Lotus Root with Dried Octopus in Chicken Soup

Soup Name: Lotus Root with Dried Octopus in Chicken Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 章魚幹蓮藕雞湯 (zhāng yú gàn liánǒu jī tāng)


This is a simple, easy-to-make soup that doesn’t require many ingredients. It’s a heavy sweet (not a light sweet) and appropriate for spring weather.  This soup is quite neutral and ideal for children and adults. The dried octopus & dried mussels do give the soup a little bit of a “fishy” taste if you put too much, but use less if you’re concerned. It’s a similar taste to dried conpoy almost. A naturally delicious soup for the whole family.

What ingredients are required?

1 fresh chicken, quartered
1 whole dried octopus, sliced
10-12 dried baby mussels
2 section of lotus roots, sliced
1 peel of dried tangerine peel
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Prepare chicken (see chicken post) and blanch in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and set aside
  2. Soak dried octopus and baby mussels in water for about 30 minutes
  3. Boil your soup water
  4. Slice octopus in slices or quartered
  5. Peel and cut arrowroot into large cubes
  6. Add all the ingredients into your boiling soup water
  7. Boil on high for thirty minutes and reduce to medium boil for another hour
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Neutral soup that is ideal for the whole family
  • No salt required as the preparation of the octopus and mussels already provide enough sodium
  • Octopus is rich in calcium, phosphorous, and iron
  • Dried Octopus aids in the prevention of anemia, relieves fatigue and restores eyesight and improves liver functions

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to purchase dried Chinese products from a reputable source
  • Sometimes the octopus is really salty, so if you want to reduce the saltiness, soak in warm water for a few hours
  • Dried octopus is high in cholesterol
  • People who are allergic to shellfish may be allergic to octopus

Similar soups:


Mussels (Dried)

Ingredient Name: Baby Mussels (dried)

Traditional Chinese Name: 青口幹 (qīng kǒu gàn)

What is this?

  • A dried and processed type of salt of fresh water shellfish of the clam family with elongated shells
  • The shells are often black, brown, beige in color and are found without the shells when they are used in soups
  • The mussels used in these soups are smaller in size
  • Dried and prepared mussels are more commonly used in Chinese soups than fresh mussels (which are not common at all)
  • Dried mussels are also used in various Chinese dishes along with black moss
  • They are often tougher in texture than their relative clams and to some are an acquired taste

How do I prepare it?

  • Soak in water for 10-15 minutes and rinse before usage

Where can I buy this?

  • You can buy dried mussels at supermarkets, wet marts or Chinese herbalists
  • Canned, processed mussels can also be used for soups – which are available at supermarkets

What is the cost

  • The prices vary depending on size, breed, availability and whether they are imported or organic

Any benefits?

  • Mussels are an excellent source of B12, Selenium, Zinc, Iron and folate
  • They are also an excellent source of protein
  • Compared to meats, they have less fat
  • They are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids (which help reduce heart disease)

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to buy from a reputable source
  • Dried and processed mussels should have a salty, fragrant smell to them so be sure to take a good whiff before purchasing (this is more common to the bulk buys available in Asian markets)

Additional Information

  • Dried mussels can be kept frozen for up to 6 months (and taken out when needed for soups)
  • Dried mussels can also be kept in the fridge for up to 2 months in a sealed container
  • Keep mussels in a dry environment