February 24, 2010

Chicken with Dong Guai Soup

I have not made any tonic soups for myself for quite some time (the last time I did was in August last year). When I was much younger, mum always make me tonic soups - of which some I like and some I really dislike (I will pinch my nose to drink it). I never really bother to ask what the soups are for. All I know is that they are good for me. If you ask me, I do believe somewhat that they do work. Traditional Chinese Mecidine (TCM) is something which amazes me when you see how the concoction does help improve your health.

Found this recipe in a book that I have. The original recipe calls for double boiling and using a black chicken. Other than that, there are 2 chinese herbs that you need, which is available at the local Asian grocery stores. I did not want to pay A$20 to buy a frozen black chicken and hence replaced it with free-range chicken drumsticks (@$5+ per kg, is easier to handle and eat. You can get a pack of 4, 560g from Woolies). Instead of double boiling (I do not have one a proper double boiler), I used my thermal cooker (a slow cooker should do the trick too) and after 3 hours, the soup was really flavoursome and I drink a big pot of it! I did not need to add salt, which was optional anyway.

This soup is very nutritious for women. Drink it 1 to 2 times per month. It was quite effortless for me to prepare - boil water, measure out the herbs and put everything in the thermal cooker. It is ideal to drink this soup just before you sleep. I had a big bowl before I sleep last night and gladly had the rest (with the chicken) for my lunch today.

500g black chicken (I used 4 free-range chicken drumsticks)
20g Chinese Angelica, aka 'dong guai' or 'dang gui'
20g Astragalus propinquus, aka 'puk kay' or 'bei qi'
600ml or 3 cups of boiling water
salt to taste (optional)

Place chicken and herbs in a double broiler and cook it for 3 hours. Add some salt to taste.

If you want to use a thermal cooker like me, place all the ingredients into the pot in the cooker and bring it to the boil. In this case, start off with another 1/2 cup of boiling water as some will evaporate when it boils. Give it a stir and if the boiling still continues, that is when you remove the pot from heat and place the pot into the thermal cooker. Let it cook for 3 hours.

If you use a slow cooker, bring the soup to the boil as above but using a normal soup pot that you have. When it is ready (as above), pour the soup into the slow cooker and set it on "high". After 30 mins, you may turn it down to "low" and let it cook for another 2.5-3 hours.

Try it! It is so easy that I will definitely be making more of this for myself more often.

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