I find every opportunity I can to prepare Chinese tonic soups with Daikon radish as one of the main ingredients because of its many wonderful health and medicinal properties.
This humble vegetable is truly amazing, and even more so when stewed with the appropriate Chinese herbs to create delicious tonic soups. Here is one such simple, yet effective, soup recipe which combines the Chinese herb, Chuan Bei (Fritillaria) with radish and sweet honey dates. This offers a light, mildly sweet, yet distinctly savoury flavour.
This soup is intended to nourish and tonify the lungs. In Chinese food therapy, the Daikon radish is considered to be ‘cool’ in nature. It is believed that the regular consumption of this vegetable aids to quench thirst, clear ‘heat’ and improve digestion. When cooked, this radish is considered to have efficacy in treating urinary disorders, reducing inflammation and facilitating bowel movements (source: www.english.cw.com.tw).
The radish also has a specific anti-oxidant compound called sulforaphane, which has been proven to protect against prostrate, breast, colon and ovarian cancers due to its ability to inhibit cancer cell growth and its cyto-toxic effects on malignant cells (source: www.nutrition-and-you.com).
Chuan bei is considered to have sweet, bitter and slightly cold properties in traditional Chinese medicine. The white colour of the fritillaria bulb is believed to affect the heart and lung meridians in our body, and is thus used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat various lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and tubercolosis.
Chuan bei is a common ingredient used in traditional Chinese medicinal prescriptions to clear heat, resolve phlegm issues and control all types of coughs. The herb has been widely researched, and is found to contain compounds which help to inhibit the contraction of bronchial muscle as well as decrease mucus secretion. It is often employed as a decongestant and anti-inflammatory agent (source: www.acupuncturetoday.com).
Here is how you can prepare this soup (recipe amounts serve 3 to 4 persons):
24 gm Chuan Bei (Fritillaria)
16 gm Sweet Almonds
4 gm Bitter Almonds
1 Daikon Radish
6 to 8 Honey Dates
300 gm Pork Ribs (optional)
500 ml Meat or Vegetable Stock
Sea Salt, to taste
1. Wash well the chuan bei, sweet and bitter almonds and honey dates. Peel the radish, rinse and cut into bite size pieces. In a small saucepan, bring water to boil and parboil the pork ribs for a few minutes to remove scum and grit. Wash well.
2. Put all the ingredients into a stewing pot, pour in the stock and stew for 2 hours. Season to taste. Serve hot.