Chicken Wintermelon Soup for Summer!

Chicken Wintermelon Soup for Summer!

Chicken Wintermelon Soup for Summer!

Soup Name

Chicken Wintermelon Soup for Summer!

Traditional Chinese Name:  

冬瓜雞湯 (dōng guā jī tāng)


For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

Here is a variation on the wintermelon soup using chicken as the protein instead of pork.  It’s slightly cooling, helping to repair your yin energy and release heat from the body. 

I used a new root that I normally don’t put into this soup, which is the Japanese gobo root.  It’s has earthy, dark, and rich tones, so only use 3-4 pieces of it.  Add in your Chinese herbal base of dried red dates, dried longans, dried scallops, and dried goji berries to lighten it up and you’ve got yourself a beautiful summer soup for the whole family!



What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 30 mins on stove + 4 hours in thermal pot

Total time: 5 hours 

Serves: 8-10 bowls


Cooking Instructions

  1. Boil 1 separate pot of water to blanch your protein
  2. You can also begin to boil your pot of soup water in the thermal pot with the 3L of cold water
  3. Prepare your chicken any way you’d like.  I tend to quarter it and reserve the breast for another meal, using only the legs and bones.
  4. In your blanching pot, drop in the chicken bones and meat into the boiling water and blanch for 5-6 minutes, or until the water re-boils.
  5. Slice the wintermelon into large pieces, keeping the skin on.
  6. Using gloves, peel the Chinese (or Japanese) Yam and cut into large 2-inch thick pieces
  7. Cut the gobo root into 2 inch long pieces, keeping the skin on
  8. When your soup water boils, transfer the meat, add in the dried herbal ingredients, and all the roots and wintermelon
  9. Boil on high for 30 minutes
  10. Transfer for a thermal pot for another 4 hours to let it finish cooking
  11. Serve and enjoy!

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.




Chef tips:

  • Keep the skin on the wintermelon to prevent it from disintegrating into the soup
  • Use gloves when handling the Chinese or Japanese Yam root as it is slippery and can make your hands itchy
  • When using a whole chicken, you can save either the breasts or legs for another meal and use only the bones
  • Use a thermal pot to conserve energy and make the technology work for you!  


Rehmannia root or Chinese foxglove root

Ingredient Name: Rehmannia root, Chinese foxglove root, Sheng di huang, Radix Rehmanniae

Chinese Name: 生地 (Shēng dì)

A very interesting and scary looking Chinese medicine.  My herbalist recommended this to me for my “cooling” tea to rid me of my “fiery” condition of sore throat and heaty body.  I had to ask him a few times what it is and then spell it for me in the simplest of Chinese terms, but I managed to come to a good understanding of this ingredient.  This will make any water, soup, tea, drink BLACK – so beware.  It’s not a bad thing, but sometimes black and dark things aren’t the most pleasant things to drink – well, except for black coffee for some people and cola.  But in Chinese medicine, black is usually associated with bitter.

What is this?
  • The root of the Chinese foxglove plant
  • The root is harvested in the spring or autumn, dried in the sun and sliced into usable portions
  • This plant is most commonly found in China and the root is a common Chinese medicine ingredient
  • It is known as a “cooling” ingredient with sweet and bitter properties
  • The root is almost black in color and will certainly make your soup or tea black
  • Found in various forms such as dried (as picture above) or powdered

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse in warm water before usage

Where can I buy this?

  • Most herbalists will carry this ingredient
  • Chinese medicine stores

What is the cost?

  • Relatively affordable
  • As pictured above, 2 pieces I purchase cost me $3 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Helps remove heatiness in the body and cool the blood
  • Relieves sore throats, dry mouths and helps cool the body to eliminate thick, green mucous caused by heatiness
  • Can help reduce a low-grade fever
  • Can help eliminate and reduce cold sores in the mouth and tongue
  • Nourishes the “yin”

Any precautions?

