Healing Chinese Chicken Soup
Growing up in a Chinese household, food was central to our lives. Food was not just to fill our tummies but to heal, lift our spirits and give reason to bring friends and family together.
Traditional Chinese families put their soup in the center of their table. It is given this prominent position because it is the most nourishing course or dish of every meal. There is a soup for every ailment of the body. Many Chinese soups are very difficult to recreate due to availability of quality ingredients and lack of patience.
Every culture has its take on Chicken soup. As a Chinese person married to a Jewish man, our family gets two takes on the healing properties of a chicken soup. I am certain mine is better than his! If you felt under the weather, this soup would be like a bowl of golden sunshine.
Within our busy lifestyles, letting something simmer on the stove for at least half a day is a difficult feat. All my soups are cooked in clay or ceramic pots. Yes, this conjures up images of large belly cauldrons. Yet, magic happens in the brew.
- Large Chicken with skin on
- Handful of Goji berries
- 4 slices of dry abalone
- Quarter pound of ham hock
- Two slices of ginger
- Salt to taste
- Large soup pot
- Soup spoon
- Bring half a pot of water to boil
- Put the chicken in to boil and bring to boil for 10 minutes
- Discard water and wash chicken thoroughly (again)
- Put all the ingredients in the pot and cover with fresh water
- Bring the entire pot to boil and simmer for alteast 4 hours. DO NOT let soup boil or it will become cloudy
- Use soup spoon to skim off fat and discard
- Add salt to taste
What you should know
Pre-boiling the chicken improves the clarity of the broth and a must with Chinese soups. You should look for gentle soft bubbles during the simmering process. In my family, every cook worth her broth is judged by whether she can produce a soup with complimenting layers of flavor. One’s lips should ever so slightly sticky at the end of the meal. Then you know the ingredients have rendered all of its goodness.