Fresh Dates

Fresh Dates

Fresh Dates

Ingredient Name:

Fresh Red Dates

Traditional Chinese Name:

红枣 (hóng zǎo)

 

Ah!  The sweet crunchy crunchy of little fruit, bursting with juices and sugars.  This is definitely not your traditional Chinese soup ingredient, but I walked by a vendor this morning who insisted I try them with soup!  She knows I’m always on the look out for new and interesting ingredients, so she suggested this sweetish, fruity soup paired with pork shank for the family.  I’d never thought to use fresh dates, but this is a unique find indeed!  The seeds are not easy to extract, so I kept them in.  They aren’t are fiery as their processed cousins, the dried red dates, because of how they are processed.  And, you can eat them raw!  If you happen to chance across this during your shopping, try them!  A great pairing with the snow pear!

What is it?

  • A small, round, red, seeded fruit (in its mature state) produced by date palm tree
  • When eaten raw, it’s got a sweet almost apple like taste with a crunchy texture
  • Commonly found in Asia, some parts of Europe and India
  • In Chinese cuisine, the dried dates can be found in both salty and sweet dishes, in soups, as dried snacks and in teas
  • Fresh dates aren’t so common in soups and are quite seasonal, so be sure to check availability

How do I prepare it?

      • Rinse and wash under cold water before usage to remove dirt and grim
      • You can remove the seeds similar to apples, but you can also slice (as shown) and use in soups
      • You don’t need to peel the skin, they can be eaten with the fruit
      • Suggest to cut and slice only if you’re going to use them, else you can keep them in the fridge for a week (similar to apples!)

Where can I buy it and cost?

      • You can purchase fresh dates from any supermarket or your local wet mart

      • They are seasonal fruits and usually available in late September

What is the cost?

      • Fresh dates cost around $12 HKD for a pack of 8-10, this will vary on season and vendor

Any benefits?

  • Red dates are known to assist in maintaining healthy blood pressure and assist the stomach and spleen in poor appetites
  • It is also commonly used to address stress in drinks and teas
  • Due to its sweetness, it is soothing to the throat and used to treat sore throats
  • Red dates are an excellent source of Vitamin C (and also packed with great antioxidants that help kill free radicals which increase aging)
  • A common ingredient found for Chinese confinements
  • Dates are high in fiber, helping with digestion and constipation
  • They are also known to help blood sugar control

Any precautions?

  • Be sure you are buying red dates from a reputable source as some red dates do carry diseases
  • For soups, use pitted dried dates. The seeds are known to create “fire” in the body and not usually ideal

Looking to build your basic Chinese Soup Pantry?

The dried red dates is one of them!  Check it out in my video to learn more!

 

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Chinese Chicken Herbal Soup

Chinese Chicken Herbal Soup

Chinese Chicken Herbal Soup

Soup Name

Chinese Chicken Herbal Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:  

清雞湯 (qīng jī tāng)

 

The Chinese have a whole repertoire of herbs which can be added to Chinese soups and is no exception.  Among these herbs, there are a variety of traditional herbs that go well with Chicken.  I’ve selected a few for the purpose of this soup ensuring a light combination of herbs for the whole family.  This is actually designed for my teenage daughter who has recently started her period.  So something light, but sufficient enough for her bodily needs.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 2 hours

Total time: 2 hours 30 mins

Serves: 4-6 bowls

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Begin to soak all the herbs in warm water (to clean them) for about 15 minutes and rinse
  2. You can begin to boil your soup pot water
  3. In a separate pot, blanch the quartered chicken ensuring that it is all boiling within the water for 7 minutes.  This process will both clean it and remove the initial fat.  You can keep the skin on if you’d like, but be sure to use an oil scooper to remove the top layer of fat.  Drain and set aside for soup use.
  4. Once your soup water boils, add the blanched chicken into the water and all the soaking herbal ingredients
  5. Bring to a medium boil for 30 minutes covered
  6. You can now either reduce boil to a low heat, but be sure it’s still simmering for another 1.5 hours covered, or transfer to a self cooking thermal pot for another 2 hours.
  7. Salt as needed, although to be honest, if there are dried seafood ingredients, less salt is needed.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Soup Benefits:

  • This soup is perfect for cooler days as it’s slightly warming, so a great transition soup for Autumn
  • It’s also great for as a winter soup, particularly if you add Black Silkie Chicken
  • A majority of the herbal ingredients can be found in a Chinese Soup Basic Ingredients Pantry
  • Perfect for confinement, postpartum, and post period
  • Ideal for the whole family, including children
  • These ingredients are readily available in most Chinese supermarkets around the world, all you need is just a chicken!
  • Be sure to to consult your (Chinese) doctor first if you’re unsure of consumption or suitability

Japanese Pumpkin with Corn and Carrots in a Milky Pork Broth

Japanese Pumpkin with Corn and Carrots in a Milky Pork Broth

Japanese Pumpkin with Corn and Carrots in a Milky Pork Broth

Soup Name:

Japanese Pumpkin with Corn and Carrots in a Milky Pork Broth

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

This delicious, milky broth Chinese Soup is ideal for the whole family!  Made with a handful of Chinese herbs (dried dates, dried longans, and dried wolfberries) and fresh vegetables, the secret ingredient is Hokkaido whole milk!  An usual mixture, but very rich, smooth, and creamy, it’s a delicious addition to any meal!  Below, I’ve included both a youtube video of this soup and the standard recipe.

