Chinese herbal soup
Cantonese love soups.
There are soups for every weather condition, every season and very occasion. There are soups to warm your body, or to cool your temper. The key to a good soup is to balance all the ingredients for maximum nurturing effect. Snow fungus with goji and chicken is one of these well-balanced soups that can rejuvenate your mind and soul.
Snow fungus, also known as the silver fungus, is sometimes recognized as the champion of all fungus. Historically it was used by the royals and rich families as a remedy to boost their health, with supposedly nurturing effects for internal organs, skin and brain, as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects.
Goji berries as a herbal remedy, was documented in various ancient Chinese medicine compendiums dated as early as the 1500’s. Today, it is a common Chinese ingredient with supposedly positive effects on liver, kidney, sore back, joints, tiredness and poor eye sight. Families use it frequently in soups and teas.
Sounds like a magic, doesn’t it. The soup is warm, gentle and comforting. Hope you will like it.
Easy method is as follows:
Some weeks ago I posted a Chinese herbal soup called ‘QinBuLiang’, translated as ‘refreshing, nurturing and cooling’. As you can figured out from its translation, QinBuLiang is a summer stress remedy – not often used during cold weather.
This week the weather in Sydney suddenly turned. Autumn is finally here with chill evenings and nights. I can visualize the Cantonese families pulling out their stock pots, cooking herbal soups to enhance ‘chi’. One of the great remedy for restoring energy in autumn is a ginseng soup. For autumn, I like to use the American ginseng (Hua Qi Shen 花旗参) which is not too intense, a good balance for yin and yang in the body.
The soup is very simple to make once you have the soup base and meat. The soup base I used is called Hua Qi Shen Dun Ji (picture below), and I used pork rib (500g) with this soup. First quickly the meat and rinse under cold water; then cook all ingredients in a pressure cooker for 45 minutes (2-3 hours on a cook top); add salt and ready to serve.
On cool days, I often like my soup in a cup – it gives me that simplest pleasure of warm hands.
See below for the ginseng soup base package (available in Asian stores).
Feeling stressed and tired?
In China there was a popular style of living, called YangShen (養生), meaning to nurture life for health and happiness. Alongside with the concept of peace and harmony, YangShen also promotes a healthy lifestyle which interpreted by many food-loving Cantonese as eating well, fine tea drinking and to enjoy a variety of healing herbal soups.
This herbal soup is called QinBuLiang (清補涼), meaning refreshing, nurturing and cooling. It is often served when a family member is stressed, anxious or with dry coughs.
The QinBuLiang soup base contains pearl barley (YiMi 薏米), lotus seeds (LianZi 蓮子), goji berries (GouQi 枸杞), fox nuts (Qianshi 芡實 ), Chinese yam (HuaiSan 淮山) and Solomon’s seal rhizome (YuZu 玉竹), each has commonly recognized healing benefits. The soup is cooked with pork meat and bones to enhance its flavor. I often add a couple tablespoons of dried longan fruit to give it a hint of sweetness to what otherwise quite a bland soup.