Bird’s Nest Soup

by | Jan 7, 2010 | Confinement Foods, Dessert Soups | 6 comments

Soup Name:

Bird’s Nest Sweet Soup

 

Traditional Chinese Name:

燕窝 (yàn wō)

This soup is neutral in nature and sweet to taste.

Visit us on YouTube for more tea and soup videos.

A traditional sweet soup that is made from dried bird’s nest – mainly those nests collected from the species of swifts. It is a known delicacy in Chinese cuisine and can be used in various sweet desserts, drinks, and health supplements. There are variations of this soup where you can add American ginseng or wolfberries.

So let me explain what exactly “bird’s nest” is.  I had to do some research and then ask around the vendors and wet marts and my own herbalist and it’s actually the saliva of the bird when they create their nest.  So we aren’t eating the actual nest itself (which would likely be made from twigs and branches and leaves), but when they construct the nest, it’s their saliva that they use to hold the raw materials in place so it forms and hardens into a nest so it doesn’t fall apart when they lay their eggs.  There is usually one type of bird, the swiftlet, that the nests are harvested from.  And I strongly advise to buy dried bird’s nest from reputable and friendly sources, which usually means after the mating and birthing seasons when the chicklets are grown and the family has vacated the best, or farmed.

The reason why the Chinese love bird’s nest (I call it bird saliva) is because of its delicate, high protein, and collagen properties.  Said prized ingredients can help tighten, lift, and brighten your skin and skin tone.  These products actually come in a variety of colours from white to yellow and there exists the rarer red version (which is actually bloodied saliva, but highly prized and priced more more significant than their plain counterparts).

 

I don’t often make this dessert soup, but have tried it a few times just to experience the “making of”.  It’s not difficult and falls into a category similar to dried snow fungus or black fungus in that you have to pre-soak to allow it to soften and don’t forget to wash and remove any features and impurities! 

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 3 hours (pre soak bird’s nest)

Cook time: 2 hours

Total time: 5 hours (including soak)

Serves: 2 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 piece of bird’s nest
  • 1 piece of medium-sized rock sugar (customized to your taste)
  • 1 handful of wolfberries (optional)
  • 3 cups of water

Cooking Instructions

  1. Wash and clean the dried bird’s nest (remove as much feather, debris as you can first)
  2. Soak in cold water for at least 3 hours (or until relatively soft)
  3. Once it’s soft, use your hands to run through it, ensuring that it can come apart and clean it again under running water.  You’ll sometimes find feathers, rocks, twigs, and bits and bobs of stuff that wasn’t removed during the cleansing process!
  4. In a double-boiler, put in water and bird’s nest and rock sugar
  5. Boil water (at simmering) for 2 hours
  6. Serve & enjoy!

EXPLORE MORE

How to make a vegetable tomato based soup (with macaroni)

Soup Name: Vegetable Tomato Soup Traditional Chinese Name: 集菜番茄湯 (jí cài fānqié tāng).  This is a very Cantonese label of this soup.  The basic translation of this is just "vegetable tomato soup" and the vegetable translation is often used for simple soup of...

Why foot soaks (foot baths) are good for you?

Don't know where to start? Don't know why you should start? Here are some answers to get you started from: WHY you should do hot foot soaks WHAT equipment you'll need HOW to do a foot soak The BENEFITs of hot foot soaks TIPs and TRICKs of hot foot soaks This post...

How to make a Japanese-inspired Pork Meatball in Miso One Pot Dinner Soup

Soup Name: Delicious One Pot Vegetable Vermicelli Soup for Dinner.  Literal translation from Chinese is "Mixed vegetables vermicelli pot soup".  For this one, I went with pork meatballs and a Miso butter soup base. Traditional Chinese Name: 雜菜粉絲鍋湯 (zá cài fěnsī guō...

Vegetarian Green Radish and Carrots Chinese Soup Packs (optional shrimp for pescatarians)

Soup Name: Vegetarian Green Radish and Carrots Chinese Soup Packs (optional shrimp for pescatarians) Traditional Chinese Name: 紅青蘿蔔湯 (hóng qing luóbo tang) Nature:  Slightly cooling Taste: Sweet You can follow this video first on "How to make Frozen Chinese Soups in...

Making Frozen Chinese Soup in Bulk at Home (Saving Time and Effort)!

One guiding principle in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the yin yang theory.  In the natural world, there exists a balance between 2 opposing and co-existing forces and yet, they also exist in each other.  Our bodies, minds, and souls are designed the same way in...

Why foot soaks (foot baths) are good for you?

Don't know where to start? Don't know why you should start? Here are some answers to get you started from: WHY you should do hot foot soaks WHAT equipment you'll need HOW to do a foot soak The BENEFITs of hot foot soaks TIPs and TRICKs of hot foot soaks This post...

How to make a Japanese-inspired Pork Meatball in Miso One Pot Dinner Soup

Soup Name: Delicious One Pot Vegetable Vermicelli Soup for Dinner.  Literal translation from Chinese is "Mixed vegetables vermicelli pot soup".  For this one, I went with pork meatballs and a Miso butter soup base. Traditional Chinese Name: 雜菜粉絲鍋湯 (zá cài fěnsī guō...

Making Frozen Chinese Soup in Bulk at Home (Saving Time and Effort)!

One guiding principle in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the yin yang theory.  In the natural world, there exists a balance between 2 opposing and co-existing forces and yet, they also exist in each other.  Our bodies, minds, and souls are designed the same way in...

Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht Soup

Soup Name: Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht (with oxtail) Traditional Chinese Name: 羅宋湯 (luó sòng tāng) Nature:  Warming Taste: Savory, sweet, and slightly sour For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.  Did you know the secret ingredient to an HK-styled...

ABC Soup in a Collagen Rich Salmon Head and Chicken Feet Broth

Soup Name: ABC Chinese Soup in a collagen rich Salmon Broth (with Chicken Feet) Traditional Chinese Name: 雜菜蕃茄三文魚湯 (zá cài fānjiā sānwènyú tāng) Nature:  Slightly cooling Taste: Sweet and savory For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.  Taking collagen to...