Turtle with Lean Pork Soup

Soup Name: Turtle and Lean Pork Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 水魚瘦豬肉湯 (shuǐ yú shòu zhū ròu tāng)

Introduction:

A warm and healing soup, it’s often recommended for cold winter days or confinement.  The turtle meat is said to be a nourishing meat (similar to chicken) and should be avoided if you are sick.   From our experience, even when properly cleaned, soft-shelled turtle meat may have a taste of the “sea” and may require ginger to counter the taste.

See a lighter variation of this soup here: Longan Meat in Turtle Soup

What Ingredients are required?

1 whole fresh soft shell turtle
1 pound of fresh pork shank
15 dried longans
6 slices of dried Chinese yam
3 slices of ginger
8 dried dates (for sweetness.  Use red dates for confinement soups.)
3 – 4L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Pre-marinate the pork with salt and let sit for at least one hour (overnight is best)
  2. Wash turtle meat and shell
  3. In a pan, fry meat and shell with ginger on high heat until cooked
  4. Blanch the pork in a separate pot of boiling water
  5. Boil your soup water
  6. Soak and wash dried longans, Chinese yams, and dates
  7. When the water boils, add all the ingredients together
  8. Boil on high for 30 minutes and then simmer on medium heat for another 3 hours.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Any Benefits?

  • A nourishing soup ideal for confinement
  • Good for urinary infections and bladder
  • Helps with asthma and breathing complications (such as shortage of breath)
  • The shell is an excellent source of collagen

Any precautions?

  • Thoroughly clean and wash turtle, including the shell
  • This soup is “heaty”
  • Do not drink turtle (or chicken) soup if you are sick

(Confinement) Deer Antler Healing Soup

Soup Name: (Confinement) Deer Antler Healing Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 鹿茸高麗參雞湯 (Lù róng gāo lì cān Jī tāng)

Introduction:

A pretty traditional (although the ingredients aren’t easy to find) Chinese confinement soup.  High quality Korean ginseng is not a cooling ingredient and is extremely beneficial in aiding the body in healing.  You can really taste the fire or “hotness” in this soup as it literally does warm your body.  While this soup does not contain your more mainstream ingredients, it is a traditional recipe that is passed down from generation to generation.  There are a few variations of this soup, but a majority of the time, the key ingredients are always there.  For more information on what confinement is and the Chinese ingredients associated with confinement, please see our Confinement Soups page.

Ingredients:

1 fresh whole chicken, prepared
1 pound of fresh pork shank
5-6 slices of deer antler, washed
5-6 slices of Korean ginseng, washed
5 large red dates
1 L of boiling hot water

How do I prepare it

  1. Blanch the pork and chicken in a pot of boiling water
  2. In a separate pot of boiling water, add all the ingredients together and boil on high heat for 30 minutes
  3. Here you can either turn your soup onto medium and let it continue to simmer for another 2 hours or transfer soup into a ceramic pot and double boil for 2 hours (the objective to intensive the flavor of the soup with the Chinese herbs)
  4. Serve hot

Any benefits?

  • Effective drink in removing “wind” from the body
  • Helps warm the body
  • Assists in helping those in confinement get lots of fluid into the body and to help flush the system
  • Also helps to improve water levels in the body (especially for those mothers who are breastfeeding)

Any precautions?

  • The “heatiness” of this drink may be too much for some people (especially those with naturally “colder” bodies)
  • Be sure to buy high quality ingredients from a reputable source as expensive Chinese herbs often have counterfeits
  • These types of soups are not recommended for children

(Confinement) Black Bean, Rice and Ginger Water

Soup Name: (Confinement) Black Bean, Rice and Ginger Water – sometimes called Teas

Traditional Chinese Name: 黑豆姜水 (Hēi dòu jiāng shuǐ)

Introduction:

This is a traditional confinement drink that is said to help reduce “wind” in the body and “warm” it up to help with the healing process after giving birth.  These are common ingredients found in various confinement soups, teas and recipes (especially ginger).  Some people make a large batch of the black bean and ginger mixture and steep it like teas for drinking everyday throughout their confinement.  For more information on what confinement is and the Chinese ingredients associated with confinement, please see our Confinement Soups page.

