I am a scientist who loves to cook because there are many similarities between working in a lab and cooking in a kitchen. I love to share my cooking experience with you and to inspire others to cook.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Herbal Chicken Soup

When I was growing up, soup is one of the main dishes on the dining table. In some families, you will find a big bowl of soup in the middle of the table where everyone would dip their soup spoon and drink from the same bowl of soup. Say what you want, but this kind of eating behavior does foster a deep sense of "oneness" and community sharing. However, in some families, everyone drinks from his/her own little bowl of soup.

One of the soups that mom often made was "Herbal Chicken Soup". The recipe is quite simple and straightforward. Put the herbs in the pot with the chicken and let it cook. The "challenging" part is to know what kind of herbs to put in the soup. For example, you often find basil, rosemary, oregano and thyme in Italian soup or basil, thyme, bay leaves, parsley in French soup. 

I put these three Chinese herbs in my Chinese Herbal Chicken soup (I will discuss the health benefits of Chinese herbs in another blog post in the future): 

Codonopsis pilosula root (党渗)

Astragalus propinquus root (北芪)

Lycium barbarum
goji berry/wolfberry(枸杞

Here is the recipe for one whole chicken. I like to use one whole chicken (skinless) for soup because it has more flavor. You can use bone-in chicken breast/legs/thighs. 

1. Clean the chicken with tap water and put the chicken in the pot.
2. Add enough water to cover the chicken and boil the chicken under high heat. Remove the scum as it floats to the top of the pot. (my personal preferred method is to dump the water away,  and simply add fresh tap water)
3. Put a handful of each herb into the pot (this is just an estimation) and add water (also estimation, you can always add more to dilute later).
4. Cook the soup with low heat for 3-4 hours. You want to gently simmer the soup.
5. Season with salt or soy sauce.
6. Serve the soup with a bowl of rice or cook some noodles with the soup.

(I am still in the process of buying a camera to take good blog-worthy photographs. So at the mean time, I will be using other people's beautiful pictures. Some of them have their website printed on the pictures, this is the best I can do now to give them credit).

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