Chinese Confinement: The Final Days (Day 13-30)

This is the final leg of the journey for Chinese Confinement #7.

If you’ve just started reading, you can find Chinese Confinement: The Early Days as pre-reading leading up into this post.

This page is about Chinese Confinement in the final days. From here on forward, it’s all about ensuring the body is pumped full of herbs, heat and healing ingredients that help the mother “seal” her body and make her “wholesome and strong” again. The soups and meals here are packed with serious herbal, healing and heaty additives and not to consumed by the faint of heart. It is completely and entirely customized for the confinement mommy (unless the recipes indicate that other people can drink it too), but it really is more heaty and healing than your average soup. Some recipes even require double-boiling to preserve the concentration of healing qualities.

According to my local herbalist, she says one can’t become over-heated during confinement, so just throw all the ammunition you have. This is really the final stretch and how you heal the body here, is said to dictate the health of your body until your next child, or for the rest of your life. Rather scary huh? That’s why the Chinese take confinement so seriously!

I will continue to add as I learn more here, but here’s a start.

 

Chinese Confinement drinks, teas & soups (for the final days):

Deer Antler Confinement Soup

Ginger & Green Onion Sauce (for confinement)

 

This is the ultimate confinement accompaniment to provide that much needed heaty boost while you’re recovering. This common staple “condiment” is used in a variety of dishes, but is most commonly paired with simple, steamed chicken. You can however, pair this with steamed fish, plain rice, noodles or just about anything. Make it in a big batch and keep in the fridge for up to one week of usage for convenience. It’s warming, tasty and ideal for the entire duration of confinement.

Dish Name: Ginger & Green Onion Sauce, Ginger Scallion Sauce

Traditional Chinese Name: 薑蔥蓉 (jiāng cōng róng) or 薑蓉 (jiāng róng)

What are the ingredients?

Good for 2 cups in serving:

  • 8 ounces (or about 2 bunches) of finely chopped scallions
  • 2 ounces of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thinly into half-inch slices
  • 1 cup of oil (peanut or corn oil is best in this case as it doesn’t leave a metallic taste)
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced (optional)
  • salt to taste

 

How do I prepare it? (The traditional and dangerous way)

  1. Put the scallions, ginger and salt into a deep, big ceramic bowl (no plastic as the oil will melt it!)
  2. In a low pan, heat up the oil and garlic together until the oil is steaming and the garlic is slightly browned
  3. Ensure there is no one around you or the bowl when you do the next step
  4. Pour the hot oil and garlic into the bowl (with the scallions and ginger) – take caution as it will bubble and fizz
  5. Mix quickly and evenly with a spoon
  6. Serve and enjoy!

How do I prepare it? (The safer way)

  1. In a pot, heat up one teaspoon of oil, garlic, ginger and scallions
  2. When the ginger and scallions become limp (not completely cooked), remove from heat and set aside
  3. When cooled, add salt and mix
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • This portion can go far when stored in the fridge
  • It is diverse and can be used as a condiment for all foods
  • It is heaty, warming and ideal for confining mothers (and even hubbies and family members)
  • Consumable right from day 1 of confinement until day 30
  • It’s a great base for adding other ingredients (such as soy sauce, spicy sauce, oyster sauce) to suit any palette

Any precautions?

  • The traditional way of making this can be dangerous (so keep small children away!)
  • If you’re breastfeeding and concerned about allergies or potential allergies for your baby, avoid peanut oil and use corn oil instead
  • Avoid olive oil

Shimeji Japanese Mushrooms

Ingredient Name:  Shimeji Mushrooms

Traditional Chinese Name: 日本蘑菇 (rìběn mógu)

What is this?

  • This is a mushroom native to East Asia and is a group of mushrooms which are widely cultivated
  • There are a variety of mushrooms that belong to this family (Mycorrhiza, Saprotroph, Hatake-Shimeji)
  • As a raw mushroom, the taste is slightly bitter
  • The texture is firm and slightly crunchy with a slightly nutty flavor when cooked (which ultimately translates into the soup taste)
  • Commonly used in stir-fried foods, soups, stews and sauces

How do I prepare it?

