Chinese Herbal Soup with Abalone

Chinese Herbal Soup with Abalone

Chinese Herbal Soup with Abalone

Soup Name:

Chicken Herbal Soup with Abalone
 

Traditional Chinese Name:

鮑魚清雞湯 (bào yú qīng jī tāng)

This soup is warming in nature and sweet to taste.

Visit us on YouTube for more tea and soup videos.

One of my favourite basic chicken Chinese soups – ever!  And it’s special when I add abalone because it’s delicious to eat as part of the meal and brings a special savory taste to the soup.  You can’t really taste the sea, but it does really accent the soup!  This soup is warming in nature and sweet to taste.  I made this soup for my daughters post menstruation and it’s perfect for cold winter days or when you’d like to replenish qi or blood and have excess yin (feeling cold in the limbs, have a pale tongue, pale complexion).  

I buy my abalone frozen from the local supermarkets.  These are a little smaller ones and are perfect for soups.  To use, you can thaw the night before or soak in cool water.  Remove from the shell gently, ensuring you don’t break any of it and then you can use a knife or your fingers to gently remove the bottom portion (also the stomach and reproduction parts of the abalone).  Be sure to also wash them.  I’ll use a toothbrush because it’s smaller and can get into the crevices of the abalone.  Some people use a brush as well.  You can also do this under running water.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 3 hours

Total time: 3 hours 15 mins

Serves: 4 bowls of soup

Ingredients

  • 1 whole fresh silkie black chicken
  • 5 fresh (or frozen) abalone
  • 2-3 slices of dong quai
  • 10 dried red dates
  • 10 dried dragon eyes
  • 5 dried Chinese Yam
  • 2 L of water

Cooking Instructions

  1. Begin to boil a separate pot to blanch your chicken in
  2. Prepare your chicken (I usually remove the legs and wings and quarter it)
  3. Prepare the abalone by removing it from it’s shell and removing its organs
  4. In the blanching pot, pre-boil the chicken and abalone to remove excess debris, blood, bones, and fat.  Once it boils again for 5 minutes, you can remove it from the hot water.  It doesn’t need to be fully cooked as that will happen in the soup.
  5. Begin to boil your soup water
  6. Once your soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
  7. Boil on high for 30 mins and reduce to a low boil for another 2.5 hours
  8. Serve and enjoy!  No salt needed – try it!  This soup is delicious!!

Benefits

Precautions

  • This is a warm soup, so not suggested for those who have yin deficiency (too much yang) in their bodies

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White Radish with Mushrooms and Vermicelli in Chicken Soup

White Radish with Mushrooms and Vermicelli in Chicken Soup

White Radish with Mushrooms and Vermicelli in Chicken Soup

Soup Name:

White radish with mushrooms and vermicelli in Chicken Soup

Chinese Name:

白蘿蔔冬菇粉絲雞湯 (bái luóbo dōng gū fěn sī jī tāng)

 

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

Sometimes, I want something relatively easy and quick to whip up all in one-pot!  Make a bit of rice or noodles on the side and serve up this dish as a meal for your family.

This soup has got a healthy selection of protein and packs a volume of vegetables.  You can design the vegetable of your choice, and my family loves to eat siu choy (or napa cabbage), but normal cabbage, lettuce, also go well.

You can also be selective in your mushrooms.  I kind of just went with a whole bunch of fresh mushrooms from the supermarket such as fresh oyster, brown, and shiitake mushrooms.  Dried mushrooms also work well, but do need more time to rehydrate.   

What’s involved?

