food 4 tots

Apple soup

apple soup

Do you know that childen’s song can be used as an effective and influential tool in promoting a healthy diet to toddlers? It may sound weird to some people, but it really worked for my son.

“An apple a day keeps the doctor (x4), A-P-P-L-E” – is a song my son learnt from his playgroup that had successfully changed him from one who rejected apple into one who is now an avid apple lover. So calling all parents, try this useful trick if you have kids who refuse to eat healthy food, be it apple or something else.

Ever since he could proudly sing the song, this apple soup has become my son’s favourite soup. I had found this recipe from a Chinese cookbook (方太食谱). Among its ingredients are figs and sweet & bitter almonds that are capable of  treating cough according to Chinese traditional medicine. It is a very nourishing yet tasty soup, and is recommended for the entire family (not just toddlers) in this hot season.


This recipe is also available in Chinese. Please go to Kwong Wah Yit Poh e-newspaper for further reading.

Serve: 4-5

Red apples (2 large or 3 small) (红萍果)
250g lean pork (瘦肉)
10g sweet almonds (南杏) – also known as sweet apricot kernels or seeds (refer to note 1)
5g bitter almonds(北杏)- also known as bitter apricot kernels or seeds (refer to note 2)
4 candied dates (蜜枣)- I used large candied dates (金丝蜜枣)
3 fig fruits (无花果)
1100 ml water (清水)

Salt (optional)


  1. Peel and core the apples, then rinse and chop them into 4 wedges for each one. Set aside
  2. Rinse lean pork. Cut it into chunk. Blanch it over boiling water. Dish up and set aside.
  3. Rinse candied dates, figs and sweet and bitter almonds. Set aside.
  4. Put water in a cooking pot and bring it to a boil. Add in all ingredients in the pot. Use medium heat to bring the water to reboil. Switch to low fire and simmer for another 2 hours.
  5. Turn off heat. Add salt to taste. Serve.


  1. It is better to peel off the skins as the skins may contain pesticide if the washing is not done properly.
  2. You can substitute lean pork with pork ribs.
  3. You can use a combination of apples and pears (yellow) to make this soup.
  4. If you prefer less sweetness for this soup, you can use 3 candied dates. Remember to rinse and wash thoroughly those sugars coated on the candied dates.

Functions for each ingredient used: (Source: The World of Nourishing and Fine Soups by Kenny Chen)

  1. Sweet almonds/sweet apricot kernels or seeds (南杏)- It tastes sweet and is neutral in nature. It is non-toxic and relieves cough.
  2. Bitter almonds/ bitter apricot kernels or seeds (北杏)- It heals cough and expels phlegm. [WARNING: As bitter almond carries a slight trace of toxins (cyanide), please use it with extreme caution. There is a concern about the potential health effects associated with large numbers of bitter apricot kernels being consumed on a regular basis, particularly by young children (as mentioned in this link). It is also not advisable for pregnant ladies. If you’re not comfortable eating it, then exclude it from the recipe. Other reading reference: Is it safe to eat bitter apricot kernels by David Lebovitz.]
  3. Fig fruits (无花果)- It clears heat and phlegm, nourishes the lungs and aids digestion with its high fibre content.
  4. Candied dates (蜜枣) – It enhances human immunity and inhibits cancer cells. It is also help to against allergic and enhance appetite.


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  1. Christine says:

    I never knew you could use apples in soup! Thanks for widening my food knowledge, I will definitely try this recipe! (It’s freezing here in Perth at the moment so any soup sounds warm and yummy!)

    • food-4tots says:

      Christine: You are welcome! I don’t think this soup will be much help for your family during this cold weather but you can try it during summer time to enjoy its full benefit. Maybe you can boil black bean soup instead for the time being. 😉

  2. I used to cooked apple tong sui, didn’t know that it can cooked into soup before reading your post.

  3. Jeff says:

    Sounds really good, my kids would love this!

  4. Selba says:

    I love your apples picture! So pretty 🙂

  5. This soup is definitely good for health. My girl loves to have all kind of fruits. So, now she eats raw.

    • food-4tots says:

      My taste heaven: It is always best to eat the fruit raw. If the kid rejects them, then parents can consider to incorporate them into their daily meal. 😉

  6. Wow!! Thanks for sharing this healthy soup. I must keep this recipe and try it once I got some apple. This is very something new to me! Cheers!

  7. can make herbal tea too… and it’s cooling especially on such hot weather.

  8. Little Inbox says:

    I used to have 2 apples a day. Use it to make soup is new to me! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Dora says:

    My chef cooked something like this…She used China Gong Pear also and did not use pork.

