The Chinese have long believed in the healing powers of food, harnessing the medicinal qualities of herbs and spices such as ginseng, ginger and cinnamon. Now that we’re in the depths of winter, it’s more important than ever to nurture our health through food. Discover a range of medicinal Chinese ingredients at your local supermarket and the warming properties of different foods, then embrace their powers in these soothing soups.
Popular in Malaysia and Singapore, bak kut teh is a soul-soothing dish of pork belly or ribs simmered with a special blend of herbs and spices. Literally meaning ‘meat bone tea’, this fortifying broth is jam-packed with collagen, which helps to regenerate cells, and a complex combination of herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, ginseng, star anise, cloves, fennel seeds and garlic, many of which are prized for their medicinal qualities.
Feel a sniffle coming on? It’s time to whip up a batch of Sichuan-style hot and sour soup. The chilli heat and vinegary tang of this traditional broth will clear up your sinuses in no time. Plus, it’s brimming with other virtuous ingredients, such as ginger (ideal for fighting nausea and inflammation), egg and tofu (packed with protein), and mushrooms and fungus (which lower cholesterol). This is one potent broth that will warm you from the inside out.
Ginseng is a nutritional powerhouse, regularly used to ward off winter ailments such as colds, sore throats and inflammation. One of the best ways to ingest ginseng is in a restorative broth of chicken and ginseng, which combines the soothing qualities of chicken with the healing properties of ginseng. Make a double batch of this soothing soup, then sip as you would a cup of tea whenever you feel a chill coming on.
For more super-powered soups, try six healthy winter recipes for Asian chicken soups.
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