How to make a warm healing apple and ginger Chinese herbal tea (post cold run or ride)

How to make a warm healing apple and ginger Chinese herbal tea (post cold run or ride)

How to make a warm healing apple and ginger Chinese herbal tea (post cold run or ride)

Tea Name: Warm healing apple and ginger Chinese herbal tea (post cold exposure)

Traditional Chinese Name: 保暖蘋果茶 (bǎo nuǎn píng gān guǒ chá). The direct translation of this is “keep warm apple ginger tea”. There are many variations of a “keep warm” tea with the additions of warmer Chinese herbal teas. 

Nature:  Warming

Taste: Sweet

(You can read this article on the impact on your body of different food tastes!)

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

It’s June in Toronto. And the morning temp is still 13C! The tricky thing with this type of weather is – what do I wear? However, to be honest, I know something’s going on because my nose is running. This could also be allergies. However, I’m still wearing long gloves when I’m riding – even today at 19C!

The best remedy RIGHT AWAY, is to warm up the inside of the body to combat both the cold and the wind. Tangerine peel is your bestest, bestest Chinese herb for this.

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 2 mins

Cook time: 5 mins

Total time: 7 mins

Serves: 2 cups

Ingredients
  • Half sliced fresh apple slices
  • 3 slices of fresh ginger
  • 5 dried red roses bulbs
  • 2 small slices of dried licorice
  • 2-3 dried red dates
  • 2 small pieces of dried tangerine peel 
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (or to taste)
  • 2.5 cups of boiling water
Cooking Instructions
  1. Slice your apple, keeping the skin on. 
  2. Slice your fresh ginger, keeping the skin on (optional as well if you’d like to peel it)
  3. In a stove safe tea pot, add in your sliced apple, sliced ginger, dried red dates, dried licorice, dried tangerine peel, dried red roses.
  4. Add in 2.5 cups of cold water
  5. Set on your stove top and start on high heat until it boils. Reduce to medium heat and let that simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Set aside and cool.  I’ll pour out at this time into a glass cup.
  7. Sweeten with honey as needed.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

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How to make a Spring bitter melon Chinese herbal soup to eliminate damp-heat

How to make a Spring bitter melon Chinese herbal soup to eliminate damp-heat

How to make a Spring bitter melon Chinese herbal soup to eliminate damp-heat

Soup Name: Spring bitter melon Chinese herbal soup to eliminate damp-heat

Traditional Chinese Name: 苦瓜祛濕豬骨湯 (Kǔ guā qū shī zhū gǔ tāng). This is directly translated as “bitter melon dispel damp pork bones soup”.  As most soup names in Chinese are quite generic, this is another one that indicates the key ingredient and the key function of the soup and the rest is up to you on what to add.  This is the beauty of soup design, which I love!  There is definitely a logic behind it!  LOL.

Nature:  Cooling 

Taste: Bitter and savory (FYI, in TCM, the bitter taste is often associated with cooling by nature).

(You can read this article on the impact on your body of different food tastes!)

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

Here’s my soup logic!

It’s humid outdoors and I’ve been feeling very heaty inside.  My tongue feels scratchy and I’ve got clear stuffy in my sinuses.

So melon soups are the best for spring and melons tend to cool the body, particularly winter melon or bitter melon.  So I’m going with bitter melon.  Melons are best with pork, so I selected pork bone shoulders and added 1 chicken thigh to sweeten the soup to try to mask the bitter melon (so the kids can drink it). LOL.  Complimentary vegetables to bitter melon can include corn, carrots, and beets.  These will all help sweeten the soup.

The herb pairing will be beans and job’s tears (or barley).  Beans and barley are the best with melons and for spring soups as they are diuretic. 

VERDICT:  This soup was amazing!  Using one bitter melon was perfect.  It starts out savory and slightly sweet with a gentle golden bitter finish.  It’s really something else!  What a beautiful soup!  And… the kids didn’t know what was in it.  The corn and red beets really enhance the flavor of this soup and the density of ingredients, including the bones, really makes this soup eat like a meal!  So good!  So good! 

Corn silk!

