Chinese Yam with Apples and Corn in Chicken Broth

Chinese Yam with Apples and Corn in Chicken Broth

Soup Name: Chinese Yam with Apples and Corn in Chicken Broth (with Ginger)

Traditional Chinese Name:  蘋果玉米淮山雞湯 (píng guǒ yù mǐ huái shān jī tāng)

A simple, clean chicken broth with just a hint of sweetness and a tang of spice (from the ginger). Depending on who your consumer is, add less or more ginger. For confinement, don’t be scared to throw it all in! This soup is easy to make, it’s got basic neutral ingredients and is great for the whole family!


What Ingredients are required?

1 fresh whole chicken, quartered
4-5 whole apples, cored and quartered
2 fresh corn, quartered
2 fresh pieces of Chinese Yam about 1 foot in length, peeling is optional, quartered
150 g of sliced fresh ginger (for confinement purposes)
2 L of water
salt to taste

How do I prepare it?

  1. Clean, prepare and blanch chicken in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes
  2. Set aside to cool
  3. Wash, prepare apples, corn and Chinese Yam
  4. Slice ginger thinly
  5. Boil your soup water, when it boils, add all the ingredients together
  6. Boil on high for about 30 minutes and reduce to a simmer for 1 hour
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • With ginger, it’s a slightly warm soup, but without it, it’s neutral
  • Pregnancy, confinement and child friendly
  • Sweet and fresh to the taste
  • Excellent source of Vitamins and hearty to eat

Any precautions?

  • For children, go easy on the ginger because that can really spice up the soup!
  • Be sure to clean, peel Chinese Yam with gloves as the outer skin of the Chinese Yam can make your fingers itchy (if you opt to peel the skin)

Similar soups:

Green Papaya, Fish & Dried Octopus Soup

Green Papaya, Fish & Dried Octopus Soup

Soup Name: Green Papaya, Fish & Dried Octopus Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:  木瓜魚湯 (mù gua yú tāng)

A popular and very common soup for confinement, but not limited to this special group of ladies. For confinement, you must use GREEN papaya (ie: raw, raw, raw – smoking green). The dried octopus helps in milk production as well as adding some flavor to the soup. Use small fish where possible (to limit the exposure to mercury) and setting the soup overnight in a thermal pot really helps bring out the flavors. You can make a big pot and drink for about 2-3 days (while reheating it). This soup generates a very rich, milky broth that is super nutritious, delicious and suitable for the whole family. Another key ingredient for confinement is the ginger – don’t discount the power of ginger!


What Ingredients are required?

100 g of ginger, sliced thinly
2 fresh fish, halved (for this recipe, I used 2 fresh Bartail Flatheads)
2 large green papayas
1 dried octopus, quartered

1 tsp of oil (to fry the fish & ginger)
2 L of water
salt to taste

How do I prepare it?

  1. Cut and soak the octopus in a bowl of warm water
  2. Thoroughly wash and clean the fish
  3. In a shallow pan on medium heat, add oil and ginger and when the oil is hot, add fish
  4. Fry the fish with the ginger on both sides until golden brown
  5. Remove from stove to let cool
  6. Boil your soup water
  7. Wash and peel papaya skin, cut into large edible portions
  8. When the water boils, add in fish, fried ginger, octopus and papaya
  9. Boil on medium heat for 1.5 hours
  10. Put into a thermal pot to keep warm or for reboil later

Any benefits?

