There's something supremely comforting about hot soup, especially when you prepare it yourself at home, the aroma ensures that the pleasure starts long before you lift the ladle. Soup, especially Chinese herbal tonic soup, is the most frequent dish serves our dining table maybe due to my tiredless advocacy of it as a dietary supplement and herbal remedy. Due to this, soup has become so entrenched in my life.
The recipe calls for double-boiling (炖/燉), which is a controlled heating technique that you place the chicken soup in a pot and then place that pot in boiling water in another larger pan or pot. This technique ensures there is no loss of essences from the food being cooked without scorching or drying it and it's often used to prepare delicate food and Chinese herbal medicines. Alternatively, you might run into a stovetop apparatus called a double boiler, a specialized pot with two layers, the top vessel contains the food to be heated and is fitted into the lower pot which holds the boiling water.
For the convenience of preparing the soup, my hubby has tweaked the technique from double boiling into stewing by using crockpot (or slow cooker). This allows unattended cooking overnight and will be ready in the next morning. Well, I should say there's some advantages of this long slow crockpot cooking, besides leaving the gelatinised tissue in the meat without toughening the lean muscle fiber, cooking the soup in a crockpot keep the washing up minimal due to its low cooking temperature and also glazed ceramic or porcelain pot make cleaning very easy.
For those who think cooking dinner is a chore, this foolproof approach will transforms mealtime into a hassle-free experience yet enhances the flavors and taste of the entire soup. The chicken is so tender that it just slips off the bone and provides melt-in-your-mouth morsels.
Follow this simple tonic chicken soup recipe to impress your family and guests.
1 kampung chicken, cleaned, skin removed and cut into 4 pieces
50g ginseng roots (洋参须)
10 red dates (红枣), seeds discarded
2 tbsp Chinese Wolfberries or qi zi (杞子）
salt to taste
1. Blanch chicken in boiling water for a short while. Remove and set aside.
2. Put all ingredients into a double boiler and double-boil at high heat for 4 hours. Alternatively, you can use crockpot (slow cooker) and stewing it overnight (Or you can set to slow-cook before leaving for a day's work, and will be ready on return).
3. Add salt to taste. Serve hot.
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