Soup Name: Chicken Herbal Soup
Traditional Chinese Name: 清雞湯 (qīng jī tāng)
One of the most basic Chinese chicken soups available. It is usually recommended by your Chinese herbalist, with minimalistic herbs and a whole chicken, it’s a wonderfully delicious soup for children and adults. It is actually designed to be the base for confinement soups, but with more herbs and can be double-boiled for extra strength. This soup is ideal for the cool autumn and winter months.
What Ingredients are required?
1 fresh whole chicken
1-2 fresh large abalones (or dried)
5-6 dried scallops (conpoys)
10 dried longans
1 handful of wolfberries
5 sticks of dried Chinese yam
2 litres of water
How do I prepare it?
- Prepare chicken (in quarters) by rinsing and blanching in a pot of hot water
- Wash and clean abalone
- Boil your soup water
- Wash and soak for 10 minutes all the dried herbs
- When your soup water is boiling, add all the ingredients together
- Boil on high heat for 30 minutes and reduce to low boil for another 2 hours.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Excellent warming soup for cold days
- Good to increase blood circulation and blood flow
- It is considered to be of the “healing” categories of soup
- If used for confinement, you can make the soup more concentrated (less water or more ingredients)
- As the whole chicken can be oily, be sure to remove all oil before serving
- Minimize herbs when used for children (above sampling suggested)
Thank you for your wonderful blog and sharing all the Chinese recipes. I am a Chinese living overseas, and thus I need to learn how to make the Chinese health food myself. Your website helps me stay connected with the Chinese cuisine that I otherwise would not have the chance to. I have learned so much. It gives me a chance to impart Chinese cooking to the next generation. Thank you once again.
One question, which I hope to get your advice. I am a working mother, and are looking for recipes that I can freeze up portions so that I do not have to cook everyday. I am not sure whether Chinese soup, and in this case, Herbal Chicken soup, would be suitable for freezing? Would be grateful to hear your view.
Elaine, for chicken herbal soup, it’s OK to freeze in small portions as it doesn’t contain any immediate consummables. I am using all dried herbal ingredients and if you boil it longer to concentrate it, it helps. Just be sure that you’re not mixing ingredients that shouldn’t be mixed – particularly when it comes to Chinese herbs. I would probably try a simpler version – with just conpoys and chicken. This is pretty much a good base with ANYTHING. Hope this answer helps! Lisa
Thanks very much, Tracy. It helps a lot definitely.
I am looking forward to trying all your wonderful recipes. One question, is pressure cooker suitable for making soups?
Pressure cooker is excellent for Chinese soups – especially the “old fire” style boiled ones where you need to boil it for a few hours. A definite recommend and thank you!
Dear Lady Tong,
Once again, thanks for your advise.
What a wonderful blog, Ive made many of your soups, its so hard to find traditional chinese soups in English, thank you so much.
Would you be able to recommend a soup for somebody with enlarged spleen and liver problems please?
i cannot afford conpoy and abalone. is there any substitutes? will dried squids or fresh/dried mussels give the same nutrients?
Dried squid is definitely a great substitute! Dried little shrimps are as well. If you really can’t find any, you can find some affordable dried mushrooms – which are just as tasty. As for nutrition, I can’t say that you are missing much nutrition by not using dried conpoys or abalones. A majority of the nutrition is coming from the bones and/or meat and the fruits and vegetables you also use – so definitely go for the tastier route! Hope this helps! Lisa
I was wondering if you have the recipe in Chinese. It would be nice if I could just hand it over to my ayi to make since I’m too pregnant and tired to be making it myself. 🙂
Hi there, I juz followed ur recipe today, the soup is very nice, my mom loved it so much, but the abalone was over cooked it’s texture like chewing gum, can u teach me so that it’s texture will be juz nice? Thanks =)
Hi Yee Wei,
A few options, slice up the abalone quite thin and add to your soup about 30 minutes before serving. This should be enough time for both the soup to absorb the abalone flavor and vice versa. Or you can slice it thinly and throw it in at the beginning and that will keep it less rubbery. Smaller abalone actually works betters as they aren’t as tough. Hope this helps! Lisa
Could you substitute anything for the longan, like red dates and if you don’t have abalone can you add more scallops.
Very tempting when it’s cold outside! Will try this out with the next rainy day…which is soon 😉 Thanks for sharing.
Can I have this soup if I have a cold/cough?
I would like to make this soup with abalone substitute (i.e. dried slices of conch). How many pieces or grams do I use in lieu of 1-2 abalones? Also, how much dried seabed coconut do I use in place of 1 fresh/frozen seabed coconut? Please help.
Dear mr. bear, that’s a great substitute actually. I’d say about 2-3 slices of dried abalone is good enough, but the flavors are quite different, yet will still work. Dried seabed coconut, you can use 4-5 slices for 1 fresh/frozen seabed coconut. Hope this helps and wish you all the best! Let me know how it works out! Lisa
Thank for this superior blog, Im chinese guy and recently became a father. In my situation here, that me and my wife are staying jst we two here and my wife just give birth to a dragon baby boy. And im no 1 to help for cooking and boiling soup for my wife as a confinement meal. i learn alot good herb soup and soup here to boil for my wife as a confinement meal that help alot in recovery and as a breast feeding mom.
Dear Cameyo, Thanks for your brilliant comments and support! For breast feeding moms, definitely do the Papaya and Fish soup! It’s the #1 recommendation from all my vendors! Congrats and you’re doing a fabulous job! Lisa
Hi Lady Tong,
can i use the slow cooker for this soup instead?
also can i use black chicken or the chicken drum sticks, will they reduce the effect of this soup?
You can definitely use a slow cooker for this. Slow cooker, thermal pots, double-boiling are all great ways for confinement to make the soup concentrated and dense. Black chicken is highly recommended for confinement (for both cooking and soup). As for drum sticks, that’s also an option – however the key to confinement soups is less the meat and more the herbs. Hope this helps! Lisa
Is this good for producing milk?
Hello there! Miss lady tong can I use the pork instead of chicken?….thank you..
Thanks for another wonderful article. Where else could anybody get that kind of information in such an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I’m on the look for such information. edaeggeekeee
Hi lady tong,
Can one year old baby drink soup that contains chinese herbal such as longan, honey date / date, wolfberry?
Looking to hear your advise.
Dear Vivi, I’d say yes. To be honest, by one, they can eat most anything! I was serving soups to my children at 8 months and used those same herbs. These aren’t overly crazy herbs, so perfect for vegetable soups. Hope this helps! Lisa
Thank you lisa for the reply and your advise. Appreciate it
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