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 45 mins

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients
  • 3 chicken thighs
  • 1 whole white radish, peeled, cubed
  • mushroom selection (your choice, I went with fresh oyster mushrooms, fresh brown mushrooms, and fresh shiitake mushrooms)
  • 3 dried shiitake mushrooms (for flavour)
  • 1 pack of dried vermicelli
  • 2 small napa cabbage (or vegetable of choice) – something with a lighter taste (so the whiter / paler the vegetable is better)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried conpoys
  • 1 tablespoon of dried longans
  • 1 tablespoon of white miso paste
  • 3-4 L of water

 

Cooking Instructions
  1. Soak the vermicelli in cool water for at least 10 minutes
  2. Chop chicken into large pieces and in a shallow pan fry skin down (no oil as needed as a lot of the fat will be rendered out).  Fry on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, flipping as it browns.  The chicken doesn’t need to be thoroughly cooked as it will be going into the soup anyways, you just want the edges to be a nice golden brown with a crust.
  3. Boil your soup water.
  4. Peel and chop white radish into cubes.  Size is up to you depending on how much time you have.  The less time, the smaller the pieces should be.
  5. When the soup water boils, throw in the pan-fried chicken thighs and white radish and boil on high for 10 minutes
  6. You can drop in the dried mushrooms, conpoys, and dragon eyes (in this case, I don’t rehydrate the mushrooms as they need a good hour sometimes, so dropping them in directly is OK)
  7. Cut up your napa cabbage in small pieces and drop into your soup, along with your selection of mushrooms
  8. Continue to boil for 10 minutes on medium heat
  9. Drop in 1 tablespoon of white miso and stir it around to make sure it’s dissolved.
  10. Finally drop in the hydrated vermicelli and boil for another 10 minutes on medium heat, covered.
  11. Top with chopped green onions or cilantro for taste.
  12. Serve and enjoy!  You can add rice or noodles as part of the meal.

Some time saving tips!

  • You can pre-soak the vermicelli first thing in the morning.  This stuff stays pretty supple throughout the day and will only soften when boiled.  If you’re going to soak them, I’d suggest to also soak the dried shiitake mushrooms, too!
  • The quicker you want your soup to cook, especially the white radish, cut the pieces smaller.  I like larger pieces because you can fish them out, but smaller will help if you’ve got a time crunch!
  • You can replace the miso paste with a soy sauce soup base (with chicken broth) as well.  I don’t use any broth powder in this case as miso is perfect on it’s own!
  • Tofu is also a great quick cook ingredient to add if you want more variety.  All types of tofu!
  • Don’t be afraid to cook the chicken on HIGH heat.  Just make sure you monitor it and turn and rotate the chicken as it browns.  Remember, you don’t need to fully cook it, you just want enough of a beautiful crust and brown so it’s crispy and already bursting with flavours!

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Fragrant Potatoes and Tomatoes in a Milky Fish Broth

Fragrant Potatoes and Tomatoes in a Milky Fish Broth

Fragrant Potatoes and Tomatoes in a Milky Fish Broth

Soup Name:

Fragrant potatoes and tomatoes in a milky fish broth (yup, fancy name!)

Traditional Chinese Name:

番茄魚湯 (fānqié yú tāng)

This name of 番茄魚湯 is literally the most staple name for any soup with fish and tomatoes in it.  Of course, get creative!

This soup is neutral in nature sweet to taste.

 

For videos, visit us on YouTube.

When you’ve got that milky broth going, you know you’ve got the soup base right for your fish soup.

It’s been awhile since I made a fish soup and my kids have grown up this pretty traditional Cantonese-styled soup from their grandma, so I decided to make it again in Toronto.

I wasn’t sure what type of fish I’d find at the supermarket for soup making, but it is pretty fully loaded!!   To be honest, you can use any type of fish for fish soup.  However, I would recommend using more of the bones parts of the fish.  The head is the best with the tail being second and then stomach and main body.  The head is packed full of calcium, nutrients, and collagen.  And when boiled out in soup, dissolves into the soup and gives it more of that milky disposition.  It’s truly amazing!  Read on on how to prepare the fish.

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 45 mins

Cook time: 3 hours

Total time: 3 hours 45 mins

Serves: 8 bowls

Ingredients

Tips before you start!

