Pork rib soup with daikon
Pork rib soup with daikon radish is a traditional Chinese pork bone soup that is simple to make and so nourishing for the winter months. Baby pork ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender while carrots, corn, and goji berries naturally sweeten the light, clear, and fragrant broth.
This heartwarming and soothing soup comes together quickly using an Instant Pot or slow cooker and is great for the whole family. If you love this pork rib Chinese soup, try my easy Chinese chicken soup with herbs!
This pork rib and daikon radish soup use minimal ingredients to achieve maximum flavor and sweetness naturally. Par-boiled pork ribs and nourishing vegetables build the flavor foundation This is all you’ll need for this traditional Chinese pork soup recipe.
- Pork spare ribs: Sliced to 3 inches in length and 1.25 inches in width—ask a butcher to do this for you!
- Daikon radish: Diced into bite-size pieces.
- Carrots: Diced into bite-sized pieces.
- Ginger: Adds freshness and lightness to balance the pork ribs.
- Corn on the cob: Slice or break them into roughly 2-inch sections. Corn adds natural sweetness to the broth. Fresh or frozen will work, as long as it’s on the cob!
- Goji berries: Adds a pop of color and added sweetness to the broth.
- Water: At room temperature.
- Coarse sea salt: To taste.
- Taiwanese Michu (optional): Add at the end of cooking for authentic Chinese flavor. You can also use Japanese Mirin. Helps to remove the meat smell.
- Cilantro: Added as a garnish before serving. You can also use green onion.
Substitutions and variations
- Extra flavorful Sprinkle a few teaspoons of homemade chicken bouillon, shallots, or shiitake mushroom bouillon into the broth for extra flavor.
- Singapore-style: You can add garlic cloves and black peppercorns when cooking the soup for a traditional Singapore soup called bak kut.
- Other Chinese dried herbs you can use: Red dates (dried jujube dates) and fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms can replace goji berries. See our post on how to rehydrate shiitake mushrooms.
- No pork: You can use chicken drumsticks and leg quarters with the bone as an alternative protein to pork. The soup will taste more similar to ABC soup.
- Vietnamese flavor: Season the soup broth with a touch of fish sauce.
- Optional add-ons: Season with a small dash of white pepper or add boiled rice noodles if you like more hearty soups.
- Serve with dipping sauce: Serve with Chinese black vinegar or Garlic chili sauce for dipping the ribs.
Tip: Chinese-style soups are known for their clean and clear broths like my bok choy soup. We enhance the flavor with fresh ingredients and usually season the soup just with salt. I don’t recommend adding soy sauce, as it can change the broth’s clear color.
How to cook pork ribs soup Chinese style
This pork daikon soup is an easy and mostly hands-off recipe with minimal prep. Here are the instructions for this easy and delicious pork rib Chinese soup:
- Cut the ribs: Ask the butcher to slice the pork ribs into 3-inch by 1.25-inch pieces.
- Parboil the pork: Add ribs to boiling water and parboil them for 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Discard the water, rinse the ribs, drain well, and set them aside.
- Prep the veggies: Just like my Simmered daikon with chicken recipe, dice the daikon, carrots, and ginger. Break corn cobs into smaller pieces.
- Add to pressure cooker: Add the pork ribs, daikon, carrots, ginger, corn, goji berries, and 5 cups water to the pressure cooker. Cook on high for 30 minutes and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Release pressure: After letting the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes, open the valve to release the remaining pressure.
- Simmer and season: Open the lid and press Saute to bring the soup back to a gentle boil. Season with salt and Michu cooking wine, if using. Simmer for 3 minutes then turn off the heat.
- Garnish and serve: Add cilantro and green onion to the bowls of pork ribs soup, if using. Serve hot or warm with optional dipping sauce for the ribs.
Tip: For a slow cooker, set it on low for 6-7 hours to make spare rib soup.
What is parboil and why parboil the ribs
Parboiling is a quick boiling process for the ribs. Just like with the beef in my West Lake beef soup, We boil them in hot water briefly to clean off any unwanted bits and remove smells. It also helps in removing some fat and blood. This is important to keep our soup broth clear.
Parboiling is not the same as blanching, where food is plunged into an ice bath after boiling, parboiled food isn’t cooled immediately, allowing the ribs to retain their texture and flavor, setting the stage for a delicious soup.
How to make ahead, store, and reheat
This Chinese pork bone soup is great for meal prep because it reheats beautifully. It comes together quickly and easily so there’s no need to do any prep before you’re ready to cook daikon pork soup.
- Make ahead and storage: After cooking, let the soup cool down to room temperature. Store pork spare ribs soup in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for 3 months.
- Reheat: Before reheating, skim off the fat. You’ll notice that extra fat rises to the top and hardens in the fridge, making it easy to remove. For reheating, simply warm the soup on the stove until it’s heated through.
