Influenced by Chinese philosophy, Vietnamese cuisine is rooted in five core flavors, each ingredient is tied to one of the five natural elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth. The perfect dish needs to incorporate these elements to achieve a balanced yin yang. Herbal chicken soup is one of the most balanced dishes and often the go-to medicine in Asian culture.
Spicy signifies metal, sour represent wood, bitter reflects fire, salty embodies water, and sweet symbolized earth. On our food tour, travelers sometimes ask for a try of this traditional Vietnamese dish and they love the taste and its look. If you would like to know how the dish is cooked, this is our recipe for your information.
Of cause, you can cook this tasty herbal chicken soup at home with the following recipe.
- 1,5 lb. (800 grams) Cornish hen (or chicken)
- 4 slices of ginseng
- 6 slices of dried Chinese yams
- 1,5 tbsp of goji berries
- 8 red dates
- 2,5 cup of coconut juice
- 1,5 cups of water
- 2,5 tsp of salt
- 1 slice of ginger
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 stalk of scallion
- Wash 4 slices of ginseng, 6 slices of dried Chinese yams, 1,5 tbsp of goji berries, and 8 red dates thoroughly. Set aside this herbal medicine set. In a large pot, add 1 tsp of salt and enough water to cover the Cornish hen or chicken. Parboil the hen in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain.
- Thinly slice 1 large slice of ginger. Smash the ginger. If you prefer a strong bodied flavor, char the ginger on both sides instead of smashing it. Peel the garlic cloves and smash.
- In a large pot, add the Cornish hen, ginger slice, garlic cloves, 2,5 cups of coconut juice, and 1,5 cups of water. If you prefer the soup to be less sweet, add more water than coconut juice. Boil for 3 minutes. Skim the foam.
- Reduce heat to a low. Add the herbal medicine set. After 5 minutes, taste and add 0,5 tsp of salt based on your preference. If you prefer to have a lighter medicinal flavor, continue simmering for 40 minutes. If you prefer a darker soup with strong herbal flavors, continue simmering for 45 minutes. Serve in a small bowls.
There you go. That’s how to cook herbal chicken soup for 4 persons, with just about 15 minutes preparation and 1-hour cooking. We hope you enjoy your cook, and please contact us if there is anything we can help.