I was introduced to ginseng soup at a young age by my grandma and mom. During all those growing up years, I have never felt any after effect from drinking ginseng soup. Young and energetic ma. It’s only when I got much older that I can finally feel the differences in my body the day after. Ginseng helps boost one’s energy. Whenever I go for a holiday, I would pack a packet of sliced ginseng with me. If I got tired of walking or depleted of energy, I would pop one in the mouth.
To make the ginseng soup extra therapeutic (in Hokkien & Cantonese we say poh), we add black chicken. Black chicken doesn’t mean chicken with black feathers. It means the skin, meat and bones are black! We usually buy black chicken at the morning market or wet market. You can also find black chicken in some supermarkets. They are pricier than regular chicken, with good reason!
A healthy tonic that energizes you!
Making this black chicken American ginseng soup is very easy if you have everything (ingredients & cooking gadget) with you. We use double boiler cooking method as it’s the best way to seal in all the essences and nutrients.
Let’s dan! (double-boil)
This is an electronic stewed cooker. We use this as our double boiler. It is filled with water to the min level line. A pot stand is then placed inside. A round ring goes under a ceramic pot and pulled to the top, then both the round ring and ceramic pot are put on the pot stand so that the ceramic pot is not in contact with direct heat, only gentle simmering. The round ring functions as a carrier for the ceramic pot.
Then add 2 heaped tablespoons of American ginseng, which has already been sliced. If you have whole ginseng, you can bring it to Chinese medicine shop and request them to slice for you with a cute machine (usually with a fee if you don’t buy from them).
Double-Boiled Black Chicken American Ginseng Soup
1 black chicken, cleaned (divide into pieces: breast, leg, feet, etc)
2 heaped tablespoons sliced American ginseng (called pau sam/pau sem in Cantonese/Hokkien)
12 red dates, deseeded and rinsed
40-50 pieces wolfberries (also known as goji berries/kei chi), rinsed
4 bowls hot water (Chinese soup bowl)
1. Place black chicken, ginseng, red dates, wolfberries and hot water in a ceramic pot. If you do not have black chicken, you can use regular chicken.
2. Double boil for 3 hours. Serve warm.
3. If you have leftover, keep the tonic warm in double- boiler. Double boil for 1 hour per day if necessary. Make sure there is enough water in the double boiler.
4. After you have finished the soup, you can make second batch by adding 2 bowls (Chinese soup bowl) of hot water and double boil for 2 hours. Make sure there is enough water in the double boiler.
Note: To make ginseng soup minus the chicken, follow the above recipe and add 2.5 – 3 bowls (Chinese soup bowl) of hot water instead of 4 bowls of hot water. Double boil following the method above.