Chinese believed that we have to constantly provide adequate nutrition and cleanse our body. This is especially so when the weather was cold and the body’s immunity and resistance are week. Therefore, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), herbs and tonics are required to maintain our body in top notch condition to fight against any disease. I am no expert in TCM and I will not simply ask any readers to cook Chinese herbal soup based on my own recipe. Chinese usually go to the medical hall (stores) or medicine practitioners to get the relevant herbs mix for the preparation of herbal soup. However, nowadays, there are ready herbal mix in the supermarket and we usually bought this ready herbal mix based on the instructions and explanations stated in the package.
Last week, I bought a ready herbal mix package from a supermarket in Singapore. It claims to be the chicken herbal mix for the imperial family.I have prepared the soup using a crockpot or Asian slow cooker. I put all in the slow cooker, went out for my weekly marketing and when I am back for dinner, the herbal soup is ready.
THE HERBAL MIX
As per the herbal package it was stated that the role of the soup: “ GINSENG HELPS TO IMPROVE IMMUNITY AND BODY RESISTANCE. IT ALSO HELPS TO IMPROVE BLOOD CIRCULATION ESPECIALLY GOOD FOR THOSE WHO HAS JUST RECOVERED FROM ILLNESS”. The herbal mix comprises of a number of herbs stated as below:
Gingeng’s (人参）purported health benefits include improved immunity, increased stamina, sharpened mental and physical performance and improved blood pressure. It is also used to treat erectile dysfunction, hepatitis C and symptoms related to menopause. Results are inconclusive, but some studies have shown that ginseng may lower blood glucose. Other studies suggest the root can lead to improvement in immune function. http://www.canyonranch.com/your-health/health-healing/healing-therapies/eastern-medicine/introduction-chinese-herbs
Astragalus (北芪) is said to prevent and treat common colds and upper respiratory infections, and it’s usually combined with other herbs that also help support and strengthen the immune system, such as ginseng, angelica and liquorice. http://www.canyonranch.com/your-health/health-healing/healing-therapies/eastern-medicine/introduction-chinese-herbs
Codonopsisi （党参 ） Main Codonopsis uses and indications include deficiency in lung and spleen, shortness of breath and heart palpitations, reduced appetite, loose stools, deficient asthma and cough, and heat diabetes http://www.chineseherbshealing.com/codonopsis-dang-shen/
Goof berry (Boxthorn Fruit) （枸杞子） Key goji berry uses and indication are the deficiency of liver and kidney, light-headedness, blurred vision, soreness and weakness of waist and knees, ED (erectile dysfunction) and damage of essence, consumptive cough, extreme thirst, and so on. http://www.chineseherbshealing.com/goji-berry/
Lotus Seeds (Nelumbo Nucifera) （莲子 ） Prime lotus seed uses and indications include chronic diarrhoea or dysentery because of spleen deficiency, emission due to the kidney deficiency, urinary incontinence, uterine bleeding, morbid leucorrhea, restlessness, palpitation, and insomnia. http://www.chineseherbshealing.com/lotus-seed/
Rhizoma polygonati -（玉竹） Essential rhizoma polygonati uses and indications include consumptive cough due to deficiency of yin, lung dryness cough, lacking in strength caused by spleen deficiency, reduced appetite and mouth dryness, diabetes, soreness and weakness of waist and knees due to kidney deficiency, impotence and nocturnal emission, tinnitus and dim eyesight, premature greying, thinness and weakness, and leprosy and ringworm http://www.chineseherbshealing.com/rhizoma-polygonati/
Dioscorea Opposita (Chinese Yam) （山药/淮山） Chinese yam is used to treat weak digestion with fatigue and diarrhoea, general weakness, frequent urination, decreased appetite, leukorrhagia (excessive vaginal discharge), premature ejaculation, the symptoms associated with diabetes, and chronic wheezing (whistling sound caused by breathing difficulty) and coughing. http://www.healthline.com/galecontent/chinese-yam#2
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Sensing that some international readers may not be able that get the ready mix herbal package, therefore, I have listed out the ingredients and for those readers who are interested, they can just provide the recipe (herbal mix) to the traditional Chinese medicine stores and they will be able to get ready all these dried herbs. In my humble opinion, not all ingredients are necessary and it can be as simple as just one or two common herbs such as ginseng and wolfberry bypassing the use of other exotic herbs.
- 10 grams Astragalus Membranaceus 北芪*
- 20 grams Boxthorn Fruit (Wolfberry) 枸杞
- 15 grams Codonopsis Pilosula 党参
- 11 grams Dioscorea Opposita 淮山*
- 25 grams Polygonatum Odoratum 玉竹
- 14 grams Ginseng 人参
- 15 grams Nelumbo Nucifera (Lotus Seeds) 莲子
- 1 whole chicken
* Not in picture and placed under the Codonopsis Pilsula
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Wash the chicken thoroughly, take out any hairs and chopped off head and legs. Stuff all the herbs inside the body and place it in a slow cooker or crockpot. Put in water to cover about 75% of the chicken body.
- Use the slow cooker or crockpot to cook for at least 2-3 hours. The chicken meat should be very soft and tender at the end of slow cooking. I have selected the auto mode for this illustration. Instead of stuffing the herbs inside the the chicken body, you can use a herbs cloth bag and put it in the crockpot. Should you feel that the soup is too greasy, you can let the soup cool, put it in the fridge, let the fats solidify and reheat the soup before serving.
- Best served hot with white rice.
Note that Chinese herbal chicken shall not have add any seasonings (including salts) and when serving, no condiment were given too. However, if you feel that it is too bland for your liking, we will eat it with some dark soya sauce.
Chinese believes that Autumn is the right time to nourish you and prepare your body to overcome the cold winter. Why not try to prepare this herbal chicken for your family. However, it should be noted that it is best to consult a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner to get the right herbs mix. If you have difficult to get the right herbs, just ginseng and wolfberry shall be sufficient for this tasty soup.
Hope you like this post today. Cheers and have a nice day.
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