I have been trying much to eat healthier these days. Starting with brown rice which I used to detest, but has generally becomes very acceptable nowadays. And also trying to prepare a home cooked soup as often as possible.
It’s not difficult to prepare any soups, basically is “dumping” everything into a soup boiler or slow cooker which is what I did and allowing it to simmer for a couple of hours. But the question is perhaps what kind of soup is good for what purpose. I have quite a penchant for Herbal soup recently because it somehow helps to “warm up” my body which is rather on the “cold” side. On a Chinese medical note, the herbs used in Herbal Chicken Soup can help to alleviate the “chills” in the body.
Here’s a pictogram on the different herbs that I have used in the soup.
And here’s a very practical summary of the individual herb’s benefits and purposes :
(With credit to : http://www.homemade-chinese-soups.com/chinese-herbs.html & http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-american-ginseng/.)
Chinese yam 淮山 has been recorded as having the ability to enhance vigour, promote muscle growth and repair worn-out tissue, and alleviate bodily weakness after a long-term illness. This Chinese herb has also been used to counter diabetes, diarrhoea, kidney defects, coughing and dehydration. It can, however, cause frequent urination and perspiration.
Chinese Angelica Root 当归 has a very important place in women’s health. It is highly valued for the treatment for a host of women’s illnesses. It is supposed to strengthen the blood, nourish the female reproductive organs, regulate menstruation and alleviate period pains.
Chinese Wolfberries 枸杞子 is a natural supplement for improving eyesight especially if poor eyesight is caused by malnutrition, vessel expansion and inflammation. Consuming wolfberries may help if you experience eye strain from staring at computer screens and documents for long periods of time. Wolfberries are also beneficial for the liver.
Codonopsis Root 党参 promotes salivation and aid digestion, relieves diarrhoea and severe coughing, reduces nausea and weakness after severe bleeding. Activates metabolism and improves blood circulation, stabilises nervousness and counters extreme mental and physical fatigue.
American Ginseng Root 泡参 influences energy metabolism by helping muscles work longer before becoming fatigued. It promotes normal blood sugar, boosts the immune system, soothes intestinal irritation and supports normal brain function, memory and thought.
Red Dates 红枣 contains Vitamin B, C, E, P, phosphorus, calcium, iron and more. It is also found that cyclic adenosine monophosphate found in red dates can slow down the growth of cancer cells.
Solomon’s Seal 玉竹 contains Vitamin A and is believed to be moisturising and therefore an excellent Chinese herb for use in dry winters where skin tends to become very dry. It is also used in the lowering of blood sugar levels and prevention of hardening of the arteries. Solomon’s seal is believed to be excellent for alleviating a host of ills, including throat and lungs ailments. Excellent for diabetic patients suffering from thirst and dryness.
Hopefully this little summary can enable all of us to have better understanding of the benefits of the herbs use and at least we understand what we are actually eating and how they are affecting our health.
And I have the habit of blanching any poultry in boiling water (沸水) prior to simmering them in the soup to remove the excess oils and impurities so that the soup can turn out clearer. I would also do an extra step of skimming off the oils and impurities that float onto the surface on the soup a second time, to ensure the soup is even clearer. Might seem tedious and extra but since the time and effort is already taken to ensure a healthy soup is brewed, might as well ensure what you gonna have is something that’s pure and good for its best purposes, isn’t it ?
And fresh chicken from PurelyFresh online is what I used to ensure the home brewed soup is at its all time goodness !
Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup 中式药材鸡汤
Recipe type: Soups
- 1 whole chicken leg, bone in
- 1 pc of chinese yam
- 2 pcs of chinese angelica root
- 2 pcs of codonopsis root
- 1 tbsp wolfberries
- 3 pcs red dates
- 4-5 pcs of american gineseng root
- 4-5 pcs of soloman’s seal
- 600ml of water
- salt / chicken powder to taste
- Cut the chicken into small pieces and blanch them in boiling water for approximately 1 minute.
- Drain the chicken parts well.
- Place all the herbs,chicken and water in a slow cooker and allow it to simmer for approximately 3 hours on “auto” mode. Alternatively, you can simmer it over a stove top for around 1 hour.
- Add and adjust salt or chicken powder to taste. Serve hot.