This is my special ingredient for Spring soups.  Corn silk is the silky, weak fibers of the corn that grow as part of the ears and come out of the top of the corn.

In Chinese medicine, they are used as a diuretic, helping the body dispel dampness and water and regulate sugars in the blood.  Commonly found in Chinese herbal teas and soups, this ingredient is practically free (if you’re buying corn).  Don’t throw away the corn silk!  You can dry them yourself once extracted from the corn.  If I’m using it right away, I will wrap in a paper towel to keep it dry and put into a soup bag for easier disposal at the end of soup cooking. 

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 30 mins on stove (+ time in thermal cooker)

Total time: 1 hour 15 mins

Serves: 8-10 bowls

Ingredients
  • 1.3 kg of fresh pork shoulder bones
  • 1 fresh chicken thigh
  • 1 medium-sized fresh bitter melon
  • 1 medium-sized fresh carrot
  • 2 medium-sized red beets
  • 2 fresh corn
  • preserve the corn silk
  • 3 dried large shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons of fried barley
  • 2 tablespoons of green mung beans
  • 2 tablespoons of yellow mung beans
  • 10 dried baby scallops
  • 2 dried honey dates
  • 3 L of water

You’ll also need:

Prep Instructions

  1. You can follow along in the YouTube video as well.
  2. In a separate blanching pot, add your washed pork bones and chicken thigh in cold water and set that to boil on high heat. As soon as that boils, drain the water, and set aside to cool.
  3. You can begin to boil your soup water at this point (me being efficient)
  4. Wash and half your bitter melon and scrap out the middle pulp and seeds, cut into large pieces.  I will then soak the bitter melon in slightly salted water (to help reduce the bitterness of the melon)
  5. Peel and cut your carrots and beets
  6. Remove the husk from the corn, save the corn silk to add to the soup, and half the corn
  7. Count out your Chinese herbs.
  8. Once your soup pot boils, add in all the ingredients together
  9. Boil on high for 30 minutes on the stove top
  10. Drop into your thermal soup cooker and allow that to cook for another 1-2 hours.  Taste, salt as needed, and serve!

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How to make a Spring Lotus Root and Sweet Corn with Carrots Chinese Herbal Soup (for Dispelling Dampness and Heat)

How to make a Spring Lotus Root and Sweet Corn with Carrots Chinese Herbal Soup (for Dispelling Dampness and Heat)

How to make a Spring Lotus Root and Sweet Corn with Carrots Chinese Herbal Soup (for Dispelling Dampness and Heat)

Soup Name: Spring Lotus Root and Sweet Corn with Carrots Chinese Herbal Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 蓮藕豬骨湯 (lián’ǒu zhū gǔ tāng). The direct translation is “Lotus Root Pork Bones Soup”.  This is also a very generic name for this type of soup and you can add carrots and corn (or whatever complimentary vegetables) work.  It is because the lotus roots are the star of this soup, so I kept the soup name quite generic.

Nature:  Slightly cooling

Taste: Sweet and savory. 

(You can read this article on the impact on your body of different food tastes!)

For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

Join me as I make a Spring Lotus Root with Sweet Corn and Carrots Chinese Herbal Soup as:

  • Soup for dinner tonight (2 portions)
  • Frozen soup packs (4 portions) 

The soup design is based on wanting to make a Spring soup and what’s available as fresh (and on sale) at the Chinese supermarket.  Today was fresh lotus roots.  They were firm and looked amazing, so I bought 3 to make a soup.  Lotus roots tend to be paired with pork, which is a cooler meat over Chicken, so it’s perfect since it was warmer these past few days, but still wet. Lotus roots also pair beautifully with beans – particularly green beans, but I didn’t have any, so I went with black eyed beans.  You can use red or yellow beans as well.  Add in barley as a diuretic and my special find, corn silk.  

Corn silk!

This is my special ingredient for Spring soups.  Corn silk is the silky, weak fibers of the corn that grow as part of the ears and come out of the top of the corn.