What to serve with daikon pork rib soup
This tasty and nourishing pork rib daikon soup is great for the winter months but can be enjoyed all year long. I love serving this traditional Asian pork rib soup recipe with rice, traditional vegetable sides, and wontons. Here are some of my favorite pairing recipes:
- Rice: Make it a meal by serving with air fryer rice, air fryer fried rice, or this protein-packed Din tai fung fried rice with shrimp and eggs. For low-carb, try shirataki rice.
- Traditional vegetable side dishes: This snow pea leaves stir fry, Chinese broccoli stir fry, and Chinese mustard green stir fry (gai choy) are very traditional dishes that pair well. See our Chinese vegetables guide for more leafy green choices.
- Wontons: Bulk up your meal with steamed shrimp wontons or steamed beef wonton served with wonton sauce on the side.
- Choose the Right Ribs: Use either baby back ribs or pork spare ribs. But make sure they come with bones for the best flavor and texture.
- Prep the Ribs: Cut the ribs into 3-inch lengths and 1.25-inch widths. This size is ideal for both cooking and eating.
- Parboiling is Key: Parboil the ribs before adding them to the soup. This removes impurities and excess fat, ensuring a clear, clean-tasting broth.
- Cooking Time Matters: For tender ribs, slow cook for 6 to 7 hours or pressure cook for 30 minutes. Avoid overcooking to prevent the meat from becoming dry and chewy.
- Daikon and Carrot Prep: Dice the daikon and carrots into similar sizes, ideally 1.5-2-inch cubes. This ensures they cook evenly and don’t become mushy or disappear into the soup, as they won’t be too small.
- Broth Clarity: To maintain a clear broth, avoid adding soy sauce or other dark condiments that can alter the color.
- Skim the Fat: After refrigeration, skim off the hardened fat from the top of the soup before reheating. This keeps the soup healthier and tastier.
- Seasoning and Garnish: Season pork spare rib soup with salt and garnish with cilantro or green onions. For extra flavor, try adding homemade chicken or shiitake mushroom bouillon.
To keep pork rib meat soft, avoid overcooking, which makes it dry and chewy. Slow cooking at a low temperature or pressure cooking for an appropriate duration can help keep the meat tender. Cook times and temperatures are listed in this pork and daikon soup recipe.
For diced pork ribs (cut to 3 inches in length and 1.25 inches in width), slow cook for 6 to 7 hours. In a pressure cooker, cook them on high for 30 minutes.
In a soup, daikon should be cooked until it’s tender. This usually takes about 30 minutes in a regular soup pot or 15 minutes if using a pressure cooker.
For soup, both spare ribs and baby back ribs are great choices. Spare ribs are richer and flatter, while baby back ribs are slightly leaner and smaller.
ABC soup is a comforting blend of carrots, corn on the cob, chicken drumsticks, tomatoes, and potatoes. Sometimes, pork ribs are added or used instead of chicken.
More Asian soup recipes you might like
If you enjoyed this pork rib soup instant pot recipe, be sure to give some of my other traditional Chinese soups a try! I have these on rotation all winter long to nourish and warm up my family and friends from the inside out.
- Wonton egg drop soup is an authentic Taiwanese soup with wontons in clear ginger broth.
- Winter melon soup with meatballs is a soothing soup with chicken or pork meatballs and glass noodles.
- Hot and sour chicken soup is an easy soup with leftover shredded chicken and bamboo shoots.
- Chinese chicken and pork sparerib soup is an Instant Pot dish with chicken, pork, and lotus roots popular in Hong Kong.
Pork rib soup with daikon recipe
- 1.5 lb pork spare ribs or baby back ribs, slice to 3-inch in length & 1.25-inch in width
- 1 lb daikon, roughly chopped to 1.5-2 inch cubes, 1 chubby
- 1 lb carrots, roughly chopped to 1.5-2 inch cubes, 2 large
- 0.25 oz ginger, 2 thin slices
- 0.8 oz corn on the cob, cut up or break it into roughly 2-inch sections, fresh or frozen
- 3 tbsp goji berries
- 5 cups room temperature water
- 1.5 tsp coarse sea salt, or to taste
- 2 tbsp Taiwanese michu cooking wine, or Japanese mirin, optional
- Sprinkle Cilantro leaves, or diced green onions
- Ask the butcher to slice the pork ribs to 3-inch in length and 1.25-inch in width.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the ribs to the pot and parboil them for 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Discard the water and rinse the ribs under running tab water for 1 minute. Drain and set them aside in a bowl.
- Peel the outer layer of the daikon and dice the daikon, carrots, and ginger, and set aside the corn cobs.
- Add the pork ribs, daikon, carrots, ginger, corn, goji berries, and 5 cups of water to the pressure cooker. Seal the lid and velve. Press Manual, High pressure for 30 minutes + 15 minutes natural release.
- After 15 minutes, turn off the heat. Carefully and slowly turn the knob to venting position to release the remaining pressure.
- Open the lid and press Saute and adjust to More to bring the soup back to a gentle boil, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and michu cooking wine, if using. Simmer for 3 minutes then turn off the heat.
- Garnish with cilantro or green onions. Serve hot or warm.
- For slow cooker, set it on low for 6-7 hours.
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