I’ve been reading up on the kinds of foods to eat to help with strengthening women in general, partly because I think I need it, and more importantly because I love chinese herbal tonic soups.
Angelica, otherwise known as Dang Gui (当归) in Chinese, is a well known herb used to strengthen the female body to deal with the monthly assault. But I love Dang Gui mostly for it’s aroma, and have in the past, made the mistake of adding too much, resulting in a broth that is very hard to drink.
To be honest, I am no expert at combining the herbs on my own, but I love doing it because it makes me feel very pro. You might be better off going to a chinese herbal shop to get them to pack a set for you. But if you want to try it for yourself, please note that you will need a few tries before you will get it to the taste you like.
Most of the ingredients in this soup nourishes the blood. I have also come to realise that a “cold” or “yin” body tends to give way to cramps during that time of the month, so I make it a point to consume this soup now to “heat” up the body to try to avert cramps. Does it work? It’s too early to tell.
This hardly counts as a recipe, but here is what I used for my recent attempt which I thought was quite close to the mark for me. I have no measurements so what you see in the picture is what I used.
- 3 Kampong Chicken Drumsticks
- 3 Kampong Chicken Thighs
- 6 Chinese Mushrooms – soaked and cut into strips (reserve mushroom liquid)
- 1 large piece of Mu Er aka Woodear Fungus – soaked and cut into strips
- 10 red dates – washed, seeds removed
- 3 pieces of Bei Qi – cut into 2-cm pieces
- Gou Ji Zi – aka Wolfberries or Goji Berries (quantity as pictured)
- Dang Gui – aka Angelica (quantity as pictured)
- Chuan Xiong – I actually call this “Cheen Goong” in Cantonese (quantity as pictured)
- Dang Shen – cut into 1.5cm pieces (quantity as pictured)
- Yu Zhu – this is actually edible, I love it (quantity as pictured)
- Huai Shan – quantity as pictured
- 1 knob of ginger – sliced
- 1.1 litres of water
- 100 ml of Chinese Shaoxing wine (or more if you like but reduce the water accordingly)
- 2 teaspoons of sea salt flakes – you can add at the end if you like
- 2 table spoons of soya sauce – adjust to your taste where needed
This is the easy part. You just need to dump everything into a slow cooker or magic cooker (mushroom liquid included but make sure you don’t put in the gritty bits at the end). I have tried boiling this for 1.5 hours continuously in a pot but that would not be enough time to draw out all the taste from the herbs. What I did here is to put it in a magic cooker (those which you use residual heat to slow cook) and boil it on the stove for 20 mins, then I pop it into the outer pot to slow cook for 2 hours. After that, I would take it out and ladle away the oil from the top, bring it up to boil again and pop it into the outer pot to cook for another 2 hours.
If you are using a electric slow cooker, I presume anytime between 3-4 hours would do.
You can also choose to pan fry the chicken in oil and wine prior to adding all the herbs and water, but I think just boiling them works.
You can’t see it here, but there is Mee Sua (chinese vermicelli) underneath the pile of herbs and chicken. I added a tablespoon of Chinese wine to it before I served it.
- The amount of salt and soya sauce is based on what I used. It’s quite a bit because I was going to add this to mee sua as a meal. If you prefer less salt, by all means put in less. It will be healthier.
- If you are intending to keep this for consumption on another day, you should not put in the woodear fungus. Long cooking times tends to make it slimy and some people are put off by it.