Sweet Corn Pork Ribs Soup

It’s cool weather in Singapore (which is rarer than the blue moon here) with average daily temperatures of 22-24°C. Nice cool weather means soup season to me. Over the weekend, I made this homely Chinese-style sweet corn pork ribs soup (玉米排骨汤) or jagung teng as my mum likes to call it.

Sweet Corn Pork Ribs Soup Recipe
I kept to my mum’s tradition of making this soup by 1) using pork ribs instead of chicken and 2) using only three main ingredients: corn, pork ribs and carrot. Particularly for this soup, my mum always skipped ‘extras’ such as dried scallops and red dates.  Maybe she felt that the main trio ingredients are able to carry the sweetness of the soup, or perhaps she wanted a purer sweet corn taste.

Chinese Sweet Corn Pork Ribs Soup

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Sweet Corn Pork Ribs Soup Recipe
And another tip from my mum is not to spurge on expensive breed of corn for this soup. I’m using cheap corn on the cob (two for S$1 from NTUC; pictured above). Well actually, I didn’t believe my mum at first and made this soup once with some atas pearl bi-color corn which cost four times the price of the regular corn. She was right, it was in her words “a waste of money”, it didn’t really enhance the taste of the soup >_<

Sweet Corn Pork Ribs Soup Recipe
Sometimes, I cook this soup in the slow cooker. Usually that will be on a lazy weekend where I dump everything inside the crock pot (pictured above) and simmer it for hours ….

Chinese Sweet Corn Pork Ribs Soup
… and at other times especially on weekdays, I like to cook this on the stove top (pictured above; in the early stages of cooking). According to my mum, this soup is one of the few forgiving Chinese soup if you don’t have time to simmer for hours. My mum often buy the ingredients from the supermarket in the late afternoon, head straight home, cook this on the stove for less than an hour to serve for dinner right away.

Chinese Sweet Corn Pork Ribs Soup 

Sweet Corn Pork Ribs Soup Recipe

This recipe covers two methods of cooking this soup: simmering over the stove-top and using a crock pot slow cooker.

Pork ribs can be substituted with chicken: use half to one chicken or 6 drumsticks with 1 chicken bone.




  • 1200 ml water
  • 500 grams pork spare ribs
  • 2 sweet corn on the cob husked and chopped into chunks
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 yellow onion optional; roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves old garlic cloves optional; don’t peel or mash them
  • salt to taste


Blanch pork ribs in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes, rinse with cold water and set aside.

Stove-Top Method

  1. Add blanched pork and all the ingredients except salt into a large soup pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for another 40-50 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Optional: Keep warm in a thermal pot for at least 2 hours before serving.

Slow-Cooker Method

Use 900ml hot boiling water instead of 1200ml as specified in the recipe.

  1. In a crock-pot slow cooker, add blanched pork and all the ingredients except salt. Cook at “High” for 2-3 hours (starting from the time when the soup starts bubbling), then set to simmer at “Low” until ready to serve. Top up with a small amount of boiling water occasionally only if needed (when the soup in the pot is reduced). Season to taste with salt.