I always wondered about a particular corner of my food superstore in Hong Kong (called “Taste”), which is always hugely crowded, with people tasting free samples of different kinds of soups made up of unknown dried herbs, barks of trees, lotus seeds, almond kernels, dry mushrooms, dry whelk, wolfberries, dried fish maw, etc. The other day, I was curious (and greedy!) enough to taste a free sample of the freshly made soup there and loved the warm taste of that. I asked the lady about the contents of the soup, for which she handed me over a pack of this:
Since I don’t know Cantonese and the lady selling the product didn’t know English, we communicated using gestures. By what she tried to explain, I got an idea that the localites have this soup for relief against cough and cold. Since Autumn is near and I am already suffering from a bad cough, I thought to buy one from her. The back of the pack read the contents of the soup in Latin:
Grifola frondosa, Fritillariae cirrhosae, Cyathea spinulosa wall, Chinese yam rhizome, Kernel (tree product), dried tangerine peel, preserved date.
I told you in my previous post that the people in Hong Kong are very helpful. The lady guessed that I haven’t made this soup ever, so she requested another person, who explained the method in half-English and half-Chinese to make this unique soup. The person explained to me that one has to add chicken or pork to this soup for flavour and this is a slow-boiled soup, to be boiled for a minimum of two hours over a simmered flame. Now a little information about the ingredients. You can also buy each of the loose in any Chinese medicine shop.
- Grifola frondosa is also called Maitake mushroom and research has proved now that it is effective against cancer and diabetes, apart from being a storehouse of important nutrients for our body! It is used in Chinese medicine to boost immunity.
- Fritillariaecirrhosae is used as an effective remedy against cough and cold and brings down blood pressure too!
- Chinese yam rhizome tones up liver, spleen, stomach and kidneys. Chinese yam is used in Chinese medicine as a remedy against cough, cold and wheezing. It is also effective against stomach disorders, weakness, fatigue, frequent urination and reduced appetite.
- Apricot kernels are effective against cough and relieve constipation.
- Dried tangerine (a variety of Mandarin orange) peels are thought to be good for digestion and treating infections.
- Dried dates are used to boost immunity. These help in improving the stamina, relieve constipation and are a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
- Dried lotus seeds used in this soup combination are believed to restore health, are very nutritious and have cooling properties on the body.
These kinds of healthy Chinese-soup-ingredient packs come in different combinations of ingredients, suitable for remedy against different kinds of malfunctions in the body or used as a general tonic for health.
Let me tell you that after having this soup for a few days, I actually recovered from my chronic cough!
This super-healthy soup in your family diet is the key to sound health. I admit that you have to put a little extra effort to find out an Asian supermarket in your country or Google-out an Asian store from where you can order the ingredients online, but believe me, it is really worth it! After all, you are giving your family the gift of “health”: the Chinese way!
Chinese soup for cough
- Dried Maitake mushrooms (Grifola frondosa): ¼ cup
- Fritillariae cirrhosae: ¼ cup
- Cyathea spinulosa wall (to be discarded after boiling): ½ cup
- Dried Chinese yam rhizome: 8-10 thin slices
- Dried whole dates: 3
- Dried apricot kernels: 20
- Dried lotus seeds: 12
- Water: 15 cups
- Salt: According to taste
- Chicken (cut into big chunks): 1 whole
Method of preparation:
Boil the water. Add the soup ingredients first. Boil on medium heat for 5 min. Now add the chicken and boil on a high heat for 30 min.
Simmer the flame to the lowest level and boil the contents for 1 hour, stirring after every 15 min.
Now add the salt and continue to cook for 30 more minutes.
Switch off the gas and remove the tangerine peels and Cyathea spinulosa wall pieces from the soup. Serve hot.