Food & Drink Magazine

Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup 药材鸡汤

By Cosybites @cosybites

Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup

The thing I love most about Dubai is its winter. The weather is fabulous. Cool enough for your boots to see some daylight yet not so cold till you need to wrap yourself up like a bak chang (a chinese rice dumpling). There is no better time to enjoy a bowl of hot soup. Make it a healthy tonic soup and your body will thank you for it.

My mother-in-law bought me a variety of chinese herbs when I was last back home. She told me I could add the different herbs together to make soup. For fear that my nose will bleed after drinking a soup with so many different herbs thrown in, I asked her (twice) if it’s really ok (confirm and re-confirm ya). I’ve made this herbal chicken soup a few times now and we really like it. Surprisingly, there is no strong herbal taste. What you get is a sweet aftertaste.

Before we get to the recipe, let’s start with an introduction of the herbs, which I had to do a little reading on. 

Chinese Herbs1

Chinese angelica root (dang gui 当归) is particularly beneficial to women. It helps to strengthen the blood, nourish the female reproductive organs, regulate menstruation and alleviate period pains.

Codonopsis root (dang shen 党参) is said to promote salivation and aid digestion, relieve diarrhoea and severe coughing, reduce nausea and weakness after severe bleeding, activate metabolism and improve blood circulation, stabilizes nervousness, and counter extreme mental and physical fatigue. Sounds like a wonder herb doesn’t it?

Euryale seeds / fox nuts (qian shi 芡实) are believed to strengthen the kidneys and enhance sperm production.

Figs (wu hua guo 无花果) are supposed to reduce allergic symptoms such as asthma, bronchitis and nasal inflammation, strengthen the lungs and stomach, and treat constipation, indigestion, piles and diabetes.

Red dates (hong zao 红枣) are used in many chinese soups and drinks for their sweet taste. They contain Vitamin B, C, E, P, phosphorus, calcium, iron and are believed to slow down the growth of cancer cells.

Chinese wolfberries or goji berries (gou zi ji 枸杞子) are extremely good for improving eyesight. Besides using them in soups and drinks, they can also be consumed directly. Chinese wolfberries are also beneficial for the liver.

Here’s the recipe for the goodness-packed chinese herbal chicken soup. Enjoy!



  • 200 gram chicken, with bones
  • 1500 ml water
  • 12 gram chinese angelica root (dang gui 当归)
  • 2 codonopsis root (dang shen 党参)
  • 1 tablespoon euryale seeds / fox nuts (qian shi 芡实)
  • 2 figs (wu hua guo 无花果)
  • 12 red dates (hong zao 红枣)
  • 1 tablespoon chinese wolfberries or goji berries (gou zi ji 枸杞子)
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Blanch chicken pieces in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Rinse all chinese herbs with hot water.
  3. Place the blanched chicken and all the chinese herbs (except wolfberries) into a pot with water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling over high heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat and leave to simmer for another 1 to 2 hours (longer if you can). Add wolfberries at the last 15 minutes of cooking. Add salt to taste.

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