In the Chinese culture, we drink a lot of herbal soups. Herbal soups to strengthen the immunity, to detox, to boost energy, to balance hormones, to balance chi and to look pretty.
I remember as a young girl, my grandmother would always have a big pot of soup boiling in the kitchen for 4-6 hours. The bitter the soup she tells me often is better for the body. She would cook the herbs with a base of black chicken, frog meat or rabbit meat which she reared in her back garden. During Chinese dinners, it is quite common practice to have soup before the starters and soup to end the meal before desserts. Maybe a beauty secret of many Chinese women.
You can get these herbs from the Chinese medicine shop if you want a bespoke mixture. The herbalist will be at hand to ask you a few questions before picking out a combination of weird and wonderful looking herbs, instructing you to boil at home. You can also buy popular combinations in prepared packages from Chinese supermarkets. I would recommend drinking a chinese herbal soup once a week to reap the benefits.
In this month’s blog, I will be sharing with you 3 popular Chinese herbal soups that you can try at home.
- BEAUTY SOUP – for boosting collagen and improving complexion
3 clumps of white wood ear mushroom
5 cups of water
10 chinese dates
¼ cup of goji berries
¼ cup of lotus seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon of rock sugar
- Soak the dry white wood ear mushroom in cold water for about 2-3 hours to soften and rehydrate it before cooking. If you use dried lotus seeds, you will also want to soak them before cooking.
- After the mushroom has softened, chop them into small pieces and remove the hard part at its bottom.
- Wash the pear, remove its peel and dice it into small squares.
- Boil the mushroom, pear, and rock sugar together and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Once the mixture has reached a boil, reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the dates and goji berries then let the soup simmer on low for another hour, add more sugar to your liking or more water if the soup becomes too thick.
- Turn off the burner and enjoy the soup hot. All of the ingredients are edible. There is no need strain the mixture.
- DETOX SOUP – for reducing acne
1 Chinese Radish (Daikon)
1 Large Carrot
A handful of chinese red dates
A few thumb-size ginger pieces
2 litres of water
Salt to taste
- Peel and chop vegetables
- Place vegetables and water into a pot
- With a pair of scissors, cut red dates into the pot.
- Bring to boil and then simmer for two hours.
- Season with salt and serve.
- SUPER-HERBS CHICKEN SOUP – for boosting energy
Chinese Yam 30gm
Skinless chicken thighs (with the bone in)
Ginger slices (a thumb size)
A handful of chinese red dates
Dried scallop 4 to 5
NB: You can swap lean pork ribs instead of chicken if you want more taste
- Soak herbs for 5 to 10 minutes and rinse a few times
- Wash the chicken breast or pork and put them in boiling water to cook for a few minutes with the foam bubbling to the top. Remove and rinse.
- Put all the ingredients including the meat in a soup pot with about 3L of water. Bring to the boil for about 5 minutes, remove the foam and reduce the heat to simmer for another 3 hours. Add extra water if you need to. You should get a dense nutrient rich broth at the end.
- When it’s ready, add salt to taste
- Enjoy the soup hot. You can eat the meat, red dates, goji berries ad chinese yam.
I hope you found this blog useful. Do let me know if you try the recipes above and let me know how it goes.
Until then, happy soup-drinking 🙂