I’ve had this recipe for an anti-ageing soup for a long time, and it is a lovely stewed blend of dried fruit, sweet and mild tasting herbs and dried rose buds, with chicken in broth. I particularly like the sweet hint of rose flavour in the savoury broth – it’s refreshing and wonderfully aromatic while the soup is stewing!
Consuming this soup is meant to combat the effects of oxidative stresses in our bodily system. This is a truly hearty soup, loaded with nutrition and therapeutic value for improving our health and well-being. Both my husband and I had this soup for dinner yesterday, and we slept like babies (considering the fact that more often than not, I usually have bouts of restless sleep)…coincidence or not, I can’t say, but given the Chinese tonic herbs used to prepare the soup, it is probably more than likely that it helped.
The medicinal or therapeutic properties of the tonic ingredients used here are as follows:
Snow fungus is neutral in nature and benefits the spleen, strengthens the stomach, and expels dryness. It also calms the spirit, and is used to treat insomnia.
Dried lotus seeds improves digestion, strengthens the kidney, nourishes the spleen, calms the spirit and has astringent properties.
Dried longan fruit is warm in nature and nourishes the heart and spleen, benefits blood, calms the spirit, and is used to treat tension, palpitation, insomnia and poor memory.
Dried lily bulb is cool in nature, and nourishes the lungs, treats cough and calms the spirit.
Red dates have blood nourishing properties and are commonly used in combination with other ingredients to nourish the body.
Dried tangerine peel is effective in expelling and preventing colds, promotes qi circulation, clears phlegm, alleviates diarrhea and improves digestion.
Dried rose buds have long been used in the health, beauty and cosmetics industries, and are recognised for their astringent properties. It also helps calm the nerves, improves circulation and aids digestion.
I should point out as well that traditionally, black chicken is used as the Chinese consider it as having outstanding nutritional value, and as these are raised as free-range chicken, much more beneficial. Taste wise, it tastes the same as regular chicken and so I use the two types interchangeably, depending on what I have stocked. You can choose black chicken for a unique, interesting presentation.
This recipe serves 3 to 4 persons (source with adaptation: ‘Double-Stewed Soups’ by author Patsie Cheong).
1/2 Chicken or Black Chicken, skin removed
30 gm Dried Lily Bulbs
30 gm Dried Lotus Seeds, soaked for 30 mins and cored
8 Red Dates
15 gm Dried Longan
10 gm Snow Fungus, soaked for 15 minutes, toughened and yellowed ends removed
5 gm Dried Red Rose Buds
1/4 piece Dried Tangerine Peel, soaked for 15 minutes, bitter pith removed or scraped off
Sea Salt, to taste
1. Wash all ingredients thoroughly and place them into a stewing pot. Pour in enough water to just cover all the ingredients. Bring water to a boil, then lower heat to let simmer.
2. Cover and slow stew for 3 to 4 hours. If water evaporates significantly, you can add more, but ensure that additional water is hot or at boiling temperature before pouring in. Season with sea salt to taste. Serve hot or warm.