  •  Pan-fry in ginger and oil (add scallions if you’d like) the first before you add it to the soup.  This will make it more fragrant and eliminate the fishy smell and taste.
  • Also pan-fry the potatoes on high heat, crusting all sides (doesn’t need to be fully cooked).  This will keep it together in the soup and prevent it from dissolving and disappearing in the soup (and makes it super fragrant)
  • Salt fish very lightly if you’d like.  For this version, I actually didn’t salt at all!  It turned out amazing and people can add salt afterwards as they like. 
Cooking Instructions
  1. .Start boiling your soup water in a soup pot on high heat
  2. Wash, clean, and pat dry your fish
  3. In a shallow pan, add in a tablespoon of oil, 8 ginger slices, and a bunch of largely sliced green onions on medium-high heat.  Let that brown a bit.
  4. Throw in your fish, browning as much of it as you can.  It doesn’t need to be fully cooked, just crisp the edges and meat on all sides.  Once done, you can turn off the heat.
  5. Once your soup water boils, add in the fried fish along with the dried longans and dried scallops.
  6. Reduce that to a medium boil
  7. You can now peel and cut the potatoes into giant chunks
  8. In a shallow pan on medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of oil and brown all the sides of the potatoes, as crispy as you can get.  This crust will keep the potatoes in tack as it boils and softens.
  9. Once that browns, throw it into your soup.
  10. Cut up the tomatoes into large quarters and drop that into your soup as well
  11. You can then prepare the abalone and drop into your soup.
  12. Reduce to a low boil for about 2-3 hours.  I did 3 hours for this.
  13. By now, you should have a beautiful milky broth.  Throw in scallions for taste.
  14. Serve and enjoy!

My kids loved this soup!  It’s something they grew up with and eat the potatoes as part of the soup.

I normally don’t keep fish soup overnight, but somehow I wanted to save some for the day after and when I went back to reheat it, the soup was congealed!!  It was amazing!  This means that the collagen (and there’s a lot) has hardened and simply gently reheat and enjoy again!

For those who love eating fish heads, I also didn’t use a soup bag as the grass carp head was pretty large.  A lot of the meat does stay in tack and have separated from the bones, so you can “fish” for them at the bottom of the soup with a scooper!  Enjoy!!

 

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Recovery Healing Soup (for Coughs and Nourishing Lungs)

Recovery Healing Soup (for Coughs and Nourishing Lungs)

Recovery Healing Soup (for Coughs and Nourishing Lungs)

Soup Name:

Recovery Healing Soup (for Coughs and Nourishing Lungs)

 

This tea is slightly cooling in nature and sweet to taste.

 

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Wow, there’s definitely something going around lately!  As the seasons change from fall to winter, what happens is different pathogens show up and we can’t always adapt as quickly.  

In partnership with SouperWell, a Toronto-based hand-crafted Chinese soup provider, I made the PERFECT soup this weekend for my sick family.

Seriously, my kids got sick two weeks ago, I got sick last week, and finally my husband was lucky enough to get it.  This also included my nephews and other family members all passing something around and then colleagues and hospitals concerned about filling capacity.

 

Try this recovery healing Chinese soup to help nourish, strengthen, and loosen the congestion on the chest and lungs to help with breathing.

This soup is slightly cooling, sweet to taste, and designed to remove dampness from the body.  It’s perfect for those with phlegm, runny everything (nose, throat), and sore throats.  

The soup packet itself has all the basic ingredients you’ll need to address this and I added some protein, neutral vegetables, and my all-time favourite lung power herb, the dried snow fungus.

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 1 hour (on the stove top).  30 mins before going into the thermal pot and then 30 mins before serving to soften the snow fungus.

