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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Basic Chicken Soup (Base)

Basic Chicken Soup (Base)

Basic Chicken Soup (Base)

Soup Name

Basic Chinese Chicken Soup Stock (Soup Base)

Traditional Chinese Name:  

清雞湯 (qīng jī tāng)

 

Here is another version of the basic chicken soup.  I’ll make this so that it can serve as a base for noodles, macaroni, with rice, or for double-boiling soups.  You can mix and match the types of vegetables to bring out the types of flavours you like, but I will usually always use some chicken bones, legs, or carcass along with dried scallops (these are almost a must for the stock soup!).   

The benefits:

  • Perfect for any soup base. You can simply add your favourite vegetables or even Chinese herbs.
  • This soup is perfect for cooler days as it’s slightly warming
  • Perfect for confinement, postpartum, and post period
  • Ideal for the whole family, including children
  • These ingredients are readily available in most Chinese supermarkets around the world, all you need is just a chicken!
  • Be sure to to consult your (Chinese) doctor first if you’re unsure of consumption or suitability
  • You can store this soup base in a plastic container (or jar with a wide mouth so it’s easier to use back later) for up to 6 months in the freezer
  • I’ve used this as a soup base for both noodles soups and even hotpot!  It’s very versatile in what you can do with it!

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 3 hours

Total time: 3 hours 30 mins

Serves: 8 bowls 

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Begin to boil a separate pot for blanching the meat
  2. Soak the dried conpoys and dried shiitake mushrooms in warm water for 10 minutes, the mushrooms may need longer, until they are soft, but since it’s for the soup base, it’s ok if they are still a bit hard.
  3. You can also begin to boil your soup water
  4. When your blanching water boils, add in the chicken bones and boil on high heat for 5 minutes. Make sure the water is boiling and you should see residue, fat, grim, and even foam come to the surface.
  5. In the meantime, you can prepare all your vegetable ingredients for the base.  I will cut the onion in half, keeping on the stem so it stays intact and cut the carrots and corn into large pieces so I can easily remove them from the pot.
  6. Once your soup water boils, remove the meat from the blanching pot and shake off any excess and slowly lower into your soup water
  7. Add in dried conpoys, dried mushrooms, and all the vegetables into the pot
  8. Boil on medium heat for 30 minutes
  9. Reduce heat to the lowest and cover and let it simmer like that for another 2-3 hours (or use a thermal pot). The soup should now be a rich, golden color after boiling for so long. Be sure to scoop out any oil, fat bits, or skin from the top with an oil scooper.
  10. And you can also remove all the ingredients with a strainer so that you’re left with a beautiful soup base which you can use for other soups or dishes!

For video on “7 Basic Chinese Soup Pantry Ingredients”, visit us on YouTube.

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    Using this chicken soup base for shabu shabu is the perfect solution to start your hot pot adventures! 

      This soup is using the base chicken soup recipe that is perfect for double-boiling.  For example, the only additional ingredient added here is the ginseng on top of the soup base.

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        Red Dates Tea

        Red Dates Tea

        Soup Name: Red Dates Tea

        Traditional Chinese Name:  红枣茶 (Hóng zǎo chá)

        Introduction:
        My herbalist suggested I drink a simple tea made of red dates during my period. It’s super easy to make, as the dates are already sitting in the fridge and you just add hot water. Some people will boil it with a few other ingredients, such as wolfberries and fresh ginger slices. This is also an ideal confinement drink if you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth – replace this in place of coffee or tea to avoid the caffeine, but get the benefits of the blood replenishment.

         

        Amount serves: 1 cup for 1 person (you!)

        What Ingredients are required?

        6 dried red dates, sliced

        1 cup of boiling water

        How do I prepare it?

        1. Slice your red dates thinly
        2. Add to a mug and add boiling water
        3. Steep for 2 minutes. It will get sweeter over time as the tea steeps further.

        Any benefits?

        • Helps rejuvenate the body after a period and restore blood loss
        • Excellent for maintaining healthy blood pressure
        • Excellent source of Vitamin C

        Any precautions?

        • Make sure you remove the seeds of dried red dates as the seeds are known to create “fire” in the body
        Chinese Yam with Apples and Corn in Chicken Broth

        Chinese Yam with Apples and Corn in Chicken Broth

        Soup Name: Chinese Yam with Apples and Corn in Chicken Broth (with Ginger)

        Traditional Chinese Name:  蘋果玉米淮山雞湯 (píng guǒ yù mǐ huái shān jī tāng)

        Introduction:
        A simple, clean chicken broth with just a hint of sweetness and a tang of spice (from the ginger). Depending on who your consumer is, add less or more ginger. For confinement, don’t be scared to throw it all in! This soup is easy to make, it’s got basic neutral ingredients and is great for the whole family!