In Chinese medicine, they are used as a diuretic, helping the body dispel dampness and water and regulate sugars in the blood.  Commonly found in Chinese herbal teas and soups, this ingredient is practically free (if you’re buying corn).  Don’t throw away the corn silk!  You can dry them yourself once extracted from the corn.  If I’m using it right away, I will wrap in a paper towel to keep it dry and put into a soup bag for easier disposal at the end of soup cooking. 

 

The business case for making frozen soup packs in bulk!

This use case continues to amaze me!  Literally, this morning, I was like “I feel like soup” and I took out another one of these soup packs (this one to be precise because I made extra for me and my pescatarian friend) and tossed it into the rice cooker, topped up with water, added a few red dates and an hour later, had soup ready for lunch and dinner.

To start, I did a survey when I first initially created these for friends and the time saving is phenomenal.

On average, it takes someone 2-3 hours of time to make a Chinese soup (beginning to end with checking). Compared to using frozen premade soup packs using a rice cooker, it takes 5 minutes of work (and then 60 mins of no supervision) with an upfront investment of 2-3 hours to make 6 soup packs.  So on average, you are saving 14 hours of time over 6 soups.  The math isn’t perfect, but this was my best estimate based on answers from friends.  That’s HUGE!

    What’s involved?

    Prep time: 45mins

    Cook time: 30 mins on stove (+ time in thermal cooker)

    Total time: 1 hour 15 mins

    Serves: 4 bowls x 4 soup packs

    Ingredients

    This is for 6 x portions of soup:

    • 1.3 kg of fresh pork back bones (or 2 pieces each portion)
    • 3 fresh corn (+ keep the corn silk)
    • 3 medium sized fresh lotus roots
    • 2 large fresh carrots
    • 4 x 6 dried baby shiitake mushrooms
    • 1 x 6 tablespoons of dried uncooked barley
    • 1 x 6 tablespoons of dried blackeye beans
    • 4 x 6 dried baby scallops
    • 2 x 6 tablespoons of dried salted cashews
    • 2.5 L of water

    You’ll also need:

    Prep Instructions

    1. You can follow along in the YouTube video as well.
    2. In a separate blanching pot, add your washed pork bones in cold water and set that to boil on high heat. As soon as that boils, drain the water, and set aside to cool.
    3. You can begin to boil your soup water at this point (me being efficient)
    4. Peel and chop all your vegetables. I tend to cut my lotus roots and carrots quite thinly so that they boil quick and can fit into my rice cooker or smaller soup pot. I’ve had friends who also have used instapots for this recipe!
    5. Count out your Chinese herbs.
    6. Once your soup pot boils, add in 2 portions for soup for that day. 
    7. I’ll then pack each soup pack starting with the pork bones first, corn on the bottom and then layer the carrots and lotus roots around then finally the Chinese herbs into vacant spaces.
    8. Be sure to leave at least 2-inches from the top of where you’d like to seal.  You can cut the bag as well to ensure it’s fit to size.
    9. Don’t forget to label the soup with the date of production.  I’ll normally do this with a permanent market.
    10. Insert into your soup bag into the vacuum sealer and seal!  TA-DA!
    11. Immediately put them into the freezer.
    12. When making this, simply take out of the freezer, cut open the soup pack, drop into a rice cooker, instapot, or small pot.  Fill waterline to max.  Press cook rice (usually 60 minutes) and wait until it’s finished.  Serve and enjoy.

    Tricks and tips on prepping frozen Chinese soup packs

    • You can follow this YouTube video on “How to make frozen Chinese soup packs”
    • Cut your ingredients smaller so that it will fit into a rice cooker (or small pot or instapot)
    • Fully wash, cut, and blanch all meats so that they can drop directly into the soup
    • Pack the largest ingredients on the bottom of the pack, working your way up to the smallest (I’ll typically put meats on the bottom)
    • Consider what ingredients are best for frozen conditions.  This is usually roots, melons, starchier vegetables (like broccoli, cauliflower).  I don’t use leafy vegetables that often in these types of soups, although now that I think about it, would love to try a watercress and see how that freezes!
    • Prepare these packs for 3-4 bowls worth (also depends on the size of the rice cooker)
    • Write the date of production with a permanent market so that you know when it was produced, especially if you have a selection in the freezer.
    • Always reserve at least 2-inches at the top of soup pack before you seal to allow for more room to make the seal
    • Use a wet + dry vacuum sealer if you intend to use some of the juice or water reserves (such as coconut water, which is delicious and sweet!)

