My second project using the new double-boiler! I found a very simple, but delicious apple and pear Chinese soup with pork and chicken and Chinese herbs. This is a pretty traditional Chinese soup and can be made both with or without double-boiling. The purpose of double-boiling is really to maintain density of the flavours and lock in (better than regular boiling) all that goodness. I’d almost argue that using a thermal pot is similar to double-boiling. Double-boiled soups are normally made in the winter because they can be more potent and provide extra punch and warmth. This soup is awesomely yummy! It is designed to help soothe and moisten the throat and lungs. Most Chinese double-boiled soups use both chicken and pork. Even if you use a silkie chicken, the Chinese will throw in a small piece of pork shank. This makes the soup very sweet and rich in flavours.
Soup Name: Double-boiled Apple and Pear Chinese Herbal Soup
Traditional Chinese Soup Name: 蘋果雪梨燉雞湯 (píng guǒ xuě lí dùn jī tāng)
To see the full recipe, scroll down to skip my commentary.
For this recipe, you’ll need: A bunch of Chinese herbs (in mine, I have dried dates, dried longans, dried conpoys or scallops, dried Chinese yam, and wolfberries), some pork, a whole chicken, fuji apples, and snow pears.
To start, soak you herbs in warm water to soften. You can also scrub the Chinese Yam in running water before soaking to rinse off the sulphur that is sometimes used to process it. I just eyeball the amount of each herbs depending on the size of the pot, so it’s literally a handful of this and handful of that.
Soaking herbs ready for soup
Prepare your meats by removing as much fat as possible. This means, going with lean pork shank and removing all the skin and fat from the chicken. I tried to get as small as a chicken as possible because my pot isn’t that big – in a previous post, I used chicken drumsticks – which work perfectly because of their size, portions and you get both bone and meat. In a separate pot, blanch the meats in boiling hot water for 5 minutes to remove scum, oil, dirt, blood and any extras that like to make their way out of the bones and meat and into your soup. Once blanched, remove the meat from the soup and set aside to cool and to add to your soup later.
My overly ambitious portions of meat – a mix of pork and chicken
Keep the skin on the apples and snow pears. Firstly, this will help keep them intact and not disintegrate too much into the soup and secondly, it will help you scoop it out when you need to. Plus, the skin has its own unique flavour too – just be sure to rinse really well!
Start boiling your double-boiler (inner pot) outside on the stove with half the volume of water that the container will hold. It’s easier to add more water later if you need to top up. When the water more or less boils, throw all the ingredients into the pot. In my case, I can say OOPS! I was still missing one snow pear and 1 apple and ended up removing the ends of the drumsticks to make it all squeeze in. See, it’s all sticking out!
Adding all the ingredients into the double-boiler
Double-boil for 30 minutes first
Cover (if you can) and set to let it boil on medium heat for about 30 minutes. Do note that snow pears actually RELEASE more water as it boils, so the risk that it spills over is almost certain!
My double-boiled soup now overspilling!
After 30 minutes of medium boil, turn off the heat and let the pot cool. Once it cools sufficiently for you to put into its outer double-boiler, add the inner pot into the larger outer pot. You can add water later – but when you add water to the outer pot – add hot water! This will reduce the temperature flux of your inner pot. Fill it with enough water so that you can cover the inner double-boiler and this outer pot water won’t spill into the double-boiler. Cover and set on a low boil (you can still see small bubbles) for about 3 hours.
The double-boiler inside an outer pot
You’ll know your soup is progressing well when you see the pears and apples and colour of the soup turn into a rich golden liquid. Most double-boiled soups some in this golden colour and you’ll know that the flavours are intense and rich.
Rich soup colour of the double-boiled soup when it’s almost ready
Once your soup is ready, scoop out whatever you’d like and serve HOT! NO SALT NEEDED! That’s how sweet it is! Some people will like to eat the meats, dipped on soy sauce – by all means, do it! The meat is delicious as well. In my situation, I had leftover fruit, so I simply drank 2 bowls the size of rice bowls, threw in the rest of the fruit and added some more water and continued to double-boil it for another hour until dinner. Enjoy! I certainly did!
Double-boiled Apple and Pear Chinese Soup
Double-boiled Apple and Pear Chinese Herbal Soup
Recipe Type: Soup
Serves: 6 soup bowls
1 whole fresh [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chicken-whole/”]chicken[/url], cut small (skin removed)
1/2 pound of fresh [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/pork-shank/”]pork shank[/url], cut small
1 tablespoon of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/scallops-dried-conpoy/”]dried conpoy[/url]
1 tablespoon of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/wolfberries-dried/”]dried wolfberries[/url]
1 tablespoon of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/longan-dried/”]dried longans[/url]
1 tablespoon of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/red-dates/”]dried red dates[/url]
3 pieces of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chinese-yam-dried/”]dried Chinese Yam[/url]
I had to try my new double-boiling Chinese soup pot, so specifically sourced some nice Korean Ginseng ($100 HKD for 2 pieces) so I could make double-boiled ginseng soup with chicken (and pork). I love the genuine taste of Ginseng, it’s smooth and golden. And I love it in soups even more! Using the simplest of herbs, the soup takes a solid 3 hours in the double-boiler – but comes out rich, delicious and bursting full of flavours. Truly one of my favourite double-boiled goodies.
