This is a very common Canton (Chinese-styled) dish. The soy sauce base can be used with pork, chicken (various parts), duck (wings are best), pigeon and any other meats with bones as best. The trick to this dish is that it must be simmered for some time (or use a pressure cooker) to let both the sauce seep deep into the meat and enable the meet to be almost falling off the bone.
Why this particular dish is called out for Chinese confinement is that the chicken feet provides a healthy amount of collagen – and adding warming ingredients such as ginger, star anise and cinnamon help keep the body warm and heated throughout this period. My mom actually used to keep the sauce after she made it in a glass jar in the fridge, to be used again the next time around. The more it’s used, the tastier it gets. You can simply skim off the accumulated fat once it’s cooled and add more soy sauce if it’s been reduced too far. A delicious, easy-to-make, easy-to-keep Chinese confinement dish for any postpartum mother.
Traditional Chinese Name: 冬瓜雞腳湯 (dōng guā jī jiǎo tāng)
The feet of the chicken are one of the Chinese’s most interesting “unwanted” parts of the chicken (after the bottom parts). It’s so versatile that the Chinese use chicken feet in soups, stews, dim sum and other dishes. I remember back in the days when I was a young lad that my parents would go to the Western super markets and get chicken feet by the bags for a whole dollar. It’s definitely not as cheap anymore because of the influx of demanding chicken feet eaters, but still an affordable, tasty and collagen packed ingredient. This wintermelon soup is simple to make and if you’re a single gal (or guy) you can make it in a one person pot. My husband really liked this soup and gobbled all the feet. Thanks for the clean up job, sweetie!
Amount serves: 5-6 large soup bowls (around 300 mL each)
Soak the gingo biloba and lotus seed in warm water for 10 minutes
Rinse and cut off the nails on your chicken feet
In a small pot of boiling water, blanch your chicken feet for 5 minutes
Remove chicken feet from boiling water, strain and set aside
Boil your soup water
When the soup boils, throw all the ingredients together
Boil on high (covered) for 30 minutes, reduce to a medium boil for another 30 minutes (you can continue to boil or use a thermal cooker to keep it hot, as some people love their chicken feet super soft)
Serve and enjoy!
This soup is excellent for cooling down the body and heat from hot summer days
Chicken feet is an excellent source of collagen and is low in fat
Women in their first trimester of pregnancy should avoid as it is an extremely cooling soup and may cause contractions (you can add more ginger slices to “heat” up the soup)
Melon soups are best consumed within same day as keeping melon soups overnight or over an extended period will make the melons sour (and so will your soup!)
Soup Name: Chicken and Veggies – Soup for Beginners
Traditional Chinese Name: 雞菜湯 (jī cài tāng)
Introduction: We often hear that, although people enjoy drinking Chinese soups, they would never make it by themselves because it’s “too hard”. Here is a super simple soup that takes the “scariness” out of chinese-soup making because it demonstrates how easy chinese-style soups can be. The style is similar to how we make most chinese soups, but it contains no chinese-specific ingredients! To make it more “chinese”, simply add chinese mushrooms to your veggie mix.
I recently made this soup for my toddler who, being so young, is definitely a beginner to soups. She loved the bite-sized vegetables which were soft and easy to munch. The clear broth was also good for her suspicious mind since she could clearly see everything she was eating.
What Ingredients are required? Chicken – any chicken (whole, thighs, wings, feet, etc…) Veggies – any veggies (carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, chinese mushrooms, etc…)
How do I prepare it?
Boil 2 – 3 L of water
Wash and chop all vegetables (bite-sized pieces are great for children who are more likely to eat the pieces which fit in their mouth)
Put in the chicken
Put in the vegetables
Cover and boil for one hour (or more for softer veggies)