10.2.09

My Traditions: Chicken Soup with Chinese Medicine


Clockwise: Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica), Hua Qi Sheng (American Ginseng), Gou Qi Zi (Wolfberry)

When you think of Chicken Soup, what comes to your mind? For me, I will have the image of a steaming hot bowl of soup with a fat plump chicken in the centre. Whatever ingredients you placed in them, be it in Chinese or Western traditions, the Chicken Soup is one of the best soups for your body.

Let's talk about the Chicken Soup in western recipes. They usually involve Carrots, Onions and Celery. In Croatia, Celeriac is used instead of Celery. And in the winter months, parsley roots are added as well. All these vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals that most of the time we may not include in our diets. But don't we all know that the Chicken Soup is the best cure for Colds?

In my mum's kitchen, we do it the traditional Chinese way. Chicken Soup is the foundation of introducing the good Chinese Medicine to our diets that we will not eat on its own. See the picture featured above? These are 3 of the herbs/medicine that I used in my Chicken Soup.

In this post, I would like to introduce you to Dang Gui which is the one of the most important medicine for women's health. It is also known as the Chinese Angelica(Wikipedia link right here). In the picture, the root has been sliced. We do not usually cook the whole root in our soups but few slices of a single root. Why is it valued in Chinese medicine? It is believed to regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce the symptoms of Pre-menstrual Syndrome. Although it is deemed a medicine for women, when paired with the right herbs/medicines, it can improve the one's overall health regardless of gender.

How does Dang Gui taste like? Well, the raw root has a stronger smell than most Chinese root medicines. And as with most Chinese medicines, it has a rather Bitter taste. We usually associate this taste with that of the Bitterness in Teas. We term is "Kum" (Chinese dialect: Teochew) or "Gan" (Mandarin). It is a very acquired taste for first-timers especially for my non-Asian friends.

If you have ventured beyond this post and has clicked on the Wikipedia link above, you will find that Dang Gui has been used in the flavouring of ice creams or desserts particularly in Asia. So are you adventurous enough to try it?

8 comments:

BK said...

WOW, from Pineapple tarts, you go to Chicken soup. I have heard so often that Chicken soup is good for colds. The western way of cooking chicken soup seems appealing to me, especially with carrots, onions and celery which are all my favourites. However, growing up in asia, I love the Chinese way of cooking chicken soup and the taste of it. :)

C K said...

Give me chicken soup anytime (and yes, with that plump chicken) without all those medicinal herbs. Just can't stand the taste of dang gui.

I'll put aside some of those chicken soup and use them to cook chicken rice killing two birds with one stone.

Hey, is your trip to S'pore Day confirmed? I'll take a train over there that morning and will most probably bump into your gang over there.

DineometerDeb said...

Hi Sher!
Chicken soup would be great. I haven't made it in a while and I have never made Chinese medicine soup. I think I'm gonna make cream of broccoli soup tonight.

Mei Teng said...

I love traditional chicken soup with chinese medicinal herbs! No doubt there's a distinct taste and smell of the herbs..somehow, the soup taste great. I like the soup with either the black chicken or just the normal white chicken.

SheR. said...

>>BK.
Ha.. when you get the inspiration, you just kept posting. :P
Me too.. I love Dang gui. Heee

>>CK.
Erm.. I think you don't need the Dang Gui.

oo.. I just made Chicken Rice yesterday. Yums!

Yeah we're going to London! ;)

SheR. said...

>>Dineometer.
I'm not a very cream soup person. But I do love Cream of Carrot or Pumpkin soup. I simply love soups!

>>Shutter Buggie.
First time I'm seeing your name in the comment box.

I missed Black Chicken! They are the best! So tender... mmm..

EastCoastLife said...

I brew herbal chicken soup every week. Cannot drink too regular as the weather is too hot in Singapore, can get nose bleeds. :)

Happy Valentine's Day, sher!

SheR. said...

>>ECL.
Same here. I get really "heaty" too but I only get nose bleeds when it's too cold!