Thermal pot cook time:  3 hours (or an eternity later)

Total time: 4 hour 30 mins

Serves: 8 bowls

Ingredients

Dried contents (in the soup package):

Additional ingredients:

  • Fresh pork (anything), I used pork legs because of the marrow content
  • frozen conch
  • Neutral vegetables (I used 1 carrot and 1 corn)
  • 1 large piece of dried snow fungus
  • 3L of water

 

Cooking Instructions
  1. Soak the dried snow fungus in a large bowl of cool water to let it expand (so you can cut out the hard, unwanted middle) – you can watch this video here on how to prepare it
  2. Soak the dried conch and dried mushrooms in another separate bowl of cool water to allow them to expand and soften as well
  3. Boil 2 pots of water, your soup water and a separate blanching pot for the pork and frozen conch
  4. While your soup water is still cold, add in the dried fig and dried snow pears.  This will ensure they don’t cook right away and allow the flavours to seep out as it warms. 
  5. When your blanching water boils, add in the fresh pork bones and frozen conch
  6. Boil this for 10 minutes or until the water boils again and you can see a layer of brown foam
  7. Remove the pork bones and conch into a separate bowl, rinse under warm water to remove any excess foam and debris.  I’ll also scrub the conch to make sure it’s super clean as I usually serve this as a side dish
  8. You can prepare your vegetables now, ensuring they are cut into bite-sized pieces
  9. When your soup water boils, add all the ingredients into the pot (except the snow fungus)
  10. Cover and boil on high heat for 30 minutes
  11. You can then transfer your soup pot to it’s thermal holder (or continue to boil on low heat for another 2-3 hours)
  12. 30 minutes before you serve, put the pot back on the burner on medium heat and add in the prepared snow fungus
  13. Serve and enjoy!
  14. You can remove the mushrooms and the conch from the soup, slice into small pieces, and serve as a side dish with soy sauce.  So yummy!
Any benefits?
  • This soup is perfect for nourishing and tonifying the lungs
  • It helps with cough, especially a wet cough where there is phlegm, congestion in the chest, and difficulty breathing
  • It’s a cooling and sweet soup that is perfect for the whole family
  • Start with this amazing soup herbal base and add either chicken or pork, or keep it vegetarian with more neutral (or slightly cooling) vegetables such as corn, carrots, chayotes, or fresh Chinese yam.

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Monk Fruit and Chrysanthemum Flower Herbal Tea (for dry coughs and yin deficiency)

Monk Fruit and Chrysanthemum Flower Herbal Tea (for dry coughs and yin deficiency)

Soup Name:

Monk Fruit and Chrysanthemum Flower Herbal Tea (for dry coughs and yin deficiency)

Traditional Chinese Name:

羅漢果菊花茶 (luó hàn guǒ jú huā chá)

This tea is slightly cooling in nature and sweet to taste.

 

For videos, visit us on YouTube.

This morning, I woke up with a dry and itchy throat with an on and off dry cough, a bit of sore throat, some shallow breathing, and a feeling of overall cold.  This is what I call temporary yin deficiency (of the lung).  I was riding the day before in 3C and with prolonged lung exposure to a cold environment, the onset of yin deficiency was topical and pretty quick to show itself.  Which means, I could also address it right away! 

Lung yin deficiency shows up as dry and fire in the lungs, which is sometimes mistaken for excess yang.  It can feel ticklish in the throat and just not comfortable to speak.

This sweet tea will help cool and moisten the lungs and throat, calm the dry cough, and restore balance between yin and yang in the body.  Keeping monk fruit and dried chrysanthemum flowers in my pantry are great because I can quickly throw together a tea

What’s involved?

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 1 hour

Total time: 1 hour 5 mins

Serves: 2 cups

Ingredients

 

Cooking Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients into a ceramic or glass pot
  2. Pour in 4 cups of cold water
  3. Set to high for 10 minutes (or until it begins to boil)
  4. Cover and reduce heat to a low boil
  5. Boil for an hour
  6. When you’re ready to serve, you can drop in the rock sugar and mix until dissolved or add honey after you’ve served (as not to breakdown the honey in the boiling water)
  7. Strain and serve.  Drink hot!  Enjoy!
Any benefits?
  • This soup is perfect for nourishing and tonifying the lungs
  • It helps with cough, especially a dry cough where there is Yin deficiency (or appears as heaty)
  • It’s a sweet tea that is perfect for the whole family
  • It’s a cooling tea and helps cool and lubricate the lungs

For videos, visit us on YouTube.