    For videos, visit us on YouTube.

    Here is the equipment you’ll need for preparing frozen soup packs:

     

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    Strengthen spleen and remove dampness with this warming Chinese herbal tea

    Strengthen spleen and remove dampness with this warming Chinese herbal tea

    Strengthen spleen and remove dampness with this warming Chinese herbal tea

    Tea Name: Spleen strengthening damp removing herbal tea

    Traditional Chinese Name: 健脾祛濕茶 (jiàn pí qū shī chá) – direct translation here is “spleen strength remove damp” tea.  This is also quite a generic name in terms of the function of the tea rather than the ingredients and variations of this exist, it just depends on what herbs are being used.

    Nature:  Slightly warming

    Taste: Sweet and slightly bitter

    (You can read this article on the impact on your body of different food tastes!)

    For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

    It’s quite common to consume damp reducing teas and soups in the Spring in Traditional Chinese Medicine and in Asia.  

    What’s involved?

    Prep time: 2 mins

    Cook time: 5 mins

    Total time: 7 mins

    Serves: 1 cup

    Ingredients
      Cooking Instructions
      1. In a cup, add all the ingredients together. 
      2. You can use a disposable tea bag to keep all the ingredients together.  This is because the barley will float and sometimes get in the way! 
      3. Add in boiling water, cover, and steep for 5 minutes
      4. Serve and enjoy!
      Any benefits?
      • This tea is slightly warming and ideal to keep the body warm (which is ideal to support replenishing Qi) with the red dates, astragalus root, and tangerine peel
      • The astragalus root and red dates help replenish Qi in the body
      • This tea is diuretic, meaning it helps dispel water from the body, supported by the barley and the mulberry root (which helps with urination and reduced swelling from water)
      • You can drink this daily
      • It is ideal for the whole family

      For videos, visit us on YouTube.

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      Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht Soup

      Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht Soup

      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 Russian Borscht is Worcestershire sauce (and some lemon juice)?

      Falling off the bone oxtail?

      Soft delicious veggies?

      Savory and a hint of tart delicious broth?

      Yes, the Hong Kong Styled Russian Borscht is a classically adopted fusion soup that is very different and uniquely different to the traditional European borscht (no beetroots or cream).  Instead, it’s a tomato based beef broth and a range of choice vegetables diced small. 

      I love the subtle tart flavours of the soup, but yet incredibly savory and hearty.  This soup indeed eats like a meal!

      What’s involved?

      Prep time: 30 mins

      Cook time: 120 minutes 

      Total time: 150 mins

      Serves: 8 bowls

      Ingredients

      • 1 full oxtail
      • Optional pieces of beef flank
      • 3 potatoes, peeled and largely cubed
      • 2 carrots, peeled and largely cubed
      • 2 celery stalks, peeled and largely cubed2 tomatoes, quartered
      • 1 onion, halved
      • 6 cloves of garlic
      • 1/2 head of cabbage, slicked thin
      • 3 dried dates
      • Fresh green onions

      Flavouring

      • 1 small can of tomato paste
      • 1 lemon
      • 5 dried bay leaves
      • 6 black peppercorns
      • 2 tablespoons of sugar
      • 2 teaspoons of salt
      • 2 tablespoons or Worcestershire sauce
      • 11-12 cups of water
      • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

      Cooking Instructions

      1. In your soup pot, with a bit of oil on med heat, pan fry the garlic cloves and oxtails until golden brown and fragrant (they smell so good!).  I don’t blanch and will do this instead.
      2. Add the cubed beef flanks and potatoes, allowing them to also brown nicely
      3. Add in your soup water, about 11-12 cups of water and turn on high heat
      4. I will then drop in my vegetables, tomatoes, celery, onion, carrots, and the dried dates
      5. Cover and let it come to a full boil, then reduce to med heat for another 1.5 hours
      6. Here you can now add in the flavouring of the soup (this is what really makes it distinct as a the HK-styled Russian Borscht)
      7. I will also throw in the cabbage
      8. Cover and let that simmer for another 30 minutes
      9. Garnish with fresh green onions, serve, and enjoy!

