3/26/2010

Apple chicken herbal soup




It's the second day in a row that I've not had the chance to go to the market because of Alicia... she woke up in the middle of the night and played through till dawn and my head was spinning when I woke this morning. Needless to say, it must be due to the terribly interrupted sleep I had.

Hence, I had to scour through whatever else was left in my kitchen to cook up a decent meal for the family... I had already set the chicken stock to cook overnight in the slowcooker so I had a soup base to work with. With really nothing much left in the fridge to add to the soup (I thought carrots alone weren't particularly appetising as a soup), I happened to glance into the fruit compartment and I saw that I had an abundance of organic apples... and so, apple soup it is for the day!

I used to cringe whenever I hear fruits cooked in soup when I was younger. Fruits, in my opinion then, weren't meant to be used in soups. :) Hehe...

Anyway, I had initially wanted to add sweet and bitter almonds (南北杏) to the soup (as most people usually do for this apple soup), but I remembered that there was something about bitter almonds so I went to check with the chinese medicinal shop opposite my place and the shop assistant warned me against adding the almonds if I wanted Alicia to have some of the soup. This is due to the fact that bitter almonds contain a trace amount of toxins and should not be given to young children. She went on to elaborate that young children may not be able to process the toxins properly like adults so it could be potentially harmful. She also mentioned that bitter almonds are not like the usual herbs we use in cooking like red dates and such as it is used mainly for medicinal purposes. She didn't mention at which age children could start taking them in soups but I mentioned that Alicia's 20+mths and she warned me against it so just be careful about adding this to soups if you are serving it to your little ones. To replace the sweet and bitter almonds, I decided to add lily bulbs instead. :) Lily bulbs are known to calm the spirit, nourish the lungs, are good for the skin and even for the prevention and treatment of cancers.

Anyway, here's how to cook it...



Apple chicken herbal soup

*Skip the dried scallop for tots below 18mths*


Ingredients:





  • 3 large candied dates (金丝蜜枣)
  • 4 dried figs (无花果)
  • 1 handful of lily bulbs (百合)
  • 2 organic apples
  • 3 chicken breast bones, leftover chicken thigh bones from a few chicken thighs which I deboned
  • 1 dried scallop (place in a soup bag)
  • 3 cloves garlic (leave in their skin)
  • 1 soup pot water





Method:

  1. Clean and blanch the chicken bones.
  2. Place the chicken bones, garlic and dried scallop in the slowcooker.
  3. Cook on high heat for 1 hour then low for about 6hours (I usually do this overnight).
  4. Transfer stock to a pot suitable for cooking on stovetop.
  5. Rinse the large candied dates, dried figs and lily bulbs.
  6. Soak the apples in a bowl of water for awhile then core and cut into quarters. If you are using non-organic apples, you may want to remove the skin in case of pesticide residue if not washed properly.
  7. Bring stock to a boil and add the apples, large candied dates, dried figs and lily bulbs. Bring to a boil again on medium heat then simmer on low for 2 hours.
  8. Sieve the soup (remove the bones and garlic) and return the rest of the ingredients to the soup (take the dried scallop out of the soup bag).
  9. Dish and serve.

Alicia was receptive to the soup... it's the first time she's drunk so much soup in her whole life! lol... and she loved the lily bulbs and ate a slice of the cooked apple... *happy mummy*






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