  • As it is cooling, it should be avoided by pregnant women in their first trimester (or even throughout a pregnancy) as it stimulates menstruation (it is also known to be used to prevent or terminate pregnancies)
  • Avoid if you’re lactating (breastfeeding)
  • Avoid using or consuming this ingredient if you have spleen problems, diarrhea or lack of appetite
  • Limit exposure and use for children

White Peony Root

Ingredient Name: White peony root, Chinese peony, Bai shao yao, Paeonia lactiflora

Chinese Name: 白芍 (Bái sháo)

What is this?
  • A commonly known traditional Chinese medicinal ingredient
  • The roots of the white peony flower are collected when matured to about 3-4 years
  • The white peony roots are collected, cut, boiled and dried and cut to various lengths (2-4 inches in length) before usage or distribution
  • It is white/beige in color with a consistent color throughout
  • It is known to address “liver” diseases and conditions
  • The white peony flower is mainly grown in China
  • This ingredient is considered slightly cold with properties such as bitter and sour

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse in warm water prior to use
  • Add directly to soups or drinks when water boils

Where can I buy this?

  • In most wet marts in Hong Kong
  • Available in your Chinese herbalist or Chinese medicine store

What is the cost?

  • Relatively affordable and common Chinese medicinal ingredient
  • As pictured above, 5-6 sticks cost around $5-8 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Ideal in treating pain associated with menstruation and cramps
  • Often treated with hot flashes when mixed with calcium (so ideal for menopause)
  • Nourishes the “yin” of the body

Any precautions?

  • A cooling ingredient may contradict those with a cooler body, so take caution
  • As it is a cooling ingredient, women who are pregnant in their first trimester should avoid or minimize consumption

Lucid Asparagus Root

Ingredient Name: Lucid Asparagus Root, Asparagus Root, Radix Asparagi, Cochinchinese Asparagus Root

Traditional Chinese Name: 天門冬, 天冬 (Tiānmén dōng, Tiān dōng)

What is this?

  • The roots of wild asparagus that are collected in usually in Northern China or Korea
  • The roots are washed and dried, but remain moist and “supple-looking” (as pictured above)
  • When dried, it is a yellowish in colour and chewy
  • The asparagus root grows from 1-3 cm in length and can be found either in a round shape or flat, long shape (as it’s been sliced)
  • Traditional Chinese herb that taste slightly sweet and bitter at the same time

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse in warm water and use in soups

Where can I buy this?

  • Available in Chinese herb stores
  • Not commonly available in supermarkets or wet marts
  • This is a hard to find herb

What is the cost?

  • 10 pieces cost roughly $10 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Considered an important lung tonic
  • It helps moisten and purify the lungs
  • Extremely beneficial to those who are exposed to smoke, smog or pollution
  • Improves respiratory functions

Any precautions?

  • It is considered a cooling ingredient and should be taken with precaution and moderation in early pregnancies

Chinese Yam (dried)

Chinese Yam (dried)

Ingredient Name:

Chinese Yam (dried)

Traditional Chinese Name:

淮山 (huái shān)

Check out our video on “The 7 basic Chinese Soup Pantry Ingredients“, which include the Chinese Yam.


This is the dried version of the Fresh Chinese Yam, which is a white long root with a brown outer skin.  When dried, the Chinese Yam is usually proceed into 1-2 inches in length, flat, and very chalky white.  It is tasteless, produces no colour in the soup, and is one of the common Chinese Soup pantry ingredients.  It’s used in soups, stews, and sometimes even desserts!  There are a few variety of these types of Chinese Yams, including a fresh Japanese variant, which is just as yummy in soups.

How do I prepare it?

      • Soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes.  This is to remove any of the chemicals used during processing and to allow it to soften and expand
      • It’s used as it directly in soups.  There’s no need to cut it any further.

Where can I buy it and cost?

      • You can purchase dried Chinese Yam from most Asian supermarkets prepackaged
      • These are also available either prepackaged or “pick your volume”  in Chinese Herbal Stores
      • You can also purchase this in bulk from specialty stores (online herbal shops) 

What is the cost?

      • A package costs around $3-5 CAD

Any benefits?

      • It is often used in combination with meats and other Chinese herbs to help digestion and regulate sugar levels
      • Traditionally it is used to relieve stomach pains and diarrhea
      • When boiled with chicken and a variety of other Chinese herbs, it is an ideal confinement soup as it helps control inflammation of the uterus
      • It is considered a neutral ingredient
      • Be sure to consult with your doctor first if you have any questions regarding this herb

Any precautions?

      • Excess consumption is known to cause frequent urination and perspiration

        For additional reading:

Looking to build your basic Chinese Soup Pantry?

The dried Chinese Yam is one of them!  Check it out in my video to learn more!



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