Chinese Herbal Soup – Strength/Blood Tonic

I have been feeling run down and tired lately so I decided to make some herbal soup in our newly acquired crockpot to help replenish vigour and promote blood/haemoglobin production.

Herbs:

Astralagus – Huang Qi
Codonopsis (Dange Shen) or Ginseng
Dioscorea – Shan Yao
Polygonatum/Solomon’s Seal – Huang Jing
Red Dates/Jujubes – Da Zao
Lotus Seed
Longan (dried or fresh; remove pip)
Black Fungus/Cloud Ear Fungus
Dried goji berries/wolfberries

 

Herbs

Amount of herbs I used. From top left clockwise: Solomon's Seal, Astralagus, Diascorea, Liquorice Root, Goji Berries, Dried Longans, Black Fungus, Lotus Seeds and Red Dates.

4 whole cloves of garlic
About a 3cm knob of ginger – peeled and sliced

Other Ingredients:

1 whole small chicken (skin peeled off)
½ head of celery – chopped
5 carrots (depends on the size – they’ve been pretty small at Coles lately) – chopped

Method:

  1. Place the whole chicken in a large pot, fill with cold/tepid water and bring to a boil.
  2. After boiling for about 10-15 mins, chuck away the water and wash the chicken under cold water. This is to remove as much fat/oil from the chicken as possible. You can peel the chicken skin at this step as well if you haven’t peeled it before boiling.
  3. Place chicken in the crockpot with all the herbs, fill with hot water and bring to a boil. After that, bring it down to a simmer and let it simmer for as long as you like. I’ve heard 5 hours is a good amount of time.
  4. In the last hour or so of your self appointed simmering time, add the carrots and celery and bring to a boil.

 

Soup!

Soup! After 1 week it made my toenails pink 🙂

Tips:

  1. Important: do NOT boil/simmer the herbs in a metal pot. Only use ceramic or clay as the metal will react with some herbs. You can parboil the chicken in a metal pot, but not Step 3 onwards.
  2. You can use chicken pieces if peeling is not your thing. Chicken bones make the stock tastier but not necessary.
  3. Drink the soup as soon as possible for maximum benefit. Everything can be eaten except for the Astralagus as it is too fibrousy.
  4. Keep the lid on when boiling/simmering to retain certain medicinal properties.
  5. Black chicken is less fatty than normal chicken so that is preferable. I saw it for AUD$15/kg at the butcher’s in Market City, Chinatown and decided that the AUD$5/kg Coles variety is good enough for me  :p
  6. Make sure you heat the soup thoroughly post refrigeration to prevent salmonellosis. The entire portion of soup must reach a minimum of 60°C for 60 seconds to ensure safe consumption.

I’m sorry I haven’t posted quantities of herbs as this is my first time and I suppose its trial and error to find a good combination. I like herby soups having grown up with Bah Ku Teh so stronger is better for me, but other people might prefer it to be subtle so it is really up to you. Generally you can’t really taste the herbs since the soup is quite sweet and tasty.

Medicinal properties of the herbs will be posted separately since I hate long posts (don’t you?  :p ).

Enjoy!

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