling water in a circular motion around the edge of the wok. Gently mix the ribs, cover the wok with a lid and wait for it to resume boiling point, about 1-2 minutes.

Add Boiling Water to the Pan-Fried Ribs
Add Boiling Water to the Pan-Fried Ribs For Soup

3. Simmer the ribs for one and a half hours

Turn the heat to simmer and simmer for 1.5 hours.

4. Include kelp into the soup and cook for 15 minutes

Place the previously blanched kelp into the soup. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring it to a boil. Then turn the heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Make sure you cover the wok with a dome-shaped lid for the cooking.

If you include carrot in the soup, this is also the time to add carrot bite-size chunks.

Add Kelp to Rib Soup
Add Kelp to Rib Soup

5. All done! add garnishing items and serve hot

Turn off the heat, sprinkle 1 tsp freshly ground Himalayan pink salt. Garnish the soup with finely chopped red bell pepper, celery, and green onions and serve hot.

Kelp Rid Soup
Kelp Rib Soup

Kelp Rib Soup Frequently Asked Questions:

How long do I cook dried sea kelp rib soup?

A little less than 2 hours from start to finish, but the active time is less than 30 minutes. 1.5 hours are just the slow cooking to get the broth for the soup. See the Recipe for the details. A kind reminder that you will need 4 hours to soak and rehydrate the dried kelp in advance.

How Long does sea kelp soup last in the fridge?

3-4 days. It helps to stay fresher longer if you store them in the meal-size portion in airtight glass containers.

Kelp Rib Soup Chinese Style
Kelp Rib Soup Chinese Style

Why my kelp tastes so slimy?

Could be one or both of the below possibilities.

It is possible that you didn’t wash and rinse the kelp well enough. It takes a lot of washing and rinsing to get rid of the slimy substance. The water should look almost clear when you know you have done a good job washing & rinsing.

It is also possible that you didn’t blanch the kelp first before adding them to the soup. Most of the slimy stuff come off during 20 minutes blanching process. To ensure a more refreshingly tasty soup, remember to blanch the hydrated kelp first before adding them to the soup.

What food is wonderful to go with Kelp Rib Soup?

Kelp Rib Soup is extremely naturally delicious and filling because kelp is rich in fibers. A small portion of rice, buns or bread can all pair with this soup nicely.

Like ribs? Make sure you check out Huai Yang Style classic Sweet & Sour Ribs.

Like Soup? Make sure you check out popular Beef Soup With Potatoes and Daikon Radish.

Kelp Rib Soup Chinese Style

Kelp Rib Soup Chinese Style {海带排骨汤} Recipe

Yield: 6 servings
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours

Kelp Rib Soup { Hai Dai Pai Gu Tang 海带排骨汤} is a traditional Chinese food. It features tender meat-off the bone ribs with soft and satisfying kelp in an extremely natural-delicious soup. Kelp’s amazing health benefits also make this delicious soup perfect for detoxing and weight loss.

Ingredients

  • 65g (about 2.2 oz.) dried Kelp
  • 2 lb. ribs, either spare ribs or other types
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp. Shaoxing Wine
  • 2 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 2 stalks of green onions, chopped
  • 10 thin slices of ginger, diced
  • 8 cups of boiling water
  • 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 stem of celery, optional, garnishing item
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, optional, garnishing item
  • 1 carrot, optional, see notes

Instructions

Soak Dried Kelp In advance:

  1. 4 hours prior to the cooking, soak the dried kelp in a large basin with plenty of water.
    Soak Dried Kelp in plenty of water

Prepare the Rib Soup Base:

  1. Separate the ribs if you get a rack of rib. Wash and rinse well.
    Ribs Washed & Separated for Cooking Soup
  2. Turn the heat to high, heat the wok for 1 minute. Add 1 tsp canola oil using a homemade oil sprayer, add about 2/3 of the green onions, ginger to the wok, stir-fry for 10 seconds, or till fragrant.
  3. Add ribs and continue to turn and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
    Pan Fry Ribs for Soup
  4. Pour Shaoxing wine in a circular motion onto the ribs while continue to turn and fold the ribs. Pour Light Soy Sauce in a circular motion onto the ribs while continue to turn the fold the ribs.
    Pan-Fry Ribs with Shaoxing Wine and Light Soy Sauce For Soup
  5. Add 8 cups of boiling water into the wok, gently mix the ribs.
    Add Boiling Water to the Pan-Fried Ribs
  6. Cover the wok with a lid and wait for it to reach a boil again, about 5 minutes.
  7. Turn the heat to simmer, and cook for 1.5 hours.

Prepare Other Ingredients:

  1. While the soup base is simmering, prepare kelp and other ingredients.
  2. Wash & rinse kelp thoroughly many times. Use your hands to scrub the kelp sheets and then soak them in the water and rinse them off. Repeat this a few times or till the water is almost clear looking.
  3. Cut the kelp into bite sizes.
    Rehydrated Kelp
  4. Fill a large stockpot (8 Qt.) with 75% water, turn the heat to high and bring it to a boil. Add the kelp pieces into the boiling water, stir to mix well. Wait for it to reach the boiling point again and then turn the heat to simmer and let it cook for 20 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat. Remove the kelp from the stockpot using a spider skimmer and place it in a mixing bowl and set it aside,
    Blanched Rehydrated Kelp Bit-Size Pieces
  6. Wash and rinse celery and red bell pepper, and cut into small pieces.
    Garnishing Items for Kelp Rib Soup - Red Bell Pepper Green Onion and Celery

Make Kelp Rib Soup:

  1. After 1.5 hours of simmering, add the kelp into the soup, If you plan to add carrots into the soup, this is where you add the bite size carrot chunks into the sop as well.
  2. Gently stir to mix, close the lid, turn the heat to medium-high and bring it to a boil again, about 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat back to simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
    Add Kelp to Rib Soup
  4. All done! Turn off the heat. Add 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt into the soup and mix well. Garnish the soup with green onions, red bell pepper, and celery pieces, and serve hot.
    Kelp Rib Soup Chinese Style

Notes

Pork rib contain certain amount of fact. If you don't want to include the extra fat in the soup and prefer a more refreshing soup, then make the soup base one day prior and store in the refrigerator. The fat will solidify on the top overnight, which you can easily scoop out using a spoon.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 929Total Fat: 65gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 214mgSodium: 1647mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 3gSugar: 22gProtein: 45g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Facebook

Leave a Comment

You may also like

Skip to Recipe