The benefits of ginseng and chicken soup are also numerous. Ginseng is usually described as “nourishing life” and the effects of the double-boiler, which maintains the soup at a lower heat without disturbing the ingredients physically, enable the flavours and efficacy of the ginger to permeate throughout the soup. The soup enhance immune functions and make body functions strong like the heart, lungs and spleen.
Soup Name: Double-boiled Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup
Traditional Chinese Name: 人參雞湯 (rén sēn jī tāng)
To see the full recipe, scroll down to skip my commentary.
The ingredients include: Fresh Korean ginseng, pork, chicken, dried red dates, dried Chinese Yam, and dried longans. I used chicken drumsticks instead of a whole chicken (which is usually recommended). The constraints you’re working with include the size of your double-boiler. In most cases, double-boilers need to fit inside another pot, so unless you’re got a restaurant-sized soup pot, you are restricted to the size of your double-boiling pot to fit the ingredients.
Chicken drumsticks for soup
To keep the soup as “skinny” as possible, I removed the skin and as much fat as I could. Then I chopped the drumsticks into 3’s so that I can compact the size of the ingredients to fit into the double-boiler. The same applied for the pork shank. I didn’t blanch the meat as both didn’t have that much fat and I rinsed them under cool water before throwing it into the soup to clean them.
Keep the herbs simple. A mixture of these will suffice. Actually, my herbalist even suggested to just use dried Chinese Yam and that’s it, but I liked a little bit of sweetness and wanted to balance the coolness of the ginseng with the heaty of the dried longans just a little. If you’re scared that it’s too cooling, throw in 1-2 slices of ginger to balance it out.
Herbs for Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup
Start by boiling your soup water. To be honest, I am eye-balling everything, but I started with a half pot of water and decided that I could always add more water after fitting all the ingredients in. Once the water boils, throw in all the ingredients together and boil on high for about 30 minutes. This is still OUTSIDE of the double-boiler.
The point of boiling it outside is to make sure everything is boiling inside and sufficiently cooking and mixing and bringing out nice flavours. I then turn off the stove and let it cool enough to bring the double-boiler into the pot to really begin the double-boiling process. Once inside the double-boiling pot, you can top it off with boiling water to ensure it’s full (more soup) and fill the double-boiling outside pot with warm or slightly hot water. Boil the outside pot until it really boils and then reduce to a very, very, very small boil and keep it tightly covered.
The double-boiler inside the outside pot
Double-boil it for about 3 hours and when it’s done, the soup will be a rich, golden colour and smell delicious. The house permeates with this ginseng fragrance and it’s beautiful.
Beautiful double-boiled soup ready for drinking!
I recommend directly serving from the double-boiler to the bowl. No salt is needed. Enjoy!!!
Variations to the soup can include using the black, silkie chicken instead. They are definitely smaller, so hopefully will fit – but in general, this soup is made with both chicken and pork. You can also change up some of the herbs to include maybe the large dried dates, Astragalus Root, wolfberries, or Codonopsis Pilosula Root.
Double-boiled Korean Ginseng and Chicken Soup
Recipe Type: Soup
Serves: 6 bowls
3 fresh [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chicken-whole/”]chicken drumsticks[/url], skinned and chopped into 3 parts
2 fresh pieces of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/korean-ginseng/”]Korean ginseng[/url]
1/2 pound of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/pork-shank/”]fresh pork shank[/url], cubed
10 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/red-dates/”]dried red dates[/url]
This soup or tea is completely designed for the dry, cold, dry, cold, super dry, or super cold winter conditions. It’s a vegetarian (meatless) moisturizing tea suitable for the whole family and tastes super yummy.
You can consider adding fresh snow pears or fresh apples to sweeten it further, just take caution with the amount of rock sugar you add. It’s a combination of the all the ingredients that help being moisture to the lungs, body, skin and internal organs. You can drink this to your heart’s delight!
Do note that snow pears are mildly cool ingredients, so not recommended if you’re in confinement or need to avoid cooling ingredients.
Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 1 hour Total time: 1 hour 15 mins Serves: 2 cups
2 dried snow fungus, soaked and cut into quarters (removing the center, see video below)
Soak the dried snow fungus in warm water until it is completely covered. Let it sit for about 15 minutes until it has become soft and large. Using a pair of scissors, cut it quarters while removing the hard yellow middle.