  • This soup is rich vitamin C, carotenes and antioxidants
  • It is said to aid in milk production for breastfeeding women (use green papayas in this case)

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to use smaller fish (not the tiny fish, but a foot in length is OK) as the larger the fish, the more mercury content
  • You can consider using a soup bag for the fish, although the little fish tend to stick together if you just halve it

Similar soups:

The soup is a very rich, milky broth
Wood Ear & Red Dates Tea

Wood Ear & Red Dates Tea

Soup Name: Wood Ear & Red Dates Tea

Traditional Chinese Name:  木耳红枣茶 (mu er hóng zǎo chá)

This tea is posted as a post natal/confinement tea and is drank only within the first 0-5 days of confinement to help eliminate the lochia (not going to go into detail what lochia is, but please google it if you’re not sure). It’s a simple tea with 3 ingredients (the meat is optional if you’re vegetarian) and very easy to make. It’s a sweet, slightly tart tea and must be drank hot/warm. It’s one of the better tasting teas I know available for confinement! You can boil a whole big batch for 5 days worth, refrigerate and then reheat when needed or boil fresh batches everyday. It is recommended to drink 1-2 glasses a day (depending if you’ve got other teas or soups already filling your tummy!). Do not add additives like sugar or salt. Keep it clean, light and natural.


What Ingredients are required?

This portion yields only 1 cup of the tea.

100 g of pork shank
50 g of pitted red dates
50 g of dried wood ear
3 cups of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak your dates and wood ear for 10-15 minutes in cool water
  2. Boil your 3 glasses of water
  3. When the water boils, add all the ingredients together and boil on a medium boil (covered) for 1.5 hours
  4. Serve hot/warm directly as is

Any benefits?

  • This tea helps in discharging and eliminating the lochia
  • It helps the body regenerate and replace lost blood

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to pit the dates. The pits are said to be “CHO” – which is very heaty, but not in a good way
Boiled wood ear and red dates
Abalone in Chicken Soup

Abalone in Chicken Soup

Soup Name: Abalone in Chicken Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 鮑魚清雞湯 (bào yú qīng jī tāng)

This soup is a powered up version of the Chicken Herbal Soup. Packed with the natural sea-sweetness of the abalones and herbs, it’s a great soup for the cold winter months or confinement. You can eat the abalone as whole pieces (usually the smaller ones are cheaper, but it’s still an expensive soup), or sliced thinly and dipped in soy sauce.  Regardless, don’t waste the abalone!  In addition, I know it says Chicken soup, but the Chinese commonly also add a small pork shank or pork bone to their otherwise known as Chicken and even Fish soups.  You can’t get away from the staple pork.

What Ingredients are required?

1 fresh whole chicken, prepared and quartered
1 pound of fresh pork shank (or any other pork parts for soups is suitable)
6-7 fresh small abalones (or dried)
5-6 dried scallops (conpoys)
1 handful of wolfberries
20 g of dried peanuts (for soups)
20 g of euryale or fox nuts
5 sticks of dried Chinese yam
2 litres of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Prepare chicken (in quarters) by rinsing and blanching in a pot of boiling water (let it boil for about 2-3 minutes)
  2. Remove chicken and set aside
  3. Boil your pork in the same pot of boiling water as the chicken (for 2-3 minutes)
  4. Drain water and set aside
  5. Wash and clean abalone (with a toothbrush to be sure to brush off all the black residue)
  6. Wash and soak for 10 minutes all the dried herbs
  7. Boil your soup water
  8. When your soup water is boiling, add all the ingredients together
  9. Boil on high heat for 30 minutes and reduce to low boil for another 2 hours.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • 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)

Any precautions?

  • As the whole chicken can be oily, be sure to remove all oil before serving
  • Minimize herbs when used for children (above sampling suggested)
  • Peanuts are also introduced in this soup, so remove or avoid giving to children as suggested with potential peanut allergies

Similar soups:


Pig’s Feet with Ginger in Black Vinegar

Pig’s Feet with Ginger in Black Vinegar

Pig’s Feet with Ginger in Black Vinegar

Soup Name:

Pig’s Feet with Ginger in Black Vinegar, Ginger and Vinegar Trotter Soup, Pig’s Feet and Ginger Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

猪脚姜 (zhū jiǎo jiāng)


This is the ultimate traditional confinement food (or soup) in the Cantonese cuisine repertoire.   This dish is so amazing that people eat it just for the taste and not for confinement. 

