A healthy delicious chicken soup, made with Chinese herbal ingredients, which can easily be found at any Chinese herbal shops. The Chinese herbs used are Chines yam (shan yao or huai shan), astragalus (huang qi), goji berries (gou qi zi), and Chinese red dates (hong Zao). According to the recipe, the herbs are to be tied in a cheesecloth (except for the goji berries and red dates), then add to the pot and simmer, so that they can be easily removed before serving the soup. I have however, did not use any cheesecloth and simply placed the herbs in the pot.
I have omitted the soy sauce since I have used a small pinch of salt. The herbs are not meant to be eaten, though the goji berries and red dates can be consumed, they contribute the sweetness to the soup. Use free range chicken if possible, it makes a whole lot of difference to soups like this.
This is a tasty soup with healthful properties from the herbs.
The dried herbs
Healthful Herbal Chicken Soup
(Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen by Yuan Wang, Warren Sheir and Mika Ono)
2 to 3 pounds chicken pieces (drumsticks, thighs, etc.. or chopped from 1/2 chicken)
8 cups water
a pinch of salt
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, slivered into 1/16-inch slices
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
6 to 8 medium-size pieces (20 grams) dried Chinese yam (shan yao or huai shan)
6 medium-size pieces (about 20 grams) astragalus (huang qi)
1 rounded tablespoon (10 grams) goji berries (gou qi zi)
6 to 8 (10 grams) Chinese red dates (hong zao), seeded
2 tablespoons rice wine
2 green onions, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces, roots and tough tips discarded
3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste (omitted)
- In a large soup pot, combine the chicken, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Skim off any excess oil or fat.
- Tie the ginger, garlic, Chinese yam, and astragalus together in a piece of cheesecloth (just place the herbs in the center and tie the ends). This will make it easy to remove the herbs later.
- Add the cheesecloth bag of herbs and the goji berries, Chinese red dates, and wine to the pot. Bring it back to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered with the lid slightly ajar, for 45 to 60 minutes. Skim off any excess oil or fat.
- When the soup is done, remove and discard the bag of herbs.
- Add soy sauce to taste and garnish with the green onions.
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