Ingredients:

Prep:
1 teaspoon of oil
2 tablespoons of ginger juice, pulp optional
1 cup of black beans, rinsed
1 cup of white rice, rinsed
1/2 cup of water, to cook rice

Drink/Tea:
1 cup of boiling hot water

How do I prepare it

  1. In a frying pan, heat up oil on medium heat.
  2. When oil is hot, add black beans, white rice and ginger juice and cook for 2 minutes, constantly stirring
  3. Add 1/2 cup of water and continue to stir and mixture until all the water evaporates.  Be sure to adjust the heat accordingly to prevent burning.
  4. Once mixture is dry and golden brown (see picture below) and cooked, set aside and cool.
  5. In a cup, scoop 1 tablespoon of mixture and add hot water to it.  Steep for 10 minutes and drink hot.

Any benefits?

  • Effective drink in removing “wind” from the body
  • Helps warm the body
  • Assists in helping those in confinement get lots of fluid into the body and to help flush the system
  • Also helps to improve water levels in the body (especially for those mothers who are breastfeeding)

Any precautions?

  • The “heatiness” of this drink may be too much for some people (especially those with naturally “colder” bodies), so start slow with the ginger if you’re uncertain
  • The more ginger you add, the spicier this drink gets.  It is far subtler if you use just the ginger juice.

Red Dates

Red Dates

Red Dates

Ingredient Name:

Red Dates (also known as jujubes, or Chinese dates)

Traditional Chinese Name:

红枣 (hóng zǎo)

 

This is a MUST HAVE in your Chinese soup (or cooking) pantry!  These little round, shriveled bright red fruit can come in a variety of sizes, cuts, shapes, and with or without seeds.  The fresh fruit itself is seeded in its mature state produced by the Ziziphus zizyphus trees, which are commonly found in Asia and some parts of Europe and India.  In Chinese cuisine, it’s actually one of our staple ingredients and I keep some in my kitchen pantry all year round.  They are found in Chinese soups, desserts, stews, and dishes, as well as eaten as dried snacks and in teas.

How do I prepare it?

    The only preparation needed for dried red dates is to rinse with warm water and to pit the seeds if needed.  To remove the seeds from the fruit, I use a pair of clean scissors and just snip them away (see video of the Red Dates and Longan Chinese Herbal Tea for preparation of the red dates).  You can buy them pitted or unpitted at your local Chinese supermarket or wet market.
    It’s quite interesting to observe the varying firmness and hardness of these dried fruits.  You’ll find red dates that are softer and squishier, so much easier to cut.  

Where can I buy it and cost?

      • You can purchase red dates from most Asian supermarkets prepackaged
      • You can also purchase this in bulk from specialty stores (online herbal shops)
      • The one thing I did notice is that the Chinese prepared ones are different from Western prepared red dates.  So just check to be sure they look like the above photos.  

What is the cost?

      • A package costs around $3-5 CAD

      • However, if you buy direct from the Chinese dried food stores, the prices will also range depending on the quality of the dried red dates and whether they are pitted or not, with pitted being more expensive.

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
      • A common ingredient found for Chinese confinement

Any precautions?

      • Be sure you are buying red dates from a reputable source as some red dates do carry diseases

      • For soups, use pitted 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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Astragalus Root

Ingredient Name:  Astragalus Root, Huang Qi, Bei Qi, Milk Vetch

Chinese Name: 黃耆 (huang qi) or 北芪 (bei qi)

What is this?
  • It is a very common Chinese herb and can be found in the household soups (as well as in Chinese medicine)
  • The astragalus root comes from a legume (specifically the pea family) and may also be called yellow milk vetch
  • The root looks like dried wood and is usually light in body color with some dark pigmentation
  • It is normally prepared as pictured above in thin, long pieces
  • The herb is said to offer multiple health benefits and is often used to strengthen qi, boost the body’s immune system and help with heart functions
  • It is slightly heaty with a slightly sweet taste

How do I prepare it?

  • Simply rinse under running water and it is ready to use

Where can I buy this?

  • The astragalus root can be purchased at most Chinese dried herb shops

What is the cost?

  • 1 pound of dried astragalus root costs approximately $10 CAD

Any benefits?

  • The astragalus root has been a steple of chinese medicine for centuries and is often used to strengthen qi and boost the body’s immune system
  • According to Western medicine astragalus helps to stimulate the body by producing a substance known as interferon while boosting red blood cell formation. Interferon, an anti viral agent, helps the body when destroying viruses and other harmful microbes
  • The astragalus is a common ingredient to help build, retain and maintain heat in the body
  • Another benefit of astragalus is its ability to boost energy levels and vitality. Also, astragalus root has been linked to improving blood circulation

Any precautions?

  • When used appropriately, astragalus appears to be very safe and to have few side effects
  • However, very high doses may suppress the immune system