When I’m feeling a bit under the weather or simply want something comforting and nutritious, my automatic go-to is always a big bowl of steaming hot chicken soup. Not chicken noodle soup a la the Campbell variety you might expect. No, the Chinese soup recipe I always crave is Chinese chicken herbal soup “老火雞湯”, a soup that is so sweet and pure in flavor from the chicken, yet packed with nutrient-dense herbal ingredients; vitamin A, C, and antioxidants from the goji berries, potassium-rich Chinese yam, energy-boosting ginseng, and vitamin B6 from the red dates.
If you want to learn how to make a Chinese soup, you should start with this classic recipe. There’s a wealth of health benefits to these ingredients including increasing metabolism, reducing inflammation, improving brain functions like memory, behavior, and mood, boosting the immune system, and reducing cholesterol. All condensed into a hearty and richly flavorful clear broth.
Black chicken (Silkie) vs. Regular Chicken
In this Chinese Chicken Herbal Soup, we use black chicken. By now you must be thinking, “what the hell is a black chicken?” Nope, it’s not just a chicken with black feathers, it actually has black skin too! Black chickens can be found natively in parts of China, India, and Southeast Asia, and is a common ingredient used in Chinese herbal soups because of its lean, meaty texture and the fact that it has DOUBLE the antioxidants than that of a regular chicken.
If you’re not familiar with Asian grocery stores, have no fear! It can be intimidating to shop for these ingredients at first, yes, but once you find them, you’ll be able to use them for a long time. You can find most of these dried foods in the dried foods aisle at a Chinese Supermarket.
During pregnancy, it is very important to nourish the body and keep the body warm for the baby. Drinking this chicken soup helps with fatigue and boosts the overall immune system for pregnant women since the body has a weaker immune system during pregnancy. This soup is also good to drink during the restorative and recuperation phase after the baby is born. However, to be more careful during breastmilk production for babies, omitting the ginseng in this recipe would be better. Ginseng can boost energy but for newborns it can keep them awake so it is better to not ingest ginseng during the first few months post pregnancy.
Health Benefits for Children
Drinking chicken soup consistently for children is immensely helpful for growth. The vitamins and nutrients in this soup is important for brain growth and helping kids build the immunity they need to combat illnesses. I feel like with all the different viruses that we are now faced with, preventative healthcare is something we have to be even more diligent with to maintain good overall health.
Herbs used in Chicken Herbal Soup
- Goji Berries (枸杞)- Goji berries nourishes eyes, improves depression and sleep, and boost the immune system
- Chinese Yam (淮山)- Chinese Yam is beneficial for nourishing women because it helps with premenstral cramps, menopausal symptoms, but also overall fatigue and aids digestion
- Ginger (姜)- Ginger is used to relieve pain and improve digestion
- Ginseng (党参)- Ginseng is used to boost energy levels and boost immune system. There are different types of ginseng which have different functions, the ginseng in this recipe is the codonopsis pilosula ginseng.
- Red Dates (红枣)- Red dates provide calcium and vitamins, but most importantly it can restore the balance in the body by replenishing blood and circulation
- 5.5 L (Soup)
- 4 cups of water (lean pork)
- 3 pieces of codonopsis pilosula ginseng (党参)
- 1 thumb size Ginger
- 2 tablespoons Goji berries
- 1/2 cup of Dried Chinese Yam
- 1 whole Black Chicken
- ½ pound of Lean Pork
- 2-3 pieces of Red Dates
- Boil 5.5 liters of water on high heat in a big pot for soup. Make sure pot is only ½ full or at most ¾ full
- In another small pot, boil 4 cups of water on high
- Cut the lean pork into smaller chunks for the small pot
4. Once the small pot water boils, put in lean pork to boil out impurities for about 2 minutes.
5. Make sure all pork changes color all sides to boil out impurities in raw pork.
6. After two minutes, take pot off the stove and rinse the lean pork with cold water
7. Peel skin off ginger and slice ginger into several pieces
8. With each slice, smash the ginger with the back of your knife to get flavor out
9. Cut the seed out of the red date. (Note: its easier to cut date when its dry, so rinse the date after you cut the seed out)
10. Rinse all the herbal ingredients with cold water
11. Bring the big pot to a boil, then put all the ingredients in the pot with the lid on with high heat
12. Once water starts boiling, turn down the heat to medium heat and keep lid on
13. Stir occasionally to check on soup
14. After 2 ½ to 3 hours of boiling, soup is ready
15. Adjust with some salt to your likingPrint
Chinese Chicken Soup 老火雞湯
This Chinese herbal soup is so sweet and pure in flavor from the chicken and nutrient dense herbal ingredients. This chinese soup recipe has goji berries, chinese yam, ginger, red dates, and ginseng. If you’re trying to boost your immune system, this cantonese soup is helpful for growth and can help maintain overall growth.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 hours
- Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 5–6 people 1x
- Category: soup
- Method: boil
- Cuisine: Chinese
Boil 5.5 liters of water on high heat in a big pot for soup. Make sure pot is only ½ full or at most ¾ full
In another small pot, boil 4 cups of water on high
Cut the lean pork into smaller chunks for the small pot
Once the small pot water boils, put in lean pork to boil out impurities for about 2 minutes
Make sure all pork changes color on all sides to boil out impurities in raw pork
After two minutes, take pot off the stove and rinse the lean pork with cold water
Peel skin off ginger and slice ginger into several pieces
With each slice, smash the ginger with the back of your knife to get flavor out
Cut the seed out of the red date. (Note: it’s easier to cut date when its dry, so rinse the date after you cut the seed out)
Rinse all the herbal ingredients with cold water
Bring the big pot to a boil, then put all the ingredients in the pot with the lid on with high heat
Once water starts boiling, turn down the heat to medium heat and keep lid on
Stir occasionally to check on soup
After 2 ½ to 3 hours of boiling, soup is ready
Adjust with some salt to your liking
Keywords: Chicken Soup, Chicken Herbal Soup