This soup is ideal for colds, flus and cough. If you’ve got a sore or scratchy throat, achy body, tiredness and/or headache – this soup is for you! From an Eastern perspective, the Chinese don’t recommend drinking chicken soup when you’re sick, which to me, sounds off, but you can’t argue thousands years of tradition through Chinese medicine. My herbalist recommended this relatively “neutral” soup for me and is considered 滋陰 (zī yīn), which means treating yin deficiency by reinforcing body fluid and nourishing the blood. If you look at the herb base, it’s pretty basic and ideal for most soups – the kicker is to add sea whelk (or conch or sea snail). You don’t need to add fresh sea snail (they can get pretty expensive if you buy them live from the wet mart), but definitely add pork. This soup ended up tasting delicious and sets a great base for adding vegetables of your choice – like corn, onions, or chayotes – all neutral vegetables.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 15 mins
Serves: 8 bowls
1 pound of pork shank (or pork marrows and bones for confinement)
In a separate pot, blanch both the sea snails and pork in a pot of boiling hot water for at least 5 minute (to remove impurities, fat and scum), remove and set aside 2. Soak all the herbs in warm water for at least 10 minutes and rinse in warm water 3. Boil your soup water 4. When you soup water boils, add all the ingredients together 5. Boil on high for 30 minute and then reduce boil to a medium boil for another 1.5 hours 6. Serve and enjoy!
One of the more affordable seafood you can use for soups is dried sea snail. They come in thin, hard slices and add a sweet, sea-salt taste to the soup (similar to dried conpoys). Plus, these things are storage friendly and can be stored in your freezer or fridge for up to 6 months.
A typical neutral soup base for Chinese soups. The dried sea snails are interchangeable with dried conpoys, which is a great substitute if you can’t find sea snails. The dried versions produce similar tastes to the soup as they are both seafood and go through similar drying processes.
It's not a perfect science (still working to perfect it), but I'd say the methodology and thinking is sound 🙂
Would love to hear your thoughts!
To answer your questions on what equipment I'm using, I've built a section here where you can find and explore what I'm using to make soups. Ingredients are a little harder, but I will do my best as I source them around. However, you can always message me on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or Facebook, and I will reply and try to point you in some direction!
Soup Name: Coconut, Chinese Yam and Fresh Conch in Chicken Broth
Traditional Chinese Name: 椰子螺雞湯 (yē zi luó jī tāng)
This soup (because of the fresh conch) cost me a whopping $500 HKD. For starters, it’s a really delicious soup and it’s naturally sweet, but you can pretty much achieve similar results with probably cheaper ingredients. The vendor has suggested NOT to use the coconut water because that is pretty fattening, but other than that, it’s truly a perfect winter soup.
What ingredients are required?
1 fresh chicken, quartered 2 large fresh conch 1 fresh whole coconut, sliced into thin pieces 2 feet of fresh Chinese Yam, largely sliced 2 L of water
How do I prepare it?
Prepare chicken & conch (read each ingredient on instructions on preparation)
In a pot of boiling water, blanch chicken and conch
Prepare Chinese Yam by washing, peeling and cutting into large edible cubes (wear gloves while doing this)
Prepare fresh coconut by cutting it with the inner brown skin into long thin pieces
When your water boils, add all the ingredients in and boil on high for 30 minutes. Reduce to a medium boil for another hour.
Serve and enjoy!
This is a great winter soup as it is warming to the body (but not overly heaty)
Naturally sweet, so no salt is needed
This Chinese soup is rich in proteins and fiber
The coconut isn’t the easiest thing to cut into thin strips, so if it’s too difficult, use larger chunks
Be sure to thoroughly clean the conch (ie: with either salt, cornstarch or a toothbrush)
The coconut meat is high in saturated fat and is high in cholesterol, so consume with caution
Use an oil scooper to remove the fattiness of the chicken meat in the soup
Another one of those ingredients that you don’t really see in soups growing up as a child – unless you happen to eat it, which our family did not. It’s actually just as common to use the dried sea snail in soups (which are said to be more flavorful). The meat itself doesn’t have much flavor, but like pork shank or pork bones, simply dip in a bit of high quality soy sauce and it’s pretty delicious. The one thing I discovered while on my soup making adventure is that some ingredients cost a fortune! So while some soups can eat out of your pocket, there are many that are economical. Yes, that’s the concept of all Chinese cuisine right?
I talk about how to prepare this ingredient in the soup “Recovery Herbal Soup”. I’ve used both dried and frozen conch here, so great references if you’re looking to use this in your own soups!To prepare the dried conch, simply soak in cool water until it soften, or you can drop directly into boiling soup water.For fresh conch, I will definitely blanch them and give them a little scrub-a-dub before using them in soups. The opportunity here is that fresh or frozen conch also make amazing side dishes (that could parallel abalone, I’d say) when dipped with soy sauce!
Where can I buy it and cost?
You can buy fresh conch at most Asian supermarkets (they reside in the live tanks in Chinese supermarkets)
Frozen conch is definitely available in the frozen sections and cost for 1 conch is about $12 CAD
Fresh sea snail or conch costs around $100-120 HKD in wet marts depending on size and breed
Did you know that abalone is actually a type of sea snail? These are the expensive kinds!
Sea snails are great additions to soup as the add that little bit of salty, seafood flavour and compliment the main protein quite nicely (such as chicken and pork)
Great protein that is low in fat
You can eat them as part of the meal. I’ll usually cook it as a whole and then remove from the soup and slice it up to be served before service.
According to Traditional Chinese medicine, sea snails are nourish the Yin and the kidneys and to improve eyesight
Be sure to thoroughly clean fresh conch or sea snail before boiling them
If you’re buying them whole, you may need to crack the shell yourself (but the seafood vendor may also do it in Asian supermarkets and wet marts)
You’ll want to only keep the centre, fleshy part of the conch (not the ends or guts or stomach) as the primary portion to consume, but actually all of the conch is edible