Start with fresh vegetables.  I use Japanese pumpkins (instead of your traditional Western Orange pumpkins).  The Japanese pumpkin is very starchy and can eat like a meal with the soup.  Keep the skin on when you’re making the soup so the pumpkin doesn’t disintegrate into the soup and melt.

Also, in Hong Kong, there is thing with this 3.6 Hokkaido milk.  It’s apparently the smoothest, richest, fattest milk available, aside from cream and one of the more reputable Japanese brands available.  You can find this in most Asian supermarkets here.  My kids love to drink this as whole milk, too!

 

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 1 hour 45 mins

Total time: 2 hours 15 mins

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1-2 large pieces of fresh pork shank
  • 1 whole Japanese pumpkin, seeded and chopped large
  • 2 fresh carrots, peeled and chopped large
  • 2 fresh corn, chopped into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons of dried wolfberries
  • 2 tablespoons of dried longans
  • 2 tablespoons of dried red dates (seed removal optional, although it is said that the seeds are fiery)
  • salt as needed
  • 0.75 L of fresh 3.6 Hokkaido Milk

Cooking Instructions

  1. Boil two pots of water – one for your soup and one for blanching the pork shank
  2. Once the smaller pot of water is boiling, gently lower the pork shank and let it boil (turning as needed to ensure it’s all cooked) for 5 minutes, drain and set aside
  3. When your soup water boils, add in the Chinese herbs and blanched pork shank
  4. Chop your carrots and corn and add to the boiling soup water
  5. Half your Japanese pumpkin and using a spoon, hollow out the seeds, then cut into large chunks with the skin still on (this will prevent it from disintegrating in your soup) – then add to your soup
  6. Boil in medium high for 30 minutes
  7. Transfer the pot to a thermal pot, or continue to boil on medium low for an hour (still bubbling slightly)
  8. minutes before you’re ready to serve, add 0.75 L of the fresh milk into the pot and boil on medium high for another 15 minutes
  9. Salt as needed
  10. Serve and enjoy – including all the veggies! They are so yummy!

For more videos, visit us on YouTube. 

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Dried Coltsfoot Flower

Dried Coltsfoot Flower

 

 

Ingredient Name:  Dried Coltsflower, Tussilaginis Farfarae Flos, Dong Hua, Tussilago

Traditional Chinese Name: 冬花 (dōng huā)

What is this?

  • The flower is a perennial plant that reminds me of yellow dandelions or small sunflowers
  • When the leaves are dried it becomes a brownish-yellow texture
  • In the case of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the leaves are used, but sometimes the flowers and roots are used as well
  • This is also commonly used in western herbal supplements, all with the same usage of reducing coughs
  • This can be used in both teas and soups (although teas and Chinese herbal drinks more commonly)
  • Considered slightly warming ingredient

How do I prepare it?

  • No preparation needed other than storing in a dry, cool place

Where can I buy this?

  • In Asia, especially in Hong Kong, you can buy these at the wet marts, herbalists, dried food stalls (the ones that also sell dried red dates and fish maw)
  • They also come in prepackaged soup packs

What is the cost?

  • Very affordable, only a few dollars HKD for a handful

Any benefits?

  • Known in Traditional Chinese Medicine to help reduce coughs, remove phlegm, and moistens the lungs
  • It’s ideal for heaty bodies or yin deficiency
  • My Chinese herbalist recommends this when you’ve got the ends of a pesky cough that just won’t seem to go away, usually from the remnants of a cold

Any precautions?

  • Buy from a reputable source
  • Be sure to store in a dry, cool place as they can prone to spoiling in more humid weather
Dried and Sugared Whole Kumquat

Dried and Sugared Whole Kumquat

Ingredient Name:  Dried and Sugared Whole Kumquat

Traditional Chinese Name: 桔餅(Jú bǐng)

What is this?

  • This is a pretty unique ingredient to soups, especially soups that are designed for the throat and lungs
  • The Chinese recommend eating preserved and salted kumquats (whole) to soothe and heal the throat, or address coughs and this is the dried variation to be used in soups or teas
  • This dried kumquat is slightly sweet and slightly tart
  • They usually come in sizes varying from around 2-3 inches in diameter and are bright orange in colour with a white coating on the outside (the sugar)
  • A majority of these are produced in China

How do I prepare it?

  • No preparation needed other than storing in a dry, cool place
  • Some people do store this in the fridge as well
  • For teas, I usually use only 1 dried kumquat for 2 cups worth of tea

Where can I buy this?

  • In Asia, especially in Hong Kong, you can buy these at the wet marts, herbalists, dried food stalls (the ones that also sell dried red dates and fish maw)
  • They also come in prepackaged soup packs

What is the cost?

  • Very affordable, only a few dollars HKD for one

Any benefits?

  • A super healing food for the throat and lungs and stomach
  • Especially recommended for teas and soups that help with coughs (especially those coughs that last long and can’t seem to shake away)
  • Extremely rich in vitamin C, dietary fibre, and pectin, which can help lower cholesterol
  • As it is also sugar coated, no additional sugar is usually needed when making teas

Any precautions?

  • Buy from a reputable source
  • Be sure to store in a dry, cool place as they can prone to spoiling in more humid weather