Soups are quite important and necessary to normal Chinese autumn and winter days. We believe that it is quite dry in those two seasons and thus soups with various herbals are employed to moisten our lung and remove body heat. Those ingredients, which are believed to beneficial to our body, are used most frequently in Cantonese cuisine. Some Cantonese drinks the liquid only. But the meats are quite nourishing too.
Some of the most popular Chinese herbals
Wolfberries (Gǒu Qǐ |枸杞) are dried from ripe fruit of Lycium barbarum L. Wolfberries can nourish the liver, promotes vision and invigorates the kidneys. In daily cooking, we blew dried wolfberries with flower teas like chrysanthemum tea.
Chinese wild yam (Huái Shān|淮山), the root of Dioscorea opposita Thunb has multiple efforts on spleen, lung and kidney. It can boost energy and alleviate bodily weakness.
Astragalus Root (Huáng Qí|黄芪), nourish the kidney, improve resistance and boost the immune system and is believed to be a tonic, diuretic and pectoral medicine.
Red dates (Hóng Zǎo|红枣) can improve cell mutation, clam nervous system, protect the liver and moisten our lung.
Codonopsis Root ( Dǎng Shēn|党参) can release stress, anti-aging, adrenal fatigue and digestive problems and combats tiredness.
Angelica Sinensis (Dāng Guī|当归), a warming Chinese herb nourishes the blood and invigorates blood circulation. It has been used in Traditional Chinese Medical for a quite long history for women's healthy, including relieving symptoms of gynecological conditions such as menopause, menstruation pain, recovery from childbirth.
Soloman’s Seal –(Yù Zhú|玉竹)，the slivers of curly herb are yellowish in color and is believed to treat ailments related to the lungs and throat. It helps with dry cough, sore throat and thirst.
Honey dates (Mì Zǎo|蜜枣), nourishes the spleen, boosts the immune system.
- If you ever tried Chinese herbal soup before, you may not like the smell when purchasing your herbal mix even the smell during the simmer process. But be brave and try it. The final soup will comfort you with a unique sweet taste.
- You can make this soup with regular pot, clay pot or high pressure pot. For high pressure pot, you can slightly reduce the water added as there is less water evaporated during the cooking.
- The longer you simmer the soup, the stronger and darker the soup will be.
Herbal Chicken Soup (药膳鸡汤)
- 1 organic chicken ,either plain chicken or black bone chicken
- 3 L water
- 1 small thumb ginger
- salt to taste
- 2 tbsp. goji berries
- 3 red dates
- 2 honey dates
- 5 pieces codonopsis ,20g
- 3 slices Chinese wild yam ,20g
- 2 tbsp. Astragalus root or 4 pieces ,20g
- 3 pieces Chinese Angelica root ,10g
- 3 pieces Soloman’s seal ,10g
- Soak all the herbals except red dates, goji berries and honey dates in a large bowl with enough water. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- Cut chicken into pieces and blanch in a pot of boiling water with 3-4 slices of ginger. This process helps to remove the dirt and blood water from the bones. Pick the chicken pieces out and transfer them to a soup pot.
- Add enough water and the soaked herbal. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 t 40 minutes. Add red dates, goji berries and honey dates, continue simmering another 30 minutes.
- Season with salt before serving.