Soups are a big part of Chinese Cuisine because they are tasty, healthy and nutritious. Many parts of China consider soups as both nourishing with medicinal benefits, in fact there is a huge subcategory (Yaoshan) of Chinese Cooking that involves making soups with Herbal Ingredients. The practice of Yaoshan goes back at least as far as the Zhou dynasty (1046 – 256 BCE), when royal families employed “dietetic doctors” (食医) to prepare healthy diets. One of the most common Medicinal Chinese Soups is Yaoshan Chicken Soup (藥膳雞湯) or Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup.
This recipe I am going to share is inspired from Chinesesichuanfood.com. (link at the bottom of the article).
Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup
- 1 organic chicken (Yellow-Feather Chicken 黃毛雞 or Silkie Chicken 烏雞)
- 3 liters of water
- 1 small thumb ginger
- salt to taste
- Herbal Soup Mix
Herbal Soup Mix - Click Here To Purchase
Astragalus Root (Huang Qi 黃芪)
- Tonifies Qi and Strengthening Resistance
- Promotes Urination and Expels Toxin
- Expels Pus
- Promotes Tissue Regeneration and Sore Healing
Astragalus is one of only 13 herbs in the world that is labeled as Scientifically "Adaptogenic", which means that it has the unique capability to reduce the levels of stress hormones in your blood, therefore helping you to easily “adapt” to difficult environments, such as cold weather, stress from work or fatigue. It is used to strengthen the inner energy of the body, boost the immune system, increase energy levels and increase resistance of the body to combat overworking and stress.
Codonopsis Root (Dang Shen 黨參)
- Treats Qi Deficiency Syndrome and Nourishes Qi
- Strengthens the Spleen and Lungs
An excellent anti-aging herb that helps combat Chronic Fatigue, Stress, Adrenal Fatigue and Digestive Problems. Also assists in Immune Defense, Digestive, Urinary Health and Brain Function.
Dried Chinese Yam (Huai Shan 淮山 / Shan Yao 山藥)
- Tonifies the Spleen
- Nourishes the Stomach
- Nourishes the Lungs
- Tonifies the Kidneys
- Increases Fluid Absorption
Long been credited with tons of health benefits because of its effectiveness in tonifying the Kidney and Spleen. This herb enhances energy, aids digestion and absorption, aids in tissue repair and helps alleviate fatigue.
Dried Goji Berries (Gou Qi Zi 枸杞子)
- Nourishes and Tonifies the Liver and Kidneys
- Improves Vision
In TCM, poor eyesight is manifested by poor health of the Liver. Liver is a major organ involved in detoxification and toxins buildup in the body when Liver Health is not at its optimal state. This can occur when your body is malnourished, presence of inflammation in the body or even just an eye strain from staring at computer screens and documents for long periods of time.
Dried Longan (Long Yan 龍眼肉)
- Tonifies the Heart
- Nourishes the Spleen
- Nourishes the Blood
- Calms the Mind
High nutritional value, packed with vitamins and contains active anti-aging properties. Helps to promote restful sleep, replenishing blood and Qi.
Black Dates (Hei Zao 黑棗 / Da Zao 大棗)
- Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach
- Tonifies the Blood
Take out all of the ingredients in the Herbal Soup Mix. Rinse all of the ingredients thoroughly. Place them in a soup pot and soak with water for 30 minutes.
Cut chicken into small pieces (or leave the chicken as a whole, whichever you prefer) and blanch in a pot of boiling water with 3-4 slices of ginger. This process removes the dirt and blood water from the bones. Remove the chicken and transfer them to the soup pot.
Add more water into the pot until all of the ingredients are covered. Bring the soup to a boil and then slowly simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour.
Season with salt before serving.