Double-boiled Apple and Pear Chinese Herbal Soup
Double-boiled Apple and Pear Chinese Herbal Soup
Traditional Chinese Name:
蘋果雪梨燉雞湯 (píng guǒ xuě lí dùn jī tāng)
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My second project using the new double-boiler! I found a very simple, but delicious apple and pear Chinese soup with pork and chicken and Chinese herbs. This is a pretty traditional Chinese soup and can be made both with or without double-boiling. The purpose of double-boiling is really to maintain density of the flavours and lock in (better than regular boiling) all that goodness. I’d almost argue that using a thermal pot is similar to double-boiling. Double-boiled soups are normally made in the winter because they can be more potent and provide extra punch and warmth. This soup is awesomely yummy! It is designed to help soothe and moisten the throat and lungs. Most Chinese double-boiled soups use both chicken and pork. Even if you use a silkie chicken, the Chinese will throw in a small piece of pork shank. This makes the soup very sweet and rich in flavours.
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 3 hours and 30 minutes in double boiler
Total time: 4 hours
Serves: 4-6 bowls
1 whole fresh chicken
- 1/2 pound of fresh pork shank
- 1 tablespoon of dried scallops
- 1 tablespoon of dried goji berries (or wolfberries)
- 1 tablespoon of dried red dates
- 1 tablespoon of dried dragon eyes (or logans)
- 2 fresh fuji apples, peeled, cored, and cubed
- 2 fresh snow pears, peeled, cored, and cubed
- 3 L of water
To start, soak you herbs in warm water to soften. You can also scrub the Chinese Yam in running water before soaking to rinse off the sulphur that is sometimes used to process it. I just eyeball the amount of each herbs depending on the size of the pot, so it’s literally a handful of this and handful of that.
Prepare your meats by removing as much fat as possible. This means, going with lean pork shank and removing all the skin and fat from the chicken. I tried to get as small as a chicken as possible because my pot isn’t that big – in a previous post, I used chicken drumsticks – which work perfectly because of their size, portions and you get both bone and meat. In a separate pot, blanch the meats in boiling hot water for 5 minutes to remove scum, oil, dirt, blood and any extras that like to make their way out of the bones and meat and into your soup. Once blanched, remove the meat from the soup and set aside to cool and to add to your soup later.
Keep the skin on the apples and snow pears. Firstly, this will help keep them intact and not disintegrate too much into the soup and secondly, it will help you scoop it out when you need to. Plus, the skin has its own unique flavour too – just be sure to rinse really well!
Start boiling your double-boiler (inner pot) outside on the stove with half the volume of water that the container will hold. It’s easier to add more water later if you need to top up. When the water more or less boils, throw all the ingredients into the pot. In my case, I can say OOPS! I was still missing one snow pear and 1 apple and ended up removing the ends of the drumsticks to make it all squeeze in. See, it’s all sticking out!
Cover (if you can) and set to let it boil on medium heat for about 30 minutes. Do note that snow pears actually RELEASE more water as it boils, so the risk that it spills over is almost certain!
After 30 minutes of medium boil, turn off the heat and let the pot cool. Once it cools sufficiently for you to put into its outer double-boiler, add the inner pot into the larger outer pot. You can add water later – but when you add water to the outer pot – add hot water! This will reduce the temperature flux of your inner pot. Fill it with enough water so that you can cover the inner double-boiler and this outer pot water won’t spill into the double-boiler. Cover and set on a low boil (you can still see small bubbles) for about 3 hours.
You’ll know your soup is progressing well when you see the pears and apples and colour of the soup turn into a rich golden liquid. Most double-boiled soups some in this golden colour and you’ll know that the flavours are intense and rich.
Once your soup is ready, scoop out whatever you’d like and serve HOT! NO SALT NEEDED! That’s how sweet it is! Some people will like to eat the meats, dipped on soy sauce – by all means, do it! The meat is delicious as well. In my situation, I had leftover fruit, so I simply drank 2 bowls the size of rice bowls, threw in the rest of the fruit and added some more water and continued to double-boil it for another hour until dinner. Enjoy! I certainly did!
