Author: Myron Yau, Nutritionist at HKBioTek
Double-stewed soup is a Cantonese delicacy. It is believed to seal the nutrients and flavor of the ingredients in the soups. Thus a large pot of double-stewed soup, which takes hours of stewing, is an essential part of a Cantonese dinner.
In fact, many people in Hong Kong are living busy lives and do not have enough time to prepare stewed soup. This brings up some chains of soup shops. However, the nutritional values of double-stewed soups are probably over-estimated by the commons.
In the long stewing process, many vitamins are destroyed by the heat while the fat and purines contents increase. Water soluble nutrients like vitamin C, B1, B2 and folate are more susceptible to be lost in stewing than their fat soluble counterparts, owing to their water soluble property. The longer the stewing time, the more lipids are released into the soup. Having too much lipids in our diet will increase your risk of hyperlipidemia and other cardiovascular diseases.
Also, for soup made with meat and pluck, purines from these ingredients will be largely released into the soup. Having this kind of the soups too frequently will increase the incidence of hyperuricemia, which in turn leads to kidney diseases, gout, etc. According to the ‘Guangzhou Urban Residents Health White Paper’ in 2009, about 60% of Guangzhou citizens suffer from hyperuricemia and frequent consumption of double-stewed soup is probably an important factor.
Actually, nutritional values of soups depend heavily on the ingredients and the way we cooked. Most of the nutrients can be retained in the soup if we keep an eye on the ingredients, cooking temperature and time. Let’s take Minced beef Tomato and Potato Soup as an example. Firstly, put enough water into a soup pot; boil the sliced potato for 10 minutes and then tomato dices for 5 minutes. Finally add the minced beef and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Don’t forget adding the salt and other seasonings before serving. You can get the most nutrients from this soup if you have had the soup as well as the cooked potato, tomato and beef. Generally, stewing time is better controlled within one and a half to two hours. Not only does prolonged stewing reduce nutrient contents, but also causes various diseases.