         

        What Ingredients are required?

        1 fresh whole chicken, quartered
        4-5 whole apples, cored and quartered
        2 fresh corn, quartered
        2 fresh pieces of Chinese Yam about 1 foot in length, peeling is optional, quartered
        150 g of sliced fresh ginger (for confinement purposes)
        2 L of water
        salt to taste

        How do I prepare it?

        1. Clean, prepare and blanch chicken in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes
        2. Set aside to cool
        3. Wash, prepare apples, corn and Chinese Yam
        4. Slice ginger thinly
        5. Boil your soup water, when it boils, add all the ingredients together
        6. Boil on high for about 30 minutes and reduce to a simmer for 1 hour
        7. Serve and enjoy!

        Any benefits?

        • With ginger, it’s a slightly warm soup, but without it, it’s neutral
        • Pregnancy, confinement and child friendly
        • Sweet and fresh to the taste
        • Excellent source of Vitamins and hearty to eat

        Any precautions?

        • For children, go easy on the ginger because that can really spice up the soup!
        • Be sure to clean, peel Chinese Yam with gloves as the outer skin of the Chinese Yam can make your fingers itchy (if you opt to peel the skin)

        Similar soups:

        Green Papaya, Fish & Dried Octopus Soup

        Green Papaya, Fish & Dried Octopus Soup

        Soup Name: Green Papaya, Fish & Dried Octopus Soup

        Traditional Chinese Name:  木瓜魚湯 (mù gua yú tāng)

        Introduction:
        A popular and very common soup for confinement, but not limited to this special group of ladies. For confinement, you must use GREEN papaya (ie: raw, raw, raw – smoking green). The dried octopus helps in milk production as well as adding some flavor to the soup. Use small fish where possible (to limit the exposure to mercury) and setting the soup overnight in a thermal pot really helps bring out the flavors. You can make a big pot and drink for about 2-3 days (while reheating it). This soup generates a very rich, milky broth that is super nutritious, delicious and suitable for the whole family. Another key ingredient for confinement is the ginger – don’t discount the power of ginger!

         

        What Ingredients are required?

        100 g of ginger, sliced thinly
        2 fresh fish, halved (for this recipe, I used 2 fresh Bartail Flatheads)
        2 large green papayas
        1 dried octopus, quartered

        1 tsp of oil (to fry the fish & ginger)
        2 L of water
        salt to taste


        How do I prepare it?

        1. Cut and soak the octopus in a bowl of warm water
        2. Thoroughly wash and clean the fish
        3. In a shallow pan on medium heat, add oil and ginger and when the oil is hot, add fish
        4. Fry the fish with the ginger on both sides until golden brown
        5. Remove from stove to let cool
        6. Boil your soup water
        7. Wash and peel papaya skin, cut into large edible portions
        8. When the water boils, add in fish, fried ginger, octopus and papaya
        9. Boil on medium heat for 1.5 hours
        10. Put into a thermal pot to keep warm or for reboil later

        Any benefits?

        • This soup is rich vitamin C, carotenes and antioxidants
        • It is said to aid in milk production for breastfeeding women (use green papayas in this case)

        Any precautions?

        • Be sure to use smaller fish (not the tiny fish, but a foot in length is OK) as the larger the fish, the more mercury content
        • You can consider using a soup bag for the fish, although the little fish tend to stick together if you just halve it

        Similar soups:

        The soup is a very rich, milky broth

        Chinese Confinement: The Early Days

         

         

        The journey for Chinese Confinement #7 started about 4 days ago.

        This page is about Chinese Confinement in the early days. True “body-recovering” doesn’t actually happen until past days 10-12. That’s when you take out the heavy artillery. For now, the first 10-12 days (some say 8-10) should be light, mild and “taking it easy”. This doesn’t mean you can eat “cooling foods” or take showers and let your hair to air dry, it means your diet is light. From various sources at the wet mart and Chinese herbalists, the advice is to drink these light teas and lay off the power herbs.

        I will continue to add as I learn more here, but here’s a start.

        You can also read forward to prepare for Chinese Confinement: The Final Days (Day 13-30).

         

        Chinese Confinement drinks, teas & soups (for the early days):

         

        Chinese Confinement foods and snacks (for the early days):