What Asian people mean by chicken soup is quite different from American chicken soup. Our chicken soup is more like broth with diced chicken in it with added herbs or vegetables. Southern Chinese are known for their delicious and wide variety of soups.
The soups my grandma usually made in her kitchen were chicken soup and pork rib soup. I grew up eating them and now they are two of the most frequent soups I make in my kitchen too.
The combinations between chicken and vegetables added to the soup can be endless. You can literally put in anything you like. Don’t be afraid and get creative. You might have some amazing soups invented! O(∩_∩)O~
I use Chinese yam and oyster mushrooms today. They both have mild flavors so that the taste of chicken will not be over powered.
1 free range organic chicken
1 large piece of fresh Chinese yam (available in Asian grocery stores)
1 piece of ginger root, smashed or crushed
2 to 3 tablespoons pearl barleys
1 handful dried longan fruit
8 to 12 jujube dates
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
1/2 to 1 teaspoon rock sugar
3 to 3 1/2 quarts of water
salt to taste
Rinse the chicken under running water. Dice it with a cleaver knife. Try to find the chicken with yellow fat which will help to make beautiful bright yellow chicken soup.
Peel the Chinese yam and dice it into 1 by 1 inch cubes. Chinese yam is a very popular ingredient in Asian soup because people believe it is good for health and human digesting system. Plus, it taste good too!
(Some people might develop minor allergic reaction when exposed to Chinese yam liquid. My husband does too. Don’t panic if your skin itches if you peel Chinese yam with bare hands. Be sure to put on gloves before handling it. )
Dice the oyster mushroom roughly the same size as Chinese yam.
Fill a cast iron soup pot with water. Add chicken. Cook over high heat until the water boils. Allow it to continue boiling for a few more minutes. With a spoon, skim off scum that is clouding on top.
Add ginger root, pearl barleys and rice cooking wine.
Cover the pot with lid and reduce the heat to simmer for about one and a half hours. Adjust the simmer time accordingly.
I use a Le Creuset 4 1/4 quart soup pot here. It is perfect for stewing and simmering. And it can go straight from stove to table, looking astonish.
After simmering about one and a half hours, increase the heat to high.
Add jujube dates, dried longan fruit, diced Chinese yam, ground white pepper, rock sugar and salt to taste.
Stew over medium heat for another 20 minutes or so. Add diced oyster mushrooms.
After 2 to 3 minutes, the soup is done. Remove from heat.
A pot of good chicken soup can be judged by its light golden color. And this is definitely good O(∩_∩)O~
When cooked, the Chinese yam has a similar texture to potato. It is starchy and creamy at the same time. Chicken soup and oyster mushrooms add extra flavors to the yam too.
Sometimes I serve Asian soups over induction cooktop on dinner table. It can be kept piping hot this way through the whole dinner. And it can also be transformed into hot pot in no time when needed.