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
Gobo Root or Greater Burdock

Gobo Root or Greater Burdock

Gobo Root or Greater Burdock

Ingredient Name:

Gobo root, Gobo, Greater burdock, Edible burdock

Traditional Chinese Name:

牛蒡 (niúbàng)

For videos, visit us on YouTube.

 

  • The root of a of the greater burdock plant family that is mainly cultivated for its root and is considered a vegetable
  • The roots are brown and roughly 1-2 inches in diameter and can grow up to 1 meter in length
  • It has a white, slightly brown flesh that is crunchy in texture
  • Most commonly found in Japanese cuisine and specifically in Chinese medicine
  • It is sweet, earthy, and dark to taste and adds a wonderful flavor to soups, although it can be quite strong, so use less first and adjust as you need.  Do taste it!
  • Can be used fried, raw, processed or made into a drink

How do I prepare it?

          • Rinse the roots in warm water and optionally peel off skin prior to usage
          • I would suggest to soak in warm water for 10-15 minutes to remove the muddy harshness flavor associated with the root, but some like that earthy taste, which adds to the flavor, so this is your call
          • Cut into large bite-sizes for soups and consumption

Where can I buy it and cost?

      • Available in most Asian supermarkets

      • 5-6 foot long pieces cost around $5 CAD

Any benefits?

  • High in dietary fiber and low in calories and fat
  • Contains high amounts of calcium, potassium, iron and amino acids
  • As a Chinese medicine, it has a diuretic effect and promotes bowel movements
  • It is also effective in removing wind heat from the body as well as phlegm
  • Helps to reduce blood sugar, blood fat and blood pressure

Any precautions?

  • Some burdocks resemble another plant called nightshade and contamination may occur
  • Be sure to buy burdocks from a reputable source

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Chinese Yam (Fresh)

Chinese Yam (Fresh)

Chinese Yam (Fresh)

Ingredient Name:

Fresh Chinese Yam, Nagaimo, Yamaimo, Japanese Mountain Yam,  Korean Yam, Dioscorea Opposita

Traditional Chinese Name:

淮山 (huái shān)

For videos, visit us on YouTube.

 

This is the fresh version of the Chinese Yam, which is a white long root with a brown outer skin.  When fresh, the Chinese Yam is usually a thick white root that narrows down and has an outer brownish-yellow skin and a white interior.  It is tasteless, produces no colour in the soup, and is one of the common Chinese Soup pantry ingredients.  It’s used in soups, stews, and sometimes even desserts!  There are a few variety of these types of Chinese Yams, including a fresh Japanese variant, which is just as yummy in soups.

When handling Japanese Yam, do wear gloves.  The Yam itself is slippery and produces a milky substance once you peel it.  The milky substance can also make your hands itchy, so I will always wear gloves when I’m handling this root.

The root itself is very neutral and great for both warming and cooling soups.  This root tends to absorb the flavour of the soup and is to be eaten as part of the meal if you like starchy foods.  If you do keep it too long in the soup though, it will disintegrate.  I will use both dried and fresh version of this in a lot of the soups here!  A great ingredient overall! 

How do I prepare it?

          • If you’re buying the fresh root, rinse with cool water first
          • Wearing gloves, you can peel the skin off and you’ll feel a slippery, white film from the root
          • Then rinse under running water to remove as much of the white film as possible before cutting
          • On a clean cutting board, I will cut these into large 2-inch cubes so they don’t disintegrate that easily into the soup

Any benefits?

      • It is often used in combination with meats and other Chinese herbs to help digestion and regular sugar levels
      • Traditionally it is used to relieve stomach pains and diarrhea
      • When boiled with chicken and a variety of other Chinese herbs, it is an ideal confinement soup as it helps control inflammation of the uterus

Any precautions?

  • For some people, touching raw Chinese Yam will make their hands itchy – be sure to wear gloves as you peel the skin, wash and prep the root
  • Excess consumption is known to cause frequent urination and perspiration

Example of how to prepare Chinese Yam in this soup video

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