(Confinement) Black Bean, Rice and Ginger Water

Soup Name: (Confinement) Black Bean, Rice and Ginger Water – sometimes called Teas

Traditional Chinese Name: 黑豆姜水 (Hēi dòu jiāng shuǐ)


This is a traditional confinement drink that is said to help reduce “wind” in the body and “warm” it up to help with the healing process after giving birth.  These are common ingredients found in various confinement soups, teas and recipes (especially ginger).  Some people make a large batch of the black bean and ginger mixture and steep it like teas for drinking everyday throughout their confinement.  For more information on what confinement is and the Chinese ingredients associated with confinement, please see our Confinement Soups page.


1 teaspoon of oil
2 tablespoons of ginger juice, pulp optional
1 cup of black beans, rinsed
1 cup of white rice, rinsed
1/2 cup of water, to cook rice

1 cup of boiling hot water

How do I prepare it

  1. In a frying pan, heat up oil on medium heat.
  2. When oil is hot, add black beans, white rice and ginger juice and cook for 2 minutes, constantly stirring
  3. Add 1/2 cup of water and continue to stir and mixture until all the water evaporates.  Be sure to adjust the heat accordingly to prevent burning.
  4. Once mixture is dry and golden brown (see picture below) and cooked, set aside and cool.
  5. In a cup, scoop 1 tablespoon of mixture and add hot water to it.  Steep for 10 minutes and drink hot.

Any benefits?

  • Effective drink in removing “wind” from the body
  • Helps warm the body
  • Assists in helping those in confinement get lots of fluid into the body and to help flush the system
  • Also helps to improve water levels in the body (especially for those mothers who are breastfeeding)

Any precautions?

  • The “heatiness” of this drink may be too much for some people (especially those with naturally “colder” bodies), so start slow with the ginger if you’re uncertain
  • The more ginger you add, the spicier this drink gets.  It is far subtler if you use just the ginger juice.

White Rice

Ingredient Name: rice

Traditional Chinese Name: 米 (Mǐ)

One of the most staple foods in the world can definitely be used in soups.  You’d be surprised how many different ways you can use rice in soups and stews and the very popular Chinese congee.  This is a definite ingredient to have at home at all times.  It’s my comfort food!

What is this?
  • Seed of the rice plant that is most important consumable grain source in the world
  • Most commonly consumed in Asia, Middle East, Latin America and India
  • Comes usually in a form of brown rice (with the husk) or white rice and can be ground into rice flour for usage in cakes, noodles, drinks or other uses
  • There are over thousands of rice varieties in the world

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse well in warm water before usage
  • Some rice may require soaking ahead of time

Where can I buy this?

  • Most supermarkets will carry rice

What is the cost?

  • Rice type, production, and breed will vary the price of rice greatly

Any benefits?

  • A good (but not complete) source of protein
  • Excellent source of energy and carbohydrates
  • Easy to cook and there are  a variety of ways to cook and prepare rice
  • A readily available ingredient

Any precautions?

  • The protein of rice isn’t sufficient as a diet and should be combined with nuts, meats and other protein supplements to ensure a balanced diet

Additional Information

  • White rice can keep longer than brown rice
  • White rice can kept in a dry, sealed container for up to 6 months


  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice

Wolfberry Leaf with Egg Drop in Chicken Broth

Soup Name: Wolfberry Leaf with Egg Drop in Chicken Broth

Traditional Chinese Name: 枸杞雞湯 (gǒu gǒu jī tāng)


A delicious soup that is rich in the unique flavors of the wolfberry leaves.  The very neat thing about this soup is that the base is an old fire soup, while when adding the final ingredients, it’s a quick boil soup.  This is a classic from my mother and she even grew her own wolfberry plants just for the sole purpose of making this soup!


1 fresh whole chicken, prepared
1 pound of fresh pork shank
4 fresh sea snails, prepared
5-6 dried scallops (conpoys)
10 dried longans
3 stems of wolfberry leaves, washed and picked off stems
3 eggs, scrambled
2-3 L of water

How do I prepare it

  1. Prepare snail by thoroughly cleaning and rubbing it in warm water
  2. In a pot of hot water, blanch chicken, pork shank and snail
  3. Begin to boil your soup water and add conpoys and longans
  4. When water boils, add both blanched chicken and pork shank (this is the base of your soup)
  5. Boil on high for 30 minutes and then reduce to a simmer for another 1 hour
  6. Wash wolfberry leaves and set aside
  7. When ready to serve, add wolfberry leaves and boil for 5 minutes on high heat (or until leaves are soft)
  8. Slowly pour in scrambled eggs while continuously mixing the soup, boil for another 5 minutes
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Has an effect to remove heatiness
  • It aids in reducing thirst and has a calming effect on the body (thereby eliminating anxiety)
  • Extremely high carotene content
  • Excellent source of Vitamin E

Any precautions?