The monk fruit!  This is the slightly less dry version.  You’ll notice it’s more green and less brown.  This one is a little more expensive, coming in at $2 CAD per monk fruit.  You’ll also notice a thin layer of sugared coating, so it is a bit sticky to touch, but that’s just the sugars of the fruit on the skin.  The great thing about the greener version is that it isn’t as pungent or sweet, so you can use half in a soup to give is just enough of that flavour.  If it’s the heavily dried version, I will only use a quarter in 3L of soup water.  This is also great in teas!!  

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Traditional Chinese Herbal Soup (as a Hot Pot Base)

Traditional Chinese Herbal Soup (as a Hot Pot Base)

Traditional Chinese Herbal Soup (as a Hot Pot Base)

Soup Name:

Traditional Chinese Herbal Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

藥膳雞煲 (yàoshàn jī bāo)

This soup is warming in nature and sweet to taste.

 

For videos, visit us on YouTube.

This soup has a very distinctive smell and taste of a Chinese medicinal shop.  It’s definitely a love or hate initially, but can be acquired.  The key ingredient is the “dong quai” or “angelica root” that creates that fragrant (debatable?) scent.  I’ve learned to love it after so many years of being in Hong Kong and once you taste the soup, wow!

This soup is the ultimate warming winter hot pot delight.  You literally feel yourself getting hot and sweaty after one bowl.  It’s literally a powerful tonic that replenishes blood and Qi, improves circulation, and detoxifies the body.

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 2 hours 40 mins

Total time: 3 hours 10 mins

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients

Soup base:

Hot pot ingredients:

 

  • fresh napa cabbage
  • assorted mushrooms
  • fresh hard tofu

This powerhouse healing ingredient is the key ingredient to your Chinese herbal soup!  The dong quai is warm, slightly sweet and slightly bitter, and a common herb used to promote warmth, replenish blood, and replenish yang.  This is why it’s such a common ingredient used in post partum and confinement recipes.  It’s also commonly used in healing tonics.

I will only use this ingredient for this type of herbal soup as it’s got a very distinct pungent scent and taste.  When combined with sweeter ingredients such as red dates and goji berries, it’s really quite delicious!

 

Cooking Instructions
  1. Add your dried herbal base directly into a pot and add in 3L of cold water
  2. Cover and boil on high heat for 30 minutes.
  3. Cut your chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces
  4. In a shallow pan, put them skin side down to render the fat out of the chicken and crisp up the skin (no oil needed!)
  5. Add salt and garlic to flavour as needed
  6. Once the soup is boiled for 30 minutes, you can move your crispy chicken to the soup.  I will usually rinse in warm water first to get rid of the extra oil, bone bits, and debris
  7. Cover and boil on medium for 2 hours (checking that it doesn’t boil over)
  8. At this point your soup is done!  You can drink as is or prepare to add your hot pot ingredients
  9. Prepare your hot pot ingredients an add to your soup
  10. Boil on high for 10 minutes
  11. Serve and enjoy!
  12. Drink your soup first with some of the ingredients added.  I won’t even begin the hot pot yet and just enjoy a soup as is!

Chef tips!

  • For your protein, use chicken (or pork).  This compliments the herbal base very well versus pork or red meats.
  • For your hotpot ingredients, use less intense flavor ingredients and ones that will absorb more the flavours of the soup such as leafy light coloured vegetables like napa cabbage or regular cabbage versus choy sum or gailan.  Tofu is a great additive as well and fresh mushrooms work well.
  • You can add udon or vermicelli as part of your meal
  • If you’re going to cook other meats or seafood, save that for the end as it will change the flavour of the herbal soup

For videos, visit us on YouTube.

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