Double-boiled Healing and Warming Chicken and Ginger with Red Dates Chinese Herbal Soup

by | Jan 2, 2024 | Confinement Soups, Featured, Featured Articles, Headline, Soups for Children, Winter Soups | 0 comments

Soup Name:

Double-boiled Healing and Warming Chicken and Ginger with Red Dates Chinese Herbal Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

炖雞湯 (dun jī tāng).  This is the most generic soup name for a double-boiled soup (炖) chicken soup.  In general, when you use this term, it’s recognized as a healing, warm Chinese chicken soup, although the herbs may vary.  These are normally dense, highly flavourful, and packed with healing properties.

Nature:  Very warm

Taste: Sweet

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Why the double-boil?

Double-boiling is a common cooking method in Chinese soups, usually reserved for richer, deeper flavoured soups with more herbs and density in its nutrition.  It is served in smaller portions and normally contains chicken (and sometimes pork with the chicken) to enhance its flavour and density.  The idea of double-boiling is to allow a gentle heat without the velocity and bubbling of the liquid to disturb a gentle “coaxing” of the flavours out.  It’s a very deliberate (and long) way of cooking as most double-boiled soups require at least 3 hours of boiling. 

Double-boiling itself will require a little more equipment instead of just one pot.  The double-boil is actually a pot within a pot.  The inner pot is usually made of clay, glass, or ceramic – something that’s NOT metal.  The outer pot can be anything that can hold the inner pot within it and enough water to cover at least half of the bottom of the pot.  What happens is the heat of the water then heats up the inner pot, which gently cooks the contents of the soup.  It will also never reach boiling within the inner pot because of heat transfer dynamics (oh, here we go again with thermodynamics).

What’s involved?

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 3 hours 

Total time: 3 mins 15 mins

Serves: 4 bowls

Ingredients

  • 500 g of chicken breast (keep whole)
  • 10 whole dried red dates (pitted)
  • 10 slices of fresh ginger
  • 7-8 cups of cold water (average is 2 cups per bowl if you’re making individual portions)

Cooking Instructions

  1. In your outer pot, fill with enough water to cover up to 3/4 of your inner pot in height (to maximize the surface area of heat that the inner pot is boiling in).  You don’t want the water to be boiling inside and spilling into the inner pot though, so this will take some experimentation with your equipment. 
  2. Begin to boil your outer pot on high heat while you prepare your inner pot
  3. Add in the chicken breast (whole), sliced ginger, and red dates and cold water
  4. Cover the inner pot and lower into your outer pot (doesn’t matter if it’s boiling or not).  I will lower it in before it boils actually as it’s easier, but some people do say to put it in boiling water.  You can read this exploratory article on whether to use hot or cold water for blanching meats to read the science behind it for meats. 
  5. Turn the heat up until the outer water begins to boil softly and keep it at the temperature for the next 3 hours.  You can check on the water to see if it it needs refill, making sure it remains 3/4 covering the inner pot for maximum cooking effectiveness.
  6. Once that’s done, you can scoop from the inner pot and serve and enjoy!  

The back story to this specific soup is that it was designed to:

  • Increase yang deficiency and rebalance the body
  • Warm the body and improve blood and Qi flow
  • Support older women and men to harmonize yin and yang in the body (especially women 40+ and men 50+)
  • Reduce stress and relax the shen (spirit) 

 You can explore this article on “what it means to have cold hands and feet” and how this soup can help!

 

Would love to hear if you have any further suggestions and thoughts in the comments below!

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