Cooking with Alison’s Mom (Part 1)
I have always wanted to learn how to make traditional Chinese soups and health drinks. So this chicken and rice wine health drink/soup is the first of my new recipe series, Cooking with Alison’s Mom. (Be sure to check out the Cooking with Alison’s Grandma recipe series.)
This Chinese soup is often served to women who have just given birth as it is supposed to be nourishing and warming. I particularly like drinking this healthy soup in the winter. It’s also a great way to enjoy/use up homemade glutinous rice wine. This soup could be made using only 2 ingredients – chicken and glutinous rice wine, but my mom likes to add a few more ingredients to enhance the health benefits and flavour.
Chinese Chicken and Rice Wine Soup Recipe (Health Drink)
3 chicken breasts, bone-in and skinless
Chinese glutinous rice wine (recipe here)
handful of dried Chinese red dates
a few slices of dried Chinese yam (“wai san”)
handful of goji berries, fresh or dried
2 thin slices of fresh ginger (optional)
Place the chicken breasts into a Chinese tall, ceramic soup pot. Add the dried yam, red dates, goji berries, and ginger (if using). You may need to pack these ingredients tightly into the pot. Gradually pour the glutinous rice wine into the ceramic pot plus 3 tablespoons of water. The liquid should come up to 1 inch below the top of the pot. Cover the pot with its lid. Set up a large, tall stock pot on the oven burner. Place a wire rack on the bottom of the stock pot and place the ceramic soup pot on the rack. Pour water into the stock pot around the ceramic soup pot until the water level comes up to 3/4 of the height of the soup pot. Cover the stock pot with its lid. Turn the heat on high and bring the water to a rolling boil. Then reduce the heat to medium low or medium heat to maintain a strong simmer for 3 hours. Ladle out the soup from the ceramic pot and serve hot.
The chicken absorbs a lot of the flavour of the soup. So if desired, you could make a second pot of soup by reusing the ingredients from the first soup. Simply add water to a pot of leftover soup ingredients, bring to a boil over high heat, and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer for 30 minutes, covered. The second pot of soup is still very flavourful.