Saturday, 22 January 2011

Ginseng Chicken Soup

In Chinese cooking and TCM, herbs are the superfoods. Chinese herbs are very different from Western herbs. Chinese herbs can be really rare, made from the weirdest of ingredients like for e.g. cordyceps are made from caterpillar fungus, and the flavour they impart is often pungent and medicinal. But they really are medicinal in nature, and when combined right, are very healing (yet easy on the palate, unlike horrible pink cough syrups).

My mum is always sending me herbs (they always come dried), often pre-packed in lovely ziplocked bags with all the herbs in the right quantities, so I only need to throw them in with some meat on bone into the slow cooker and I come home to find dinner ready (made with mummy's love haha). I'm trying to learn about herbs, but it's not easy, because there are so many. This is the most popular soup of all, and there's even a very similar Korean version of it called Samgyetang. Ginseng is very prized, it's considered a cure-all for most ailments, and even for the healthy, are rejuvenating.

Ginseng Chicken Soup
serves 2 (you can easily double the recipe with an entire chicken to make a herbal chicken bone broth)
2 chicken thighs and drums (bone-on!)
2 pieces of dried Korean ginseng, with their "beards"
5 red jujube dates, pitted
2 tbsp of wolfberries

In TCM, they usually measure ingredients by weight, but this soup isn't exactly a medicine, so pardon my lack of specific grams.

1. Bring all ingredients to a boil and let simmer on a very low heat for 3h, or put into a slow-cooker on low, for 6h or more.

It's winter now (very yin) hence you should use Korean or Chinese ginseng, because they're much stronger and very warming (yang). In summer, substitute with American ginseng. So you can have this the whole year round(: This is a really simple and clean soup so it really showcases the ginseng flavour. There are many other more complicated Chinese herbal soups like Eight Treasures Soup 八珍 or 六味汤, but my mum packs them for me ;)


  1. sounds healthy...I would like to make this on Mother 's day !!!

  2. How much water did you use?

  3. Do you want to know why I like this soup? Because you used cordyceps which have lots of power to cure from diseases. Good luck


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  5. Chinese and Korean researchers found that the positive effects of ginseng on the adrenal glands and the activity of mind.ginseng