My herbalist suggested I drink a simple tea made of red dates during my period. It’s super easy to make, as the dates are already sitting in the fridge and you just add hot water. Some people will boil it with a few other ingredients, such as wolfberries and fresh ginger slices. This is also an ideal confinement drink if you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth – replace this in place of coffee or tea to avoid the caffeine, but get the benefits of the blood replenishment.
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):
A mildly sweet soup containing mainly Chinese herbs and dried additives, it’s an easy make and great for cold days or someone who needs to replenish their heat and warmth. It comes highly recommended as a basis for confinement and you can double-boil it with Chicken as well for added warming and healing properties.
It’s not an overly powerful soup and is appropriate for the whole family (use a more dilute concentration if children are drinking it).
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 15 mins
Serves: 2 bowls (confinement size)
500 g of pork shank (or pork marrows and bones for confinement)
It's not a perfect science (still working to perfect it), but I'd say the methodology and thinking is sound 🙂
Would love to hear your thoughts!
To answer your questions on what equipment I'm using, I've built a section here where you can find and explore what I'm using to make soups. Ingredients are a little harder, but I will do my best as I source them around. However, you can always message me on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or Facebook, and I will reply and try to point you in some direction!
Soup Name: Chinese Yam with Apples and Corn in Chicken Broth (with Ginger)
Traditional Chinese Name: 蘋果玉米淮山雞湯 (píng guǒ yù mǐ huái shān jī tāng)
A simple, clean chicken broth with just a hint of sweetness and a tang of spice (from the ginger). Depending on who your consumer is, add less or more ginger. For confinement, don’t be scared to throw it all in! This soup is easy to make, it’s got basic neutral ingredients and is great for the whole family!
What Ingredients are required?
1 fresh whole chicken, quartered 4-5 whole apples, cored and quartered 2 fresh corn, quartered 2 fresh pieces of Chinese Yam about 1 foot in length, peeling is optional, quartered 150 g of sliced fresh ginger (for confinement purposes) 2 L of water salt to taste How do I prepare it?
Clean, prepare and blanch chicken in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes
Set aside to cool
Wash, prepare apples, corn and Chinese Yam
Slice ginger thinly
Boil your soup water, when it boils, add all the ingredients together
Boil on high for about 30 minutes and reduce to a simmer for 1 hour
Serve and enjoy!
With ginger, it’s a slightly warm soup, but without it, it’s neutral
Pregnancy, confinement and child friendly
Sweet and fresh to the taste
Excellent source of Vitamins and hearty to eat
For children, go easy on the ginger because that can really spice up the soup!
Be sure to clean, peel Chinese Yam with gloves as the outer skin of the Chinese Yam can make your fingers itchy (if you opt to peel the skin)
A popular and very common soup for confinement, but not limited to this special group of ladies. For confinement, you must use GREEN papaya (ie: raw, raw, raw – smoking green). The dried octopus helps in milk production as well as adding some flavor to the soup. Use small fish where possible (to limit the exposure to mercury) and setting the soup overnight in a thermal pot really helps bring out the flavors. You can make a big pot and drink for about 2-3 days (while reheating it). This soup generates a very rich, milky broth that is super nutritious, delicious and suitable for the whole family. Another key ingredient for confinement is the ginger – don’t discount the power of ginger!
Green papaya is an amazing antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties that strengthens the spleen, counteracts dampness, and supports circulation. Green papaya is also amazing in removing toxins and kills free radical particles from the body (hence the anti-oxidant and anti-aging). While it’s amazing in soups, it’s not quite so sweet as their red family members and sometimes carries a tart and sweet taste together. You’ll find this ingredient in salads a lot as well! But I do love eating it as part of the soup and meal!
In a shallow pan on medium heat, add oil and ginger and when the oil is hot, add fish
Fry the fish with the ginger on both sides until golden brown
Remove from stove to let cool
Boil your soup water
Wash and peel papaya skin, cut into large edible portions
When the water boils, add in fish (inside a soup baggie to prevent the bones from disintegrating into the soup), fried ginger, octopus and papaya
Boil on medium heat for 1.5 hours
Put into a thermal pot to keep warm or for re-boil later
Tips for this soup:
Be sure to use smaller fish (to reduce the amount of mercury in the soup). Larger fish tend to have more mercury.
Be sure to use a soup bag if you’re using fish in your soups. I’ll usually pan-fry and then drop that into a fine mesh soup bag so that one, clean up is super easy, and two, the bones don’t disintegrate all over the soup. Some people do love eating the fish as part of the meal, so you can always extract that directly from the soup.
Optional to keep the papaya skin on as well so that the papaya itself doesn’t soften and disintegrate too much
This page is about Chinese Confinement in the early days. True “body-recovering” doesn’t actually happen until past days 10-12. That’s when you take out the heavy artillery. For now, the first 10-12 days (some say 8-10) should be light, mild and “taking it easy”. This doesn’t mean you can eat “cooling foods” or take showers and let your hair to air dry, it means your diet is light. From various sources at the wet mart and Chinese herbalists, the advice is to drink these light teas and lay off the power herbs.
I will continue to add as I learn more here, but here’s a start.