  10. My gal loves apple very much. But never try cooking as soup before. Since new recipe can try soon. Thanks for sharing!

  11. wow this is lovely! I am just very lazy this days, I just get them through the juice maker abd drink them fresh! 🙂

  12. noobcook says:

    I have tried apple soup before too, but without the almonds. Yours look so nourishing and comforting =)

  13. Ching says:

    Looks really good. Not sure whether I can get the dried figs here.

  14. Alice says:

    😀 My son loves these 2 songs since he was a toddler until now! And surely he loves apple very much! Should try this nourishes soup soon! 🙂

  15. Foon says:

    I read e recipe thru Kwang Wah Press and had tried to cook on last saturday, my daughter like it very much but I find the soup a bit too sweet, think that the dried dates or figs could put less, then it will be perfect. Anyway, thanks for the recipe.

    • food-4tots says:

      Foon: Tks for your feedback and kind comment. I think the sweetness come from dried dates not fig fruits. I had included your suggestion in my post. 😉

  16. Chin says:

    Good for our current weather! Use to drink it at ‘home’ minus the apples.

  17. Hmmm this sounds really good to me. I have to give this recipe a try since I love all ingredients from the soup but have never thought of combining them together in one soup.
    By the way – do you think that the soup will be equally good without bitter almonds that are difficult to find here in Poland?

    • food-4tots says:

      Joanna: Tks for dropping and glad that you luv this recipe. Different ingredients have different functions for making Chinese soup. They compliment each other. Well, you can still try boiling it without the bitter almonds but I am not sure whether it will give you the equivalent benefit as compared to my recipe. 😉

  18. tigerfish says:

    I have come across this soup before but never had a chance to try it.

  19. Christine says:

    Hi, love your blog. I pass on the Kreativ Blogger Award to you.

  20. I learn something new today!!! as I know we use pear and apple to cook cold dessert but never soup!! thanks for the wonderful tip!

  21. anggie says:

    yummy and healthy soup .. thanks for sharing .

  22. mycookinghut says:

    I have never used apples in making soup! What a great idea!

  23. wow!!!!!!
    i came acrossed your site and i am truly inspired.

    i have two lil ones: 19 months and 4 yr. old.

    this is added to my favorites. I will be back…

    thank you so much.

  24. Interesting. And, the soup sounds delicious. It’s a great way to eat your apple each day.

  25. Elin says:

    this is one healthy soup. I love it. Thanks for sharing this good and tasty soup. Can I use green apples for this soup 🙂

    • food-4tots says:

      Elin: Tks!! That’s a good question. I had gone through all my apple-related soup recipes and found that all of them use only red apple. I am not sure why. Maybe the red apple has more nourishing functions than the green apple. Just my guess. 😉

  26. Kristie says:

    Is this soup suitable for 16months toddler?

  27. Snow says:

    My boy LOVE soup, will give it a try this weekend. Can I use Royal apple? Or must be those big Fuji apples?

    Thanks in advance.

    • food-4tots says:

      Snow: Usually I will use either New Zealand or Washington apples as they are more fragrant. Haven’t tried Fuji apples before. I think it doesn’t matter which variety you use. Try to get those bigger and fragrant apples so that they can add more flavour to the soup. Happy try and hope he will love it. 😉

  28. Snow says:

    Just to check, how is the soup taste like. My apple soup taste like apple juice leh… hahaha… not sure is it due to the apple that I used. I used those small Royal apple.

    • food-4tots says:

      Snow: I would think that it gives a slight fragrant taste of apple but not exactly taste like apple juice. For your case, the taste may due to your apples turned mushy and dissolved into the soup. What do you think?

  29. Snow says:

    Hahaha… maybe cos I used thermal magic cooker to cook the soup and the apple turned out to be very soft(overcooked??).

  30. Reena says:

    Just saw this and realised we’ve got a similar recipe 🙂 My kids love this!

  31. alca says:

    Are bitter almonds safe to give in a soup for an 18 month old? She doesn’t have any nut allergy and has had almond pudding before. I am more concerned about the trace amount of toxins in the bitter almonds. How often can I give her this soup to help clear her cough and phlegm? Thanks!

    • food-4tots says:

      Alca: I think your 18-mths gal is too small to consume bitter almonds. To clear her cough and phlegm, it is better to consult your pediatrician for prescription. 😉

  32. Evelyn says:

    Hi, I don’t have candied dates. Can I replace with red dates instead?

