Monday, October 29, 2012

Chinese vitality soup

This soup incorporates the ancient Chinese custom of simmering strengthening herbs into soup stock. When I've had soups like this, the first sip is like instant rejuvenation - the ahhh, I-feel-10-years- younger effect. The herbs used here are full of immune-enhancing properties, and this soup always comes out rich and hearty. You can add any vegetables you have on hand; squashes and root vegetables, such as turnips and rutabagas, are nice embellishments.

2 sticks astragalus root
2 sticks codonopsis root
1 small whole dong quai root, or a few thin slices of the bigger roots
1 3-ince pice of Panax ginseng root
1 c. barley or rice
1 3-inch piece of kimbu or wakame seaweed
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 stalks celery, chopped
2 yams, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 T. grated fresh ginger root
3 T. dried, or 1/2 c. fresh burdock root
Miso or Tamari to taste

Fill a large soup pot with 3 quarts water. Add the astragalus, condonopsis, dong quai, and ginsend and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

Add the rest of the ingredients except for hte miso and tamari, and simmer for another 30 minutes or so. (If you like, you can add some organic chicken or soup bones at this point; it's traditional in China to make this soup with chicken.)

Remove from heat and season with miso or tamari. Remove the astragalus before serving. If you'd perfer to eat the codonopsis, dong quai, and ginseng along with the rest of the soup, chop them before serving.

To use: enjoy a hearty bowl of soup 2-3 times per week in the autumn-winter season.

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