In a separate bowl, soak in warm water the dried tangerine peel for 5 minutes.
Once the tangerine peel softens, using the face of a knife, scrape off the darker side of the peel (this is the bitter part) just slightly.
Start to boil your tea water
When the water boils, add all the dried snow pear, apricot kernals, tangerine peel, dried dates, dried lily bulbs together.
Boil on medium heat for 1 hour.
In the last 5 minutes, drop in the rock sugar and mix.
Serve and enjoy! Ideal to drink hot in the winter time!
The ingredients are pretty common in Hong Kong or your local Asian supermarket. And you can buy them in bulk and store them in a dry, sealed container for many months – or in the fridge for even longer.
Preparing the Snow Fungus (video)
For snow fungus, you’ll need to soak them in warm water for some time – pretty much until they explode into giant balls. Normally, people don’t eat the hard middles, but you can still cut it out and put it in with the soup. The tricky thing with snow fungus is that it dissolves into the soup. This means, the soup gets thicker and stickier the longer you boil it with snow fungus (scientifically speaking is that the viscosity of the liquid increases). You can remove the snow fungus halfway through if you don’t like it so thick.
This soup is an easy and sweet soup that is perfect to warm you up on a chilly autumn or winter’s day. Chicken is considered to be very nourishing (補) and can give your body a good kick of healthy heartiness (this is similarly recognized by Westerners who drink chicken noodle soup when sick). To sweeten the soup, red dates are added. We also suggest adding a palmful of wolfberries to boost the qi or “chi” which is ideal for cool weather. Carrots round out this simple yet delicious soup. You can see from the photo that this recipe results in a rich, deeply-colored broth and I can assure you, it’s tasty, too! (Yes, I’m drinking as I type this post.) Depending on whether you use a fresh, whole chicken or alternatives, the difficulty of creating this soup can vary from 1-star (from pre-washed and cut chicken with minimal preparation) to 4-star (whole chicken from scratch).
Add red dates to your soup water and bring to a boil
When the water boils, combine all the ingredients together
Boil on medium-high for at least 1 hour
A warm soup that is perfect for autumn or winter
Chicken is very nourishing (補) and creates a healthful soup
Red dates are an excellent source of Vitamin C
Red dates are also used in throat-soothing drinks
Wolfberries are high in antioxidants and contain 6 essential vitamins, Beta-Carotene, Calcium, Potassium, Iron and Zinc
Wolfberries are also known to enhance the qi or “chi” in your body
Any tips or precautions?
Whenever using real, whole chicken, it’s useful to have an oil scooper on hand to help scoop out the fat and any large or small particles that float to the top of your soup. I usually need to use the scoop two or three times — once after the soup is fully boiled and still hot and there is an abundance of oil floating on the top, then once again after the soup has cooled slightly and you have additional oil and particles that have had time to float to the surface, and usually once again upon re-heating (possibly the next day).
Feel free to drink the same soup the next day after re-boiling. I like to make an extra big pot and any that isn’t finished can be drank and finished off the next day.
It’s not quite winter as I am writing this post, but it’ll be in a blink of an eye and behold! – it’s freezing again. I’ve also gotten this request from some of my readers, so thank you for calling out that there’s a demand for winter soups.
Soups this in category:
are warm and
often more heaty than their summer counterparts
are designed to provide warmth and add moisture back to the body (during the dryer winter days)
are usually double-boiled or reduced to be denser to retain as much essence of the ingredients as possible
help nourish the yin and prevent irritation and dryness to various parts of the body
often contain more chicken than pork (as chicken is a more heaty meat versus neutral pork)
often contain more “interesting meats” such as turtle, crocodile meat or other “heaty” meats
I sometimes relate winter soups to confinements soups in that they use similar “heaty” and “warming” ingredients. The only difference is that winter soups are far more toned down and suitable for a wider range of soup drinkers. There is also a range of Chinese winter dessert soups which I will add to this repertoire as I get a chance to make them coming into the colder season.
Some suitable ingredients for winter:
Ginger – Number one warm-up ingredient for soups, stews and teas. Add a few slices to a cool soup and it will immediately warm it up.
Chicken – As mentioned, chicken (both black and white) are most common in winter soups. It is especially common when used in double-boiling. In fact, the Chinese will use both chicken and pork together for many Chinese soups.
Dried Longans – Another heaty ingredient (in both its dried and fresh state), add to winter soups for more warmth and natural sweetness. This is one of my favourite pantry “must-have’s”. They endure storage and can be used in a wide range of soups.
Astragalus Root – A common Chinese medicinal herb, this root helps restore qi to the body and boost the body’s immune system, which is important during flu season.
Dried wolfberries – Another ingredient that will enhance the “qi” (or “chi”) in your body. This is another staple in the Chinese soup pantry.
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)