Now, this is the soup that started it all. My mother made me this soup when I had both of my kids and it is simply my favorite soup of all time. It was so good I felt like building a business to share the magical soup with my community.
This is not your typical chicken soup. It is a classic Cantonese recovery soup that families serve new mothers. It is also good for people low in qi (akin to feeling low in energy or weakened). There are two versions: a yellow (Vikon) chicken known as Qing Ji Tong, and a special black (Silkie) chicken called Wu Gu Ji Tong).
- 3 lbs. ginger sliced ½” thick
- 1 gallon of rice wine (Michiu brand is the best!)
- 2 gallons of water
- 1-2 black chickens (Silkie variety or the Vikon variety)
- 5 lbs. chicken bones (it’s a good idea to use a cheesecloth to wrap these bones; it makes it easier to remove them before eating the soup)
- 1 cup dried red dates
- ½ cup dried goji berries
- ¾ cup longan fruit
- 2 oz. dried snow fungus
- 3 oz. fresh wood ear mushrooms
- ½ cup raw peanuts, shelled (optional)
- In a big pot blanch the chicken bones and whole chickens by immersing the chicken in water and bringing it to a boil. Discard the water, keep the chicken.
- Add rice wine, water, and ginger to the chicken in the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for four hours. The longer the better.
- Rehydrate the dried red dates, goji berries, longan fruit, snow fungus, and dried wood ear (if you're using it). Trim snow fungus (and wood ear) into smaller pieces and discard hard stems. Drain.
- Remove the chicken bones from the soup. Remove the whole chicken and discard the head and feet. Break up the rest of the chicken and toss it back into the pot. De-bone the chicken if you wish, or just keep the meat on the bones for the more traditional finger-licking style of eating.
- Add rehydrated and drained whole herbs to the pot. Now is the time for fresh wood ear mushrooms and raw peanuts to go in (if you're using these ingredients). Cook for at least one more hour. The longer the better.
- Add salt to taste. Or use soy sauce. Or, it is typical not to use salt at all since salt can make you swell and women who are recovering from childbirth would prefer to avoid any swelling.
- Eat the soup with the chicken meat on the bone. Avoid or discard the ginger (or not, if you like ginger).