My additions to the change of season soup stem from an overall dislike of all things “bitter” (which is difficult because in botanical medicine, bitters actually have a significant beneficial effect on the digestive system) BUT in addition to making the soup/ decoction more bearable, the extra ingredients also make for a more hearty and fulfilling meal!
The specific chicken (Black Silkie) is used because from a TCM perspective, it is more blood-building, which in layman terms is extremely beneficial to menstruating women. Also with the change into cooler weather, a little bit of yin doesn’t hurt! Protein sources such as bean curd and tofu are a great way to “buff” up the decoction. It not only makes the soup more filling but it has a very neutral taste – balancing out any bitterness from the other herbs. Goji berries, red jujubes, and longan pulp are sweet and adding these into the soup make it more palatable.
And for anyone that knows me, knows that I LOOOOVEE mushrooms – if given the opportunity to add mushrooms in, I will DEFINITELY add them in. However, depending on the mushroom, it can add to the bitterness so when adding this – be wary of the proportion to the rest of the soup! Mushrooms are one of my favourite herbs, especially this time of the year, because they have immunomodulating properties which improve the resilience of the immune system to infection!
This is how my mom made this soup for me as a kid and I LOVED it growing up. The 4 traditional Chinese herbs remain the same in this soup but I’ve added additional herbs and changed the soup base to make it more “sweet”:
Equal parts of Change of Season herbs: Codonopsis (Dan Shen), Astragalus (Huang qi), Dioscorea (Shan Yao), Goji berries (Gou Zi)
Organic Black Silkie Chicken (found in most Chinese grocery stores) to make the soup base
4-5 red jujubes dates (Da Zao)
1 handful of dried longan pulp
3 sticks of Korean ginseng
1 handful of Cordyceps
1 cup of Shiitake mushrooms
3 soaked dried bean curd sticks/ tofu (to add in that protein)
1 handful of Ling Zhi (Reishi)
1 head of Turkey tail mushroom (Coriolus)
- Place the chicken into a large pot filled with water so that the chicken is fully submerged
- When the water boils, turn down the heat to medium-low and remove the excess foam floating on top
- Add in the herbs above
- Cover pot and cook for 1 hour on medium-low
- Reduce heat to simmer for another 2-3 hours
- Once it’s ready, boil some noodles and add it into the soup base to make it a Change-of-Season-Chicken-Noodle-Soup (it’s delicious and filling and HOT, especially on a cold day!)
If you tried it, send me a message to le me know how it is & if you made any changes to the recipe!