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      Making a Delicious Lotus Root with Vegetables in Pork Broth Chinese Soup (with Roasted Fresh Peanuts!)

      Making a Delicious Lotus Root with Vegetables in Pork Broth Chinese Soup (with Roasted Fresh Peanuts!)

      Making a Delicious Lotus Root with Vegetables in Pork Broth Chinese Soup (with Roasted Fresh Peanuts!)

      Soup Name:

      Making a Delicious Lotus Root with Vegetables in Pork Broth Chinese Soup (with Roasted Fresh Peanuts!)

      Traditional Chinese Name:

      蓮藕豬骨湯 (Lián’ǒu zhū gǔ tāng)

      Nature: Neutral

      Taste: Sweet 

      For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube. 

      For this post, I made 6 x 2 person portions (freezing them in packs and giving some to friends).  I didn’t really make a pot that big.  LOL.

      You’ll see in the image that they fit neatly into 6 packs, which are vacuum sealed (try this vacuum seal starter kit that comes with the machine and the bags) and frozen.  That means the it’s literally a take-out-and-drop soup.  NO WORK needed!  I’ve even prepped and blanched the meat so it comes clean into the soup.  

      I used a frozen pack the other day and it was AMAZING.  Literally 2 minutes of work for me first thing in the morning before my meetings.  I dropped the whole frozen pack into my rice cooker, added water to the max water line, and pressed COOK RICE.  That means, I had a delicious hearty soup ready for lunch, which I had with rice.  It was PERFECT! 

      This is a great, earthy, slightly nutty light soup great for the whole family!

      I know, I went a bit crazy on the portions, but stay with me 🙂  I actually made extra to freeze (and give to friends)!  Each packs are made in 2 person portions and I actually tried one in the rice cooker and it was AMAZING!  I know each device is different, so the rice cooker I’m using is a Zojirushi one, which is fantastic.  I’ve been using this brand from Hong Kong and has to rebuy in Canada.

      This soup is easy to make and with common ingredients.  Lotus roots are very accessible in Canada and Hong Kong and make for an amazing meal as part of the soup with the hearty vegetables and pork ribs.

       

       

      What’s involved?

      Prep time: 30 mins

      Cook time: 60 minutes (in rice cooker)

      Total time: 90 mins

      Serves: 4 bowls (2 people portion)

      Ingredients

      Cooking Instructions

      1. I will first pre-soak the dried mushrooms to allow them rehydrate
      2. Cut and wash your pork ribs
      3. In a small pot of cold water with a teaspoon of salt (to lower the boiling point), add your ribs to blanch and set to a high boil.  Once that boils, you can remove the pork bones
      4. Drain the pork ribs and rinse one more time with cool water to get rid of any debris, bones, or foam
      5. Peel and slice your lotus roots
      6. Peel and slice your carrots
      7. Cut your corn into bite-sized portions
      8. Using the flat side of a butcher’s knife, gently crack the peanuts and remove the fresh peanuts from the shell
      9. In a shallow pan with a little bit of oil, pan fry the peanuts with a pinch of salt until golden brown on medium heat
      10. Optional to fry the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms at this point with the peanuts
      11. In your soup pot add all the ingredients together and bring to a boil covered.  Once that boils, reduce heat and let it simmer for another 60 minutes covered.  Or you can try to use a rice cooker, which worked amazing for me!
      12. Serve and enjoy!

      Tips for making this soup:

      • Use fresh lotus roots.  You’ll know they’re fresh when they are super crunchy and as you cut through it, it’s pale and looks clean.  Be sure to wash thoroughly as lotus roots do have a lot of mud as they are grown under water.
      • Buy fresh peanuts (available from Asian supermarkets).  This takes a bit of work to process, but produces deeper, darker flavours versus using pre-processed roasted peanuts (which tend to be pretty salty).  But both work just as great!
      • Pan frying mushrooms ahead of time really brings out the flavour of the dried shiitake mushrooms.

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      FOLLOW US AND SHARE.