Traditional Chinese Herbal Soup (as a Hot Pot Base)
Traditional Chinese Herbal Soup
Traditional Chinese Name:
藥膳雞煲 (yàoshàn jī bāo)
This soup is warming in nature and sweet to taste.
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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.
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 2 hours 40 mins
Total time: 3 hours 10 mins
Serves: 6 bowls
- 3 fresh chicken thighs, cut into bite-size
- 7 pieces of dried dong quai (or angelica root)
- 7 pieces of yu zhu (or solomon’s seal)
- 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 15 dried red goji berries or wolfberries
- 7 dried red dates
- 1/2 cup of dried scallops
- 3 pieces of dried Chinese yam
- 3 L of water
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!
- Add your dried herbal base directly into a pot and add in 3L of cold water
- Cover and boil on high heat for 30 minutes.
- Cut your chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces
- 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!)
- Add salt and garlic to flavour as needed
- 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
- Cover and boil on medium for 2 hours (checking that it doesn’t boil over)
- At this point your soup is done! You can drink as is or prepare to add your hot pot ingredients
- Prepare your hot pot ingredients an add to your soup
- Boil on high for 10 minutes
- Serve and enjoy!
- 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!
- 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