How to cook Chinese herbal chicken soup

Chinese herbal chicken soup

si wu chicken.jpg

Here is our video showing basic steps of how to cook Chinese herbal chicken soup. Si Wu Tang or the Four Substance decoction is used this demonstration.

Easy crockpot method

You can cook on a stove top or in a crockpot (slow cooker). The easiest way is to put Chinese herbs and chicken (or pork or beef) together in a pot and let it simmer until the meat falls off the bone and the soup turns dark.

Soaking the herbs

It is a good idea to soak the herbs first. For bulky or heavy herbs, soak longer and cook longer. For light and fresh herbs, add near the end of cooking and cook shorter. 

What kind of chicken to use?

Any chicken or combination of chicken parts are fine to use. In Chinese medicine tradition, a whole chicken with bone and skin are more nutritious than a skinless chicken breast. Modern people might be concerned about the fat and cholesterol, but the natural whole food is still beneficial to our body if we don't overeat.  

Wu Gu Ji (black bone chicken or black silk chicken) is another good choice for chicken soup. You might find it in some Asian market.

Blanch or Par cook the chicken

To prepare the chicken, first, you can blanch or Par-cook the chicken to clean the impurity. It just means cooking the raw chicken in a boiled pot of water for a few minutes and rinse the chicken in cold water. Discard the water and put the chicken back to the pot with new water to cover the chicken plus several inches more. Depending on the size of your pot and how long you like to cook, you have to consider how much water will evaporate during the cooking.

Put the herbs in

Drain the herbs from the soaking water and throw them in the pot. If you prefer, add the herbs in a cheesecloth first so it keeps away from the chicken. Chinese herbs are edible but the taste might not be for everybody.

Simmer for 20-30 minutes (or longer)

Turn down the heat to small and let it simmer for at least 20 minutes. The cooking time depends on the meat you choose and personal preference. The longer you cook, the stronger flavor you get. If you have never tried Chinese herbal chicken soup, you might want to start lighter flavor to get used to it first.

Where to buy the Chinese herbs

You can buy it from the local Asian market, Chinese herbal store, or online. We also have a herbal shop offering sulfur-free and chemical free Chinese herbs:

Picturehealerherbs Etsy store

Picturehealerherbs Etsy store

More about Si Wu Tang

Below is a video explaining the ingredients and functions of the Si Wu Tang, the four substance decoction.