Skin Glowing Soup

Autumn, the season of the Metal Element - a theory that originated in Chinese and Taoism philosophy. As Amanda from Auricfields Kinesiology explained in our last post, the Metal Element is the season of grief, loss or regret. Of letting go of the old waste so that the new can evolve. It is the season of the lungs and large intestine, and the tissue of the Metal Element is the skin.

Chinese people use the five elements to balance many aspects of their lives, with the elements constantly flowing into each other. The Earth element connects to all others, and the other elements flow into a cycle. 

Chinese 5 element theory

Photo: jjcreates.com

The colour of the Metal Element is white, and eating white foods is in order for this autumn season

 White foods include daikon, onion, lotus seed, garlic, bitter melon, winter melon, broccoli, bamboo shoots, white wood ear, milk, tofu, soy milk, Asian pear, banana, almond, white sesame and rock sugar. These foods support the lungs, large intestines and the skin. 

Snow Fungus

 

The star of this soup, in my opinion, is the Snow Fungus

Also known as white fungus, it has been prized for its medicinal benefits, namely anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor. It is commonly used in soups and is soothing and nourishing, increasing fluids in body and healing coughs. Chinese and Japanese herbalists have been using this beautiful fungus for more than 2000 years. It contains collagen, and is extremely hydrating to the body, from the inside out. 

To prepare the Snow Fungus you soak it until soft, this takes about 30-60 minutes for it to become gelatinously soft. It will more than double its size, so make sure to put it in enough water. then you can remove the hard yellow core. This is what the fungus uses to attach itself to the decaying logs where it grows. It's hard, and you don't want to eat it. It is ready to add to soups now, or stir fries.

Snow Fungus Core 

I've made two versions of this soup. In Chinese medicine, it is believed that the body needs the nourishment of meat during the colder seasons. So the preferred version in that sense would be the chicken soup. However, if you don't eat meat, then the tofu version is just as delicious. Made from a vegetable stock, the daikon and snow fungus are the same as the chicken soup, and the chicken is replaced with tofu. The first time I made this with tofu I used silken tofu although I have to say I personally prefer the firm tofu as it has more texture. 

Whether you make a vegetable or a chicken stock, my top tip to a clear broth is don't allow the stock to boil. Just simmer slowly, once the broth is boiling and bubbling it becomes cloudy. 

This recipe looks a little long, but that's only because there are two versions of the broth. Choose the one you want to make and ignore the other version! 

Skin Glowing Soup with Tofu

Skin Glowing Soup

Ingredients:

  • Stock (vegetable or chicken, recipes below)
  • 1 daikon cut into bite sized pieces - white radish, available at most greengrocers
  • Rice noodles (prepared as per packet instructions)
  • Pre soaked snow fungus
  • Chopped spring onions
  • Chicken or tofu

Method:

Once you have the stock made, you can put the soup together as you need it. 

  • Place your choice of stock into a saucepan and add the soaked snow fungus and daikon. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 20 minutes until the daikon is tender and the snow fungus has become completely translucent (cooking the snow fungus in the stock allows it to absorb all the flavours of the stock, otherwise it doesn't taste of anything)
  • Add the prepared noodles, tofu (or chicken) to the stock to warm through then serve in bowls sprinkled with spring onions

Enjoy! 

Vegetable Broth

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant diced
  • 1 zucchini sliced
  • 2 carrots, cut into pieces
  • 2 sticks of celery cut into pieces
  • A handful of mushrooms - a mix of brown, shiitake, 
  • 1 onion diced
  • A handful of herbs, homegrown preferably, stalks included
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
  • A 3cm piece of ginger
  • 2 1/2 litres of water
  • Salt and white pepper

Method:

  • Saute the vegetables in the pot to release the flavours. You can use any vegetables, whatever is in season
  • Once the vegetables are golden and translucent, add the herbs, spices and water 
  • Keep the flame on low and allow the stock to slowly come to a simmer
  • Simmer lightly for 1.5 hours
  • Strain the vegetables and the clear stock is ready to use

 

Chicken Broth

Ingredients:

  • 1 organic chicken cut in half
  • 2 carrots, cut into pieces
  • 2 sticks of celery cut into pieces
  • 1 onion diced
  • A handful of herbs, homegrown preferably, stalks included
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
  • A 3cm piece of ginger
  • 2 1/2 litres of water
  • Salt and white pepper

Method: 

  • If time allows, put  the chicken pieces into a pot of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes then strain, discarding the water. This can be done while the vegetables are being prepared. By doing this, your stock will be beautifully clear
  • Saute the vegetables in the pot to release the flavours. You can use any vegetables, whatever is in season
  • Once the vegetables are golden and translucent, add the herbs, spices, chicken and water - ensuring there is enough water to cover the chicken
  • Keep the flame on low and allow the stock to slowly come to a simmer
  • Simmer lightly for 2 hours
  • Take the chicken out and leave to cool on a plate. Strain the vegetables and the clear stock is ready to use
  • Debone the chicken, discarding the bones and leaving the meat ready to add into the soup

Skin Glowing Soup with Chicken


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