It is consumed by men and women alike because it is flavorful and delicious.  The ingredients aren’t the easiest to obtain and it is not a remotely easy dish to make, but during confinement (when the mother can eat a bowl a day), it’s worth it to make a large pot and give to friends.  Traditionally, families will make large pots of this dish and give it out to friends and family to let them know that there is a new baby. 

For more information on what confinement is and the Chinese ingredients associated with confinement, please see our Confinement Soups page.

Some things to note on the directions for this soup is that it’s more a guide, rather than a true recipe.

Since my mom is a pro at this, she doesn’t really follow measurements and simply makes it according to personal taste – so I’ve tried to adapt this recipe to that style.

Some prefer it more spicy (add more ginger), some prefer it more sour (add more black rice vinegar), some prefer it sweeter (add more sweet vinegar or brown sugar) or some prefer super hard boiled eggs (keep them boiling in the vinegar for at least 2 days).

Regardless of how your taste ventures, make sure you have a bit of spare ingredients to adjust the taste to your preference.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 60 mins

Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins (for the soup)

Total time: 2 hours 30 mins

Serves: 10 bowls


  • 1 whole pig’s feet, halved and cut into edible sections
  • 10 large pieces of old fresh ginger (roughly 5000 grams)
  • 2 large bottles of sweet vinegar (1000 mL)
  • 1 large bottle of black rice vinegar (500 mL)
  • hard-boiled eggs

Preparing the Ginger

Ginger is the highlight of this dish.  That’s what makes it so potent, effective (to drive away the wind from the body), and gives it that little bit of spicy kick.

This part needs a good 1-2 days after you’ve purchased your ginger in bulk.  Usually, when I see people buying ginger at the wet marts in bulk, we all know what’s cooking!

For this soup, the ginger pieces are kept rather large in chunks with their skin off.  Once you peel the skin, don’t throw it out!  For confinement, it is the perfect foot soak (or bathe if you’d like) for post partum.  

Ginger preparation instructions:

  1. Wash ginger and then leave to air dry for at least 1 day
  2. Peel skin off ginger and dry both skin and peeled ginger (the skin is often used for bathing and soaking feet during confinement)
  3. Cut ginger into large pieces
  4. In a pan (or wok) on high heat with no oil, fry your ginger while stirring quickly for 5 minutes
  5. Take out of wok and set aside

Preparing the Vinegar Soup Base

    Be sure to use a clay or ceramic pot for these types of soups.  Traditionally, that’s all they had back then and it does keep the flavour of the soup quite pure and can be stored in the pot and re-boiled as often as needed.  In Hong Kong, the pre-made vinegar and even the soup itself are served, stored, and sold in clay pots.  It becomes quite the workout to lug these things around!
    1. In a large clay pot, add your sweet vinegar and turn on high heat until boiling
    2. Add in prepared ginger
    3. Reduce heat to low and boil (with cover) for an hour (until ginger is cooked)
    4. Set aside until ready to add pig’s feet.  I say this because during some confinements, people will have made the ginger-vinegar soup ahead of time in preparation for the birth of the baby.

    Preparing the Pig’s Feet

      There are also 2 parts to the preparation of raw pig’s feet.  The first is to ensure the protein itself is clean and suitable for consumption.  That means removing the hairs, the tougher parts of the skin, and the nails.  The second part is to blanch it in boiling water.  Interacting with the boiling water will immediately release all the insoluble protein, blood, bone bits, and fat, rendering it ready for soup production.
      1. To remove the hair from the pig’s feet, you can either burn it off over a gas grill (with a hot flame) or using a sharp knife, scrape it off
      2. Wash thoroughly in warm water
      3. Half and cut the pig’s feet into edible sizes
      4. Wash again in warm water (to remove the grits and bones)
      5. In a pot of boiling water, blanch your pig’s feet for 5-7 mins

      Preparing the Soup

          1. When ready to eat, scoop out as much ginger-vinegar soup as you’d like to prepare for your portion of pig’s feet (so that you can continue to use, add more or keep your soup base)
          2. Put into a smaller clay pot and apply medium heat until boiling.  Add in blanched pig’s feet and black rice vinegar (to taste).  The black rice vinegar will help soften the pig’s feet more.  Add hard boiled eggs if desired.
          3. Cover and boil on medium heat for 30 minutes (or until desired softness of feet).
          4. Serve and enjoy!

