Chinese Chicken Soup Cold Cure

I was first introduced to Black Bone Chicken many years ago in Taiwan. What a revelation!! Granted, it does look a little odd. The color of the chicken is grey and the bones are black, but the chicken flavor is intensely good! And chicken soup never tasted so good!! The Chinese have long credited this variety of chicken as having superior therapeutic properties. And when it’s cooked in a soup or stew, the dish becomes a potent “yang” tonic and a nurturing curative for a cold or the flu. Black bone chickens are now available in supermarkets or butchers in Chinatowns all over the U.S.

You’ll never taste a more delicious panacea for fighting colds or the flu.


Black Bone Chicken Soup

Black bone white feather chicken, feet and head removed and cut
into 10 sections (If not available, use a kosher chicken.)

Dang Gui (Angelica Sinensis)  6 grams,
Huang Qi  (Astralagus)10 grams,
Dang Shen (“Red ginseng”) 6 grams,
Gou Ji Zi (Wolfberries)  6 grams,
Gao Liang Jiang (Chinese ginger)3 grams,
Chen Pi (Aged Tangerine peel) 3grams,
White peppercorns 3 grams,
Fresh ginger 6 grams, (about 10 slices fresh ginger, the size of a quarter, smashed with the flat side of a knife)
Fresh scallion  10 whole scallions, ends trimmed and smashed lightly with the flat side of a knife
Sea salt to taste

4 cups good quality, low salt chicken broth
2 cups water
1 ¾ cups good quality Shaoxing wine or dry sherry

1.Remoive any fat from around the cavity opening and around the neck of the chicken. Rinse lightly and drain. Using a heavy knife or cleaver, cut the chicken, through the bones, into 10 to 12 pieces. Heat 2 quarts of water until boiling and blanch the chicken pieces for 1 minute to clean them. Drain the chicken, discarding the water, then rinse in cold water and drain again.
2. Place the chicken pieces and the Soup Broth ingredients, except the salt, in a heat-proof pot or 2-quart souffle dish. Cover tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil and place on a steamer tray or small rack. Fill a wok with enough water to just
reach the bottom of the steamer tray or rack and heat until boiling.  Place the food on the steamer tray or rack over the boiling water, cover, and steam 2 hours over high heat, replacing the boiling water in the wok as necessary. Alternatively, you may steam the soup in the oven: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the ingredients in a Dutch oven or casserole with a lid and, before putting on the cover, wrap the top with heavy-duty aluminum foil; then cover. Place the pot in a lasagne pan or a casserole and fill with 1 1/2 inches of boiling water. Bake for 2 hours, replenishing the boiling water as needed.
3. Skim the top of the broth to remove any impurities and fat. Add the salt. Remove the ginger and scallions, ladle the soup and pieces of chicken into serving bowls, and serve. To reheat and retain a clear broth, steam or bake in a closed pot for
10-15 minutes, or until piping hot.

Poached Pears in a Cinnamon-Ginger Syrup

Six Servings

10 cups water
11/2 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
8 slices fresh, unpeeled ginger, about the size of a quarter, smashed lightly with the flat edge of a knife
6 slightly underripe Bosc or Anjou pears
2 lemons

1. In a large pot, combine the water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and fresh ginger. Heat until boiling, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes so that the flavors marry.
2. Using a vegetable peeler or a paring knife, peel the pears, and rub the outside with cut lemons to prevent them from turning brown.
3. Squeeze the juice from the lemons and add along with the pears to the cinnamon liquid. Heat until boiling and reduce the heat to low, so that the water barely boils. Cook uncovered for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pears are just tender. You can poke them with the tip of a knife to test them. Remove and place in a bowl.
4. Transfer about 3 cups of the cooking liquid to a smaller saucepan. (Discard any ginger and cinnamon sticks.) Heat until boiling, reduce heat to medium, and cook about 35 minutes, or until the liquid thickens slightly. It should be more like syrup.
5.Arrange the pears in serving bowls and pour the cinnamon-ginger syrup on top. Serve. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold.
© Copyright Nina Simonds

Unlocking the Secrets of Chinese Herbs

I strongly believe that Traditional Chinese Medicine is very effective in helping with many conditions, including preventing colds and the flu, jet lag, and insomnia, and it is not uncommon for doctors to recommend Chinese herbs. In our last video I visited my Chinese doctor (“R U Yin or Yang” video). Dr. Chun Han Zhu gave me an herbal “prescription” for a soup, so my next stop is Boston’s Chinatown where I visit my favorite herbal shop.

Some of the herbs Dr. Zhu recommended are:

  • Dang gui or Angelica sinensis, an herb commonly used to treat women’s reproductive health issues and also recommended to help prevent and treat some forms of cardiovascular disease
  • Huang Qi or Astragalus is recommended for treating the common cold and upper respiratory infections because it helps to strengthen the immune system
  • Go ji or Wolfberries which are believed to nourish the “yin,” strengthen blood, liver, and the kidneys, and contain anti-oxidants.

Go to the SpicesofLife recipe section for a delicious and easy recipe, Poached Pears in a Cinnamon-Ginger Syrup.

Stay tuned for the next video where you can join me in the kitchen while I make Steamed Black Bone Chicken Soup. YUM!


Are You Yin or Yang?

Dr. Chun Han Zhu, a brilliant Chinese doctor who lives near Boston, has been a teacher, healer, and mentor for many years. In this video he explains some basic principles of yin and yang. He also offers suggestions of how you can avoid colds and the flu in the colder weather by eating certain foods that will provide balance and strengthen the immune system.

As Dr. Zhu explains, it is helpful to know whether you are yin or yang. Ideally, you should be diagnosed by a Chinese physician, but here are some tips that might help you to know what type you are.

Yin Body Types

  • Listless or lacking energy
  • Thin and Pale-faced
  • Vulnerable to infectious disease
  • Relaxed, easy-going and quiet
  • Sensitive to cold

Yang Body Types

  • Usually superactive, hyper, full of energy and vitality
  • Generally heavyset or overweight
  • Flush-faced or ruddy complexion
  • Restless or impatient
  • Not sensitive to cold

Stay tuned for the next videos where we explore a Chinese herbal store and then make two dishes that are great for the winter.



Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.