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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Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

Soup Name:

Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

清豬骨海螺湯 (Qīng zhū gǔ hǎiluó tāng)

This soup is neutral and sweet to taste.

 

 

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

 

This soup is ideal for colds, flus and cough. If you’ve got a sore or scratchy throat, achy body, tiredness and/or headache – this soup is for you!  From an Eastern perspective, the Chinese don’t recommend drinking chicken soup when you’re sick, which to me, sounds off, but you can’t argue thousands years of tradition through Chinese medicine.  My herbalist recommended this relatively “neutral” soup for me and is considered 滋陰 (zī yīn), which means treating yin deficiency by reinforcing body fluid and nourishing the blood.  If you look at the herb base, it’s pretty basic and ideal for most soups – the kicker is to add sea whelk (or conch or sea snail). You don’t need to add fresh sea snail (they can get pretty expensive if you buy them live from the wet mart), but definitely add pork. This soup ended up tasting delicious and sets a great base for adding vegetables of your choice – like corn, onions, or chayotes – all neutral vegetables.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 2 hours

Total time: 2 hours 15 mins

Serves: 8 bowls

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. In a separate pot, blanch both the sea snails and pork in a pot of boiling hot water for at least 5 minute (to remove impurities, fat and scum), remove and set aside
    2. Soak all the herbs in warm water for at least 10 minutes and rinse in warm water
    3. Boil your soup water
    4. When you soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
    5. Boil on high for 30 minute and then reduce boil to a medium boil for another 1.5 hours
    6. Serve and enjoy!

One of the more affordable seafood you can use for soups is dried sea snail. They come in thin, hard slices and add a sweet, sea-salt taste to the soup (similar to dried conpoys). Plus, these things are storage friendly and can be stored in your freezer or fridge for up to 6 months.

 

A typical neutral soup base for Chinese soups. The dried sea snails are interchangeable with dried conpoys, which is a great substitute if you can’t find sea snails.  The dried versions produce similar tastes to the soup as they are both seafood and go through similar drying processes.

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Herbal Pork Soup

Herbal Pork Soup

Herbal Pork Soup

Soup Name

Herbal Pork Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:  

清豬骨湯 (qīng zhū gǔ tāng) 

Although the name stipulates a clear pork bone broth, it is in fact, a herbal pork based soup.  It is clear and brothy and can serve as a good base for addition of vegetables to richen the soup and make it more hearty.  The greatest thing about this soup is that all the ingredients are readily available in your fridge/freezer if you stock up on it.  The ingredients don’t need to be fresh, so you can whip up this soup during rainy, typhoon stricten days where getting out of the house is impossible.  This neutral soup is sweet to taste and is very moisturizing to the body.

You’ll find many variations of the Pork Herbal Chinese Soup available as it’s a very common soup base.  You can scroll below to find some suggestions.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 2 hours and 30 mins

Total time: 2 hours 40 mins

Serves: 4 bowls

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Pre-marinate the pork overnight with the salt (although this step is not necessary)
  2. Soak all the other ingredients in water for 10-15 minutes in cool water
  3. Begin boiling your soup water
  4. Blanch the pork in a separate pot of boiling water
  5. Add all the ingredients to boiling water
  6. Boil on high heat for 30 minutes
  7. Reduce to a simmer for at least 2 hours
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

      • This neutral soup is ideal for all drinkers
      • Helps add moisture back to the body
      • Great for dryer months of the year

Any precautions?

      • Be sure to blanch your meats to remove debris, insoluble proteins, blood, and bone bits

      • Buy herbal ingredients from reputable sources

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