  • Some species of wolfberries and leaves are known to contain a toxic ingredient called Atropine (naturally occurring)
  • Not many concrete studies are available on the benefits of wolfberries and their leaves
  • Said to be slightly cooling, so precaution to be taken with women who are pregnant in their first trimester (as cooling ingredients cause contractions)
  • Snails need thorough cleaning (see preparation for more details)

Wolfberry Leaves

Ingredient Name: Wolfberry leaves (also known as goji berry leaves, barbary matrimony vine leaves, bocksdorn leaves, Duke of Argyll’s tea tree leaves, red medlar leaves or matrimony vine leaves)

Traditional Chinese Name: 枸杞 (gǒu gǒu)

Yes, this picture is of the wolfberry plant!  It was grown in my mother’s backyard vegetable garden and for the sole purpose of soup production.  I used to drink this soup all the time as a child and it still brings back fond memories of my great soup past.  However, I never (and still don’t) enjoy eating the leaves, but they do make for a healthy and rich soup.  The taste is very distinct and it’s either you love it or hate it.  The Chinese say that the taste is very “golden”.

What is this?
  • Young shoots grow to be about 2-3 m in height with heart shaped light to dark green leaves
  • They grow in bundles with a very strong and firm bark or stem
  • A relatively easy plant to grow and are suitable for growth in most regions (they often grow wildly in fields)
  • They are slightly cold in nature and the leaves are slightly bitter to taste
  • Leaves are often used in Chinese herbal teas and soups (or as a leaf vegetable in dishes)

How do I prepare it?

  • Remove from stem and rinse in warm water

Where can I buy this?

  • Most Asian supermarkets will carry this produce fresh

What is the cost?

  • Wolfberry leaves are very affordable with a few dollars (CAD)  per large bunch

Any benefits?

  • Has an effective to remove heatiness
  • It aids in reducing thirst and has a calming effect on the body (thereby eliminating anxiety)
  • Extremely high carotene content
  • Excellent source of Vitamin E

Any precautions?

  • Some species of wolfberries and leaves are known to contain a toxic ingredient called Atropine (naturally occurring)
  • Not many concrete studies are available on the benefits of wolfberries and their leaves
  • Said to be slightly cooling, so precaution to be taken with women who are pregnant in their first trimester (as cooling ingredients cause contractions)

Additional Information

  • Fresh wolfberry leaves can keep for up to 3 days in the fridge


  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfberry#Leaves_and_flower

Moroccan Sweet Potato, Carrot and Chickpea Soup

To my readers:  Project Food Blog is a competition hosted by foodbuzz to find the ultimate food blogger.  I am an active participant – here’s my profile and this is my second challenge.  I know that this is not a Chinese soup – but the challenge called for something out of my comfort zone so I have decided to venture away from anything Asian and yes, all the way to Africa.  Please vote for me on Sept 27, 2010 when voting opens!

Something that is outside of my ethnic comfort zone would definitely have to be a place where I am DYING to go and have NEVER been.  How does MOROCCO sound?  It’s in the Kingdom of Morocco, located in North Africa.  To me, this is foreign, exotic, sexy and new.

Because I am the Chinese soup lady and while being true to my passion for soups, I decided to try and make a Moroccan Sweet Potato, Carrot and Chickpea Soup.

The challenge of this challenge:  I’m in Hong Kong and while it’s supposedly an international city – finding non-Asian ingredients aren’t always easy.  Lucky for me (after 2 rounds of local supermarkets), I went to an international supermarket and paid an extravagant amount of money (as compared to my normal soup fare) for organic and imported goods.  The interesting thing about this soup is that you almost start it like cooking a meal, but the end result is a delicious and fragrant soup.  The Chinese don’t use such fragrant spices (in fact, a majority of the Chinese herbs are quite smelly), so my house immediately became an exotic place as soon as I added the spices with my husband coming home to say that the hallway of our apartment smelled “different”.  Ah-haha… right.  If he only knew how different dinner would be tonight! Ah-hahahaha…

The end result?  I loved it and my husband compared it to a borscht, but he still downed 1 giant bowl.  I then brought over a container full for my family the day after and my mom had 2 bowls, my pregnant sister had 1 bowl and even my sister in confinement (a Chinese postpartum methodology) had to sample some.  You see, I could totally be an everything soup lady!  The only damper to this experience was that my kids didn’t seem to appreciate it like the adults did (after experimenting the soup on 4 kids).  I suspect that I will need to help broaden their horizons in the culinary arena by introducing more new and exciting flavors to their relatively limited Asian cuisines.

Here’s the recipe I found.

The magic ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 600g of sweet potato, peeled & diced
  • 500g of carrots, peeled & sliced
  • 6 cups of chicken stock (homemade or store bought)
  • 300g of canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 small lemon, juiced
  • Bread croutons (optional)

Road to soup greatness:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot with medium heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic, stirring, cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in coriander, cumin and chili powder.  Cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  4. Add in sweet potato and carrots.  Cook, stirring for 5 minutes.
  5. Add chicken stock and cover.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
  7. Add chickpeas, stir and cover.  Simmer for another 10-15 minutes or until chickpeas have softened.
  8. Blend in batches and return to pot, simmer for 5 minutes, stirring.
  9. Ladle to soups, top with croutons and serve!

See, it looks like a meal….but I love the colors, smell and these are some of my fav ingredients.

Like I said in my previous challenge, my palette prefers a little more H2O.

Getting up close and personal to the soup.

The great thing about making this soup is that it is a complete 180 degree of what I normally make and eat.  To put this into perspective, it’s probably near impossible to find a Moroccan restaurant in Hong Kong – so instead of going there now, why not bring Morocco to Hong Kong?  And no honey (this part dedicated to my husband), it doesn’t mean that I no longer want to go there, it makes me want to go there MORE!