Four letters. One pot. Seven ingredients.
One syllable. Two hours. Two herbs. One spice.
Undervalued. Overlooked. Snubbed. Second fiddle to brownies. Overshadowed by cheesecake. Kicked to the kerb by pie. Thrashed by fried chicken. Vapourised by red velvet anything.
Simple. Beautiful. Sublime. Restoring.
Beef Rib Soup with Tang Kwei and Wolf Berries
Prep 30 mins Cook 2 hrs Serves 4
2kgs beef ribs, cut into short lengths
2 large knobs ginger, peeled (reserve a little for garnishing)
12 slices tang kwei (angelica sinensis root), rinsed and drained
11/2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 generous handful wolf berries (kei chi or goji berries), rinsed and drained
Coriander (daun ketumbah) or Chinese celery (daun seledri/daun sup) leaves
Trim off excess fat from ribs, put into a large pot and cover completely with cold water. Bring to the boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes then turn off heat.
Remove ribs from pot and discard blanching water. Rinse ribs thoroughly under cold running water until free of impurities and no longer greasy.
Return ribs to clean pot. Reserve a little peeled ginger for shredding and slice the rest thickly. Add sliced ginger and tang kwei to ribs in pot.
Add sugar and pour in enough water to submerge ribs. Bring to the boil then lower heat. Simmer until ribs are tender but still on the bone.
If water has reduced to a level lower than ribs, top up with hot water. While simmering, ensure ribs are always covered by liquid and skim off any scum or oil that rises to the top, to keep soup clear.
Add salt and wolf berries to pot and stir gently. Bring to the boil again then turn off heat. Transfer soup to serving or individual bowls and garnish with ginger shreds and coriander or Chinese celery leaves.
Serve immediately with rice and chilli garlic sauce or sliced red chillies in light or dark soy sauce.
Purported Benefits of Chinese Herbs I Often Cook With
chuan xiong (lovage root) - for gynaecological health, anaemia, improves immunity
dang shen (codonopsis root) - aids digestion, relieves cough, improves metabolism and circulation
ginseng - general health tonic, immunity booster, metabolism booster, improves athletic performance. avoid if you have high blood pressure or take blood thinning medications.
huang qi (astralagus or milkvetch root) - improves immunity, strengthens liver, controls blood pressure and blood sugar
kei chi (wolf berries or goji berries) - for healthy, strong eyes. avoid if you have diabetes as it is high in sugar.
tang kwei (angelica sinensis) - for gynaecological health and anaemia
huai shan (Chinese yam) - counters diarrhoea and diabetes, promotes urination
Disclaimer : Please note that the potency of most foods and nutrients, including Chinese herbs are reduced by exposure to high heat and cooking. I am not a physician, or dietician and the information on Chinese herbs provided here are not my views but information and opinions widely available on the internet. I do not stand by these opinions and I guarantee nothing. I merely find these Chinese herbs a pleasant and flavourful addition to my cooking. Please use these herbs at your own risk and discretion and with medical surpervision if you have/had any medical condition or are/were on any medication.