      FOLLOW OUR Confinement STORIES

      A selection of confinement Chinese Soups

      What is confinement and confinement stories

      Baby 5 & 6 Confinement story

      Some confinement foods for your tummy!

      The DO's and DON'T's of confinement


      Sugar Cane and Imperatae Drink

      Soup Name: Sugar Cane and Imperatae Drink Traditional Chinese Name: 竹蔗茅根 (zhú zhè máogēn)   For videos, visit us on YouTube. A traditional Chinese drink which helps cool the body and reduce heatiness. It’s natural sweetness is perfect for hot summer days and this...

      Your guide to COOLING and WARMING ingredients in Chinese Soups

      Your guide to COOLING and WARMING ingredients in Chinese SoupsDid your parents or grandparents ever tell you that you're too "yeet hay" (heaty) and would make you a cooling soup or tea or drink, such as watercress soup or winter melon and then go on to explain that it...

      Double-boiled Whole Winter Melon Soup

      I’ve always been in awe with the restaurant-styled whole winter melon soups – I mean, how on earth did they do that? They must have some giant double-boiler inside and it always taste so yummy! It’s a true favourite of mine when I go to Chinese restaurants to be able...

      The “Do’s” and “Don’t’s” of Chinese Confinement

      THE DO's and DON'T's Of Chinese Confinement It all starts with one key principle in Traditional Chinese Medicine:  Re-balance the Yin and Yang in the body. The energy in the body post birth is normally in an increased yin (cooling) state due to the loss of blood and...

      Chicken Wintermelon Soup for Summer!

      Soup Name:  Chicken Wintermelon Soup for Summer! Traditional Chinese Name:   冬瓜雞湯 (dōng guā jī tāng)  For more videos, visit us on YouTube.Here is a variation on the wintermelon soup using chicken as the protein instead of pork.  It's slightly cooling, helping to...

      Fragrant Pork and Cabbage Quick Boil Chinese Soup

      Soup Name: Fragrant Pork and Cabbage Quick Boil Chinese SoupFor more videos, visit us on YouTube.No time?  Cost saving?  Want something quick?  I've been making these quick boil Chinese soups for awhile now!  You can still make healthy and delicious soups without that...

      Homemade Do-it-yourself Wontons in a “Cheat” Chicken Broth

      Did you know that wontons literally means "cloud swallow" in Cantonese?  These little delights are like clouds and bite-sized enough to be swallowed in one gulp! For more videos, visit us on YouTube.Check out the video on how to create awesome wontons at home!   What...

      Turkey Chinese Congee (Porridge)

      Soup Name: Turkey Chinese Congee Traditional Chinese Name: 火雞粥 (huǒ jī zhōu) Introduction: What to do with a 19 pound turkey for a family of 6? Well, after carving it, you have more meat leftover than carcass and I’ve taken half of the carcass for congee and the other...

      A Do-It-Yourself Japanese Shabu Shabu Experience

      Check out this 2 part homemade broth and Japanese-styled shabu shabu experience!Serves: Party of 4-6 Prep Time:  30 mins Cook Time:  3 hours and 15 mins Eat Time:  Endless For more videos, visit us on YouTube.Check out the video on how to create an awesome and...

      Cooking Chinese Soups With a Thermal Induction Pot

      I could not contain my excitement when I got my new Thermal Induction Pot! Check out the video above for the unpack and how to use it.For more videos, visit us on YouTube. What makes this pot so special? Due to its engineered induction design, the pot itself will...