- Soak all the Chinese herbs in warm water. You can rinse the dried Chinese yams under running water and rub them to remove any sulphur from the drying process.
- Prepare the meat by cutting in to large bite-size, removing all skin and fat.
- In a separate pot of boiling water, blanch all the meat in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Set aside when finished.
- Cut, core, remove seeds and cut the apples and pears into large bite-sizes, keeping on the skin.
- Boil you soup water at half capacity in the double-boiler.
- When the water boils, add all the ingredients into it and top up with hot water (or boiling water from a kettle).
- Boil on medium heat for 30 minutes.
- Turn off heat and set to cool enough that you can move the pot into the outer double-boiler pot.
- Put inner pot into outer pot and fill with enough water to cover up to at least 3/4 of the inner pot.
- Boil on low heat (minimal bubbles) for 3 hours.
- Serve and enjoy – soup stuff included!
For more videos, visit us on YouTube.
May I use pressure pot for this as well as the soups that require long simmering time or double pot methods as I do not have more than 45 mins to prepare in the day before work.
Hi Cynthia – absolutely! It should produce the same results because it keeps everything in together. Try it and let me know how it fares, but I don’t see why not! Agree that double-boil takes awhile…. Enjoy! Lisa
I have tried it and was a success!
Hubby just thought it was more of a dessert than a dish to with during dinner. 😛 Nonetheless, my kids loved it, no complains.
Dear Cyn, that’s awesome! Yah, the sweeter soups are probably an acquired taste when we expect a more saltier soup for our dinner palettes. However, at least the kids loved it and were willing to drink it! Great first steps on getting more liquids in their little bodies! Congrats and thanks for your continued support! Lisa
What if I don’t have a double boiler? Do I just put it on high for awhile?
Hmm, without a double-boiler, it’s boiling it longer, and on a low, steady heat with the cover on to prevent as much evaporation of the water as possible. That’s the basis of double-boiling – minimal movement of ingredients, only the soup circulating slowly and no loss of water (so it stays concentrated throughout). Try that… hope it helps! Lisa
Would it be the same to put the ingredients cold in a slow cooker and let it go for 8 hours on low? There is less movement (not a rolling boil), but the temperature never gets as high as a boil. I read before that beans should be soaked overnight and not cooked in slow cookers because they need higher temperatures to reduce anti-nutrient levels in their coating. Do you know about this?
Dear Lady Tong,
My body is very heaty and get dry throat or even feel like coming on wait a flu. I’m also a little anaemic. So you think this soup will help balance my body heat so that I can start drinking red dates soup to replenish?
Dear Sandy, this soup is slightly heaty I’d say because of the dried longans (or dragon eyes) and red dates, but not overly so. If you feel heaty, you’ll need to balance it out with something a little more cooling first. For starters, the red dates need to have their seeds removed (which is super heaty and actually causes a lot of fire within the body). So maybe try a wintermelon or watercress soup to cool down the body first or moistening soups if you feel dry like this one: http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/luo-han-guo-in-watercress-soup/ – luo han guo’s are also super amazing for lungs and throats, but take it in small portions (like a quarter at a time for soups).
If you want replenishing soups, you don’t always need to have red dates – red dates are slightly heaty. You can drink a dried snow pear tea like this: http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/winter-moisturizing-tea/ which isn’t heaty or this lung moisturizing one: http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/lung-moisturizing-tea/
Hope this helps! Lisa
Hi, for this can i just dump all the ingredients into the ceramic pot, submerge it into a pot of water and let it boil?
Meaning i dont need to boil it twice.
Dear Jenson, yup you can. It’s just not as “dense” in terms of flavours because the double-boiler keeps it pretty sedated within the pot and doesn’t break up all the ingredients like a normal boil would. You can consider boiling it first for 30 minutes, then putting it in a thermal pot (no cooking required) and let it sit for a few hours. But yes, you don’t need to double-boil this and can still enjoy it. It’s quite nice for children actually. A bit on the sweet side, but more meats will balance it out. Lisa