  • Cut off the bottom roots (which hold the mushrooms in a bunch)
  • Wash thoroughly before use

Where can I buy this?

  • You can purchase this fresh from most Asian supermarkets
  • It is also available in Hong Kong wet marts

What is the cost?

  • In Hong Kong, a pack of 150g mushrooms costs $20 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Shimeji mushrooms contains antifungal and antibiotic compounds
  • They are low in calories, contain no fat and readily available (considered a lean protein)
  • Most variety of mushrooms contain good-for-your-bladder selenium
  • They are rich in Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Copper

Any precautions?

  • Shimeji mushrooms should always been cooked as eating it raw is a little bitter, difficult to digest and they are traditionally not meant to be eaten raw

 

Watercress and Chestnuts in Roasted Pork Soup

Watercress and Chestnuts in Roasted Pork Soup

Watercress and Chestnuts in Roasted Pork Soup

Soup Name:

Watercress and Chestnuts in Roasted Pork Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

西洋菜栗子燒豬湯 (xīyáng cài lì zi shāo zhū tāng)

 

Waste not! Want not! I’ve used the remains of a roasted piglet (from a banquet) to make a delicious watercress and chestnut soup. Usually, people don’t eat the head, feet and tail of the roasted piglet, so I took home the head! It creates a very rich, delicious broth and great as a soup base for almost any ingredients.

My vegetable vendor suggested watercress because of the recent change in weather and everyone was getting sore throats and was heaty.

Well, actually that’s because my sister is going through confinement, so all we eat is ginger pork feet and it sets our body on fire! Combined together with the roasted piglet head are chestnuts and dried scallops to bring a tang of sweetness to the already salty soup base. There are plenty of things around the house you can find as leftover for soups!

  • This soup is naturally flavored (slightly salty from the roasted piglet)
  • It is a great cooling soup for sore throats, heaty bodies and cold-sore ridden mouths (or acne)
  • Really,  no additives needed (salt or sugar)
  • Great for kids
  • The watercress can be eaten as cooked veggies, so scoop more with the soup (or some people like to scoop it all out and serve it as a separate dish)

What’s involved?

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 1 hour

Total time: 1 hours 15 mins

Serves: 4 bowls

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Boil a small pot of water (for the chestnuts). When the water boils, add in the chestnuts to boil for 5 minutes
  2. If you can, immediately peel the chestnuts (as its easiest to peel when it’s still hot)
  3. Boil your soup water
  4. When you soup water boils, add in the roasted piglet head, peeled chestnuts, and conpoys
  5. Boil on medium-high heat for 1 hour
  6. Ten minutes before serving your soup, add in the watercress (or depending on how crunchy you like it, you can adjust the timing to cook the watercress)
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Pork

Ingredient Name: Roasted Pork (Head)

Traditional Chinese Name: 燒豬 (shāo zhū)

What is this?
  • Fully cooked and edible piglet roasted Cantonese-style
  • This is the leftovers from a full roasted piglet (as not to waste any part of it)
  • The piglet is roasted and has a crisply, slightly salty outer skin
  • Roasted pig is traditionally served in banquets, for special occasions like baby’s 30 or 100 day celebration, weddings, birthdays
  • It is a common fare (mainly the stomach and meaty portions) in most Cantonese styled restaurants

How do I prepare it?

  • No need to wash or blanch this meat
  • Serve as is
  • Cut into edible portions (for the head, I cut it into quarters)

Where can I buy this?

  • Any Cantonese-styled restaurant will serve roasted pork
  • Most restaurants will serve roasted piglet (on pre-order)

What is the cost?

  • The price will vary depending on season (more expensive during Chinese New Year’s), size, location
  • On average, it’s around $30 HKD per catty

Any benefits?

  • The meat is very tasty and creates a wonderful aroma (even if boiled just by itself!)
  • You don’t need to add additional salt to the soup as the roasted pork itself is already salty
  • The head is a skinny portion of the pork, so fat is minimal
  • The roasted pork head can be kept frozen for up to 3 months to be used for soups

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to cut the bones clean through to avoid splinter and bones floating in the soup
  • Avoid using the stomach or other common parts of roasted pork as those parts are more fatty and the fat will dissolve into the soup