Ginseng with Honey Tea

Soup Name: Ginseng with Honey Tea

Traditional Chinese Name: 人參茶 (Rénshēn Chá)

Introduction:
An extremely easy and common Chinese tea/drink that is one of the traditional cooling teas.  It relieves heatiness, expels heat from the body and is overall healthy for the body.  Although slightly bitter in after taste, adding some honey or rock sugar can help make this tea delicious.  There are a variety of recipes for ginseng tea with varying Chinese herbs, but this is the most basic.

What Ingredients are required?

1-2 pieces of dried ginseng (pending how bitter you’d like it)
1 tablespoon of honey
2-3 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Cut up long ginseng piece into slices (for releasing more ginseng flavor into the tea)
  2. Add ginseng to water and boil covered for 30 minutes
  3. Strain and add honey
  4. Can be served chilled

Another way to prepare this tea is without boiling.  You can simply steep the ginseng like normal tea leaves in a cup of hot/boiling water.  Stir to distribute flavor and then add honey or rock sugar.

Any benefits?

  • Excellent for removing heatiness from the body
  • Great anti-oxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties
  • Extremely easy to make
  • Can help reduce fatigue, lower cholesterol and prevent infections

Any precautions?

  • Ginseng is a cooling food and should be avoided in women who are in their first trimester or in postpartum (confinement)

Preserved Mustard Greens in Pig Stomach’s Soup

Soup Name: Preserved Mustard Greens in Pig Stomach’s Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 豬肚酸菜湯 (Zhū dù suan cai tāng)

Introduction:
A pretty traditional type of Chinese soup that uses white peppercorn – there are only a few that use this ingredient.  It is not particularly spicy, but it does have an interesting taste that is probably acquired.   My children didn’t like this soup at all, but with more pork bones (or pork shank) and less pepper, it can be a very appetizing soup because of the preserved mustard greens.  Excellent for spring as it helps remove moisture from the body during the wet and stuffy rainy season.

What Ingredients are required?

1 pound of fresh pork bones (optional)
1 pack of preserved mustard greens
200 g of pig’s stomach
15 g of white peppercorn (half it for kids)
3-4 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Blanch pork in boiling water
  2. Boil soup water
  3. Rinse and cut up preserved mustard greens into large pieces (if you want it less salty or sour, soak in water longer)
  4. When water boils, add all ingredients together
  5. Boil on high heat for half an hour and then reduce to simmer for another hour
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Excellent for removing moisture from the body
  • Extremely appetizing soup
  • Very neutral soup ideal for all soup drinkers

Any precautions?

  • Use caution with pepper (always add less and add more later)
  • Buy preserved mustard greens from a reputable source

White Peppercorn

Ingredient Name: White pepper, white peppercorn

Traditional Chinese Name:甘草 (gān cǎo)

What is this?

  • The seeds of the pepper plant that are spicy to taste and very small in size (around 1 cm in diameter on average)
  • They differ from the black peppercorn in how they are processed
  • Often used in light colored foods, though the Chinese use this very often in many dishes, soups, stews
  • It is considered to be a warming ingredient

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse quickly in warm water

Where can I buy this?

  • Peppercorn is available commonly in all supermarkets, although the white peppercorn may be more of a challenge to find

What is the cost

  • Extremely affordable

Any benefits?

  • It is said to be anti-toxic and helps with digestion
  • Helps with circulation
  • Stimulates the appetite
  • Contains a good amount of antioxidants (helps with anti-aging)

Any precautions?

  • Consume with moderation
  • Its oils are a potential skin irritant when used in high concentrations

References:

Pig’s Stomach

Ingredient Name: Pig stomach, hog maw, pig maw

Traditional Chinese Name:豬肚 (Zhū dù)

What is this?

  • Literally the stomach of a pig
  • It is usually the inner lining/muscle of the stomach and if properly cleaned, contains no fat
  • It can be found in Chinese, Mexican, Italian and various other cuisines
  • It has a chewy property when cooked and usually absorbs the flavor of ingredients surrounding it
  • A pretty common soup meat in Chinese soups

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse in warm water prior to use
  • In soups, it is recommended to blanch the stomach before adding to soup

Where can I buy this?

  • This is available in all wet marts in Hong Kong (although thorough cleaning is recommended)
  • You can sometimes buy this as prepackaged and pre-cut from Asian supermarkets

What is the cost

  • 200 g (as picture above) cost around $20 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Relatively lean portion of the pork (when properly cleaned) that contains minimal fat
  • Pork contains many nutrients (including 6 essential vitamins)
  • It is a good source of iron, zinc, Vitamin B6 and protein
  • It is said to be a healthier red meat substitute over beef

Any precautions?

  • Thoroughly cleaning recommended prior to use (blanching for soups)

References:

Cooling Flower Tea (Chrysanthemums)

Soup Name: Cooling Flower Tea (Chrysanthemums)

Traditional Chinese Name: 金銀菊花降暑茶 (Jīnyín júhuā jiàng shǔ chá)

Introduction:
An extremely cooling drink that is ideal in the hot summer, for cooling the body, clearing heatiness and detoxifying the body.  It is usually served cold (with ice or cooled in the fridge) and with rock sugar (or syrup sugar).  This is a very common Chinese drink and can be purchased either pre-bottled or on the street.  You can also find these ingredients prepackaged for homemade usage.

What Ingredients are required?

6-7 pieces of dried Chinese licorice
50g of dried Japanese Honeysuckle
50g of dried chrysanthemum flower
rock sugar (to taste)
2-3 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Boil water
  2. Rinse ingredients in warm water briefly (except rock sugar)
  3. When water boils, add all ingredients together
  4. Boil for an hour on medium heat
  5. Strain ingredients from liquid
  6. Add rock sugar and let dissolve
  7. Cool in fridge or with ice (optional)
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Excellent soup for relieving heatiness
  • Helps relieve symptoms of sunstroke and heatstroke
  • Excellent detoxifying drink for the body

Any precautions?

  • People with sensitive stomachs (otherwise known as cold stomachs) should avoid overly cooling herbs
  • Pregnant woman in their first trimester take caution as cooling ingredients can cause contractions
  • After consumption, you may notice frequent urination (this is normal) as your body is also detoxifying