    • food-4tots says:

      Evelyn: According to The World of Nourishing & Fine Soups cookbook, candied date enhances human immunity and inhibits cancer cells. It also helps to fight against allergic and enhance appetite. For red date, it contains blood-nourishing properties and can be widely used with other ingredients to nourish the body. I think it should be fine to use red dates for your case. Of course, the effect and taste will be slightly different than my recipe. Happy trying! 😉

      • Evelyn says:

        Thanks. I probably have to stock up for candied dates as well. I never see it in my mum’s cooking.

        • food-4tots says:

          Evelyn: Some (esp old ppl) prefer red date as compared to candied date because the latter is quite sweet to their taste buds. It’s good to use both (on alternate basis) in boiling our soup so that we can enjoy the full benefits from them. 😉

  33. Evelyn says:

    Thanks. I probably have to stock up some candied dates also.

  34. Coleen says:

    Hi, my son loves this soup! Thanks for sharing and I would say that your blog is helping a lot of clueless mama like me out there! Thanks. 🙂

  35. MeiYan says:

    Thanks for this recipe 🙂
    May I check if this soup is suitable for my 10 month old son? He has loads of phlegm which pains me when I can’t do anything to help.

    • food-4tots says:

      Mei Yan: You are welcome! For your case, I would suggest that you get advice and medication from your pediatrician to clear the phlegm for your son. 😉

  36. MeiYan says:

    🙂 Thanks for your advise. I think I will try out this recipe when he is slightly older. Thanks for your effort in keeping your web updated.

    • food-4tots says:

      Mei Yan: Yeah, it is better to keep his diet as simple and healthy as possible. That’s what I did for my son before he reached 2 years old. My recipes in this blog are targeted at toddlers aged from 2 years and above. Of course, you can make some adjustments at your end if you want. Remember to avoid salt, sugar and other allergy food (such as nuts, honey, egg white etc ) for your son until he reaches 1 year old. Thanks for your words of encouragement. Really appreciate it! 😉

  37. Jayden's mom says:

    This soup is really great! My 4yo son really like it and I like the fact that the ingredients have healing effects for cough which is just right for my son as he catches the cough bug from school so often.

    Thanks for sharing!

  38. Melody says:

    Thank you for sharing. I use to drink this soup as a child and now I am making this soup for my children.

    Do you know if you can substitute chicken for the pork/pork ribs?

  39. Cheryl says:

    I would like to try this recipe, but what is candied dates called in cantonese? If it’s alright for you, do you mind to include hanyu pinyin for people like me who don’t know how to read chinese? Thanks a lot.

  40. Cheryl says:

    Just to let you know that my hubby loves this soup so much that he wants me to boil every week 🙂

  41. […] is one of my favorite things to make. I plan to subsist on it all winter long. (Apple Soup, Pumpkin + Peanut Butter Soup, Sour Cream […]

  42. healthnut says:


    I wonder if I can add cinnamon to this soup?

  43. Droplet81 says:

    This recipe is great! My family loves it! Thank you so much!

  44. Evelyn says:

    Thanks for sharing your recipe, I tried it and it taste so nice. The soup was light and sweet. Easy to prepare too!

  45. rachel says:

    Hi, i love this soup so do my 15mth son. I have given his this soup last sat. i did not know that we should intro nut to him at a later stage. He looks fine after drinking with almonds. Can i continue to give him or i should stop till he is older?

    Any.advisable age to into tods to nuts?

  46. Pearlene says:

    Can I check where do you buy the figs???

  47. Vin says:

    Thanks for this recipe, as weather is very hot and hazy now, this is the best soup I can think of. Can you advise on how many times per week that we should consume this soup? Thanks a bunch!

    • food-4tots says:

      I think one week once should be more than enough. There are still many soups that you can also prepare for your family, right? Instead of soup, make some herbal drinks. 😉

  48. Eric Chung says:

    Is there a difference if you add in the ingredients into cold water and bring to boil OR upon boiling, add in the ingredients?

    • food-4tots says:

      Eric Chung: The latter method is commonly practiced by Chinese when making soup. I’m not an expert in this field, hence I can’t give you the precise reason for doing so.

  49. karyn says:

    Hi. Where to buy fig fruit? I only knew chinese herb soup sell dry fig..urs look like fresh fig

    • food-4tots says:

      Karyn: I bought mine from Eu Yan Sang, Singapore. In Kuala Lumpur, you can find them at 大马药业有限公司 TaimalHerbs (Note: They have a few branches). 🙂

  50. Dora says:

    Can I cook this in a slow cooker? If yes, may I know how should I go about it?

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