Dear friends, in case you are wondering whether I practice what I preach, here is an example of what I have been making for myself to prepare for the impending autumn.
As discussed in the previous post (Autumn is coming. What should we eat?), the Chu Shu period is the time when we change our diet to nourish our yin and moisten our internal system.
This is less of a recipe and more of a throw-it-all-in. Yes, it is that easy!
In Chinese medicinal cuisine, soups should be ’double-boiled’. This does not mean that you boil it twice, but you make it with two pots. In the inner pot, most of the time a thick ceramic or earthen pot with a cover and a ventilation hole for the steam, you place your ingredients. This is placed in an outer pot, which can be a big metal pot. You first place the inner pot in the outer pot. Fill the outer pot with water until half the height of the inner pot. Place it on a low, consistent fire and then ‘double-boil’ your soup. The idea is to ensure the heat source surrounds the inner pot, not just from the bottom, and also to slowly cook your soup to ensure the ingredients merge into one another, so no 100 degrees boiling, just constant bubbling at 80-90 degrees.
However, thanks to modern technology, I have a convenient slow cooker for making my medicinal soups, a wonderful gift from my younger brother Bob!
This is how it is done.
- 150-200g lean pork
- 700ml water
- 2 tbs lotus seeds 莲子
- 2 tbs peanuts 花生
- 2 tbs dried lily buds 百合
- 4 pieces Shanyao 山药
- Salt (to taste)
Servings: 4 bowls
- Put all your ingredients with water into your slow cooker.
- Cook on low heat for 4 hours.
- Add salt to taste only when serving. Serve in a small rice bowl and drink it as an afternoon snack or with dinner.
The Cantonese people are really hardcore practitioners and believers in Chinese medicinal cuisine. So much that drinking medicinal soups is as common as drinking tea or beer. Soup restaurants are everywhere in Hongkong, and friends meet up for a chat over soup after a day of shopping! The menu covers all ailments and body types or temperaments, and the waitress offers advice on the type of soup to take for a certain season or weather. The next time you visit Hongkong, Macau or Canton (Guangdong province), remember to pop into a soup restaurant!