I like to make Herbal Chicken Soup once in a while, as a health tonic. I drank this soup quite regularly after giving birth and always felt revitalised after it. This, as well as Chicken Wine, were my favourite confinement dishes.
I may not have followed every confinement 'rule' faithfully - some may have been relevant back in ancient China, but certainly not in modern Singapore - but I sure observed the eating part! What's not to like? Confinement food is absolutely delish! All those herbs and tonics made a world of difference to my postpartum recovery and my body thanked me for it.
Today, I added a little Dang Gui to the chicken soup. Not everyone likes it for it's got a very pungent, earthy smell. But I do. And surprisingly, my daughter doesn't seem to mind either. Great, someone to share the soup with!
Now, I can't quite recall when or where I saw this, but I remember very distinctly watching a documentary where a Chinese physician cautioned against brewing herbs in metal pots. It is said that metal reduces the efficacy of herbs drastically. I can't verify this, but I would rather err on the side of caution ... so, I have always used a crockpot whenever I want to make anything with herbs.
I love soups for the nourishment and comfort they provide. They fill your tummy and warm your heart. This Herbal Chicken Soup is a delight to partake in cool weather, due to its warming properties. Just give me a bowl of rice and a saucer of light soy, and my meal is complete.
- 1 fresh chicken
- 1 large soup bowl boiling water
- 1 soup spoon cognac (optional)
Herbs (names in English / Cantonese / Chinese)
Wolfberries (aka Kei Chi / Gou Ji Zi) - 1 handful
Codonopsis Pilosula (aka Dong Sum / Dang Shen) - 2 or 3 sticks, cut in half (get the good quality ones; the cheaper type, which is shorter, tends to be bitter)
Polygonatum Officinale (aka Yoke Chok / Yu Zhu) - 4 or 5 slivers
Chinese Angelica (aka Dong Kwai / Dang Gui) - 2 to 3 small pieces
Red dates (Hong Zou / Hong Zao) - 1 small handful, pitted
1. Wash chicken and place it in a crockpot.
2. Rinse all herbs and throw them in.
3. Add 1 large soup bowl of boiling hot water.
4. Add 1 soup spoon of cognac, if desired.
5. Boil for 2 hours. Skim off as much oil as you can from the surface. Enjoy!