Recipes for having a soup-er winter
Most modern urbanites have become accustomed to the hustle and bustle of city life. Fast cars, fast culture, and of course, fast
food. Strangely, baotang (making soup), which requires plenty of patience to do, is still as popular as ever.
Another word closely linked with baotang is yangshengtang (tonic soup). As cold and dryness settle in, a spoonful of tonifying soup can go a long way toward warming you up and keeping you healthy. Also, there is no better way to show concern for your lover or family members than serving up hot soup during the chilly season.
Here are some popular tonic soups for wintertime. All of these soups are easily made, and the ingredients are commonly found in vegetable markets and supermarkets. These soups also contain some mild medicinal herbs. All of these herbs are available at chain pharmacies throughout China, such as Tong Ren Tang.
Black-Bone Chicken Soup
Black-Bone Chicken Soup (Wuji Tang)
500g of black bone chicken (wuji)
10-20 wolfberries (gouqizi)
3 slices of Chinese angelica (danggui) (optional)
3 slices of ginseng (huaqisen or xiyangsen) (optional)
2 slices of ginger (jiang)
salt, MSG, cooking wine
Black-bone chicken is a natural animal meat that helps nourish the kidneys and liver, the most important organs to protect during winter, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Ginseng is a powerful replenishing herb. It should be added when making the soup for someone who is ill or weak. Wolfberry is a mild fruit not only good for adding color to your soup, but also for treating blurred vision, soothing the skin and boosting men's sexual performance, says one Beijing TCM practitioner.
Chinese angelica is a great herb for women, although it can also be used by men. Its main functions are to enrich the blood and regulate the female menstrual cycle, relieving menstrual pains and cramps.
Pork chop soup with Chinese wild yam
Pork chop soup with Chinese wild yam (Zhupai Shanyao Tang)
300g of pork chops (zhupai)
150g of Chinese wild yam (shanyao)
20 wolfberries (gouqizi)
8 longans (guiyuan or longyan)
3 slices of ginger (jiang)
salt, MSG, cooking wine
Chinese wild yam, called shanyao, chang shanyao or huai shanyao, has been dubbed "safe ginseng." Shanyao is a brown, root-like vegetable, resembling a potato and is safe enough to be eaten daily and works best when added to medicinal concoctions. Its flesh is pure white and smooth and is used to fight fatigue, treat weak appetites, and quell a chronic cough. It also has the same effects as wolfberries, strengthening kidney deficiencies and thus giving the male sex drive a boost. One thing to remember when handling shanyao: The juice the vegetable excretes may irritate those with sensitive skin, so it's best to wear gloves.
Another valuable ingredient of this soup is longan. A delicious tonifying fruit grown in southern China, guiyuan in its dried form is used as a blood tonic, known to nurture the heart, and to add luster and beauty to the skin. It is more delicious when it absorbs the fresh flavor of meat, and at the same time its strong fragrance accentuates the taste of the soup.