Silkie Chicken Soup

DISCLAIMER: I don't believe this is a Korean dish; it's a traditional Chinese dish that is made usually for a sick person (and I've been sick for the past few days). 

No, I didn't make a typo for "Silky." Silkie chicken actually refers to a species of chicken that has a black coat. It's literally black. And it's super fluffy and puffy. It's actually kind of cute, but don't Google Image it if it will discourage you from trying this treasure of a soup out. 

This chicken soup is literally one of the best tasting things in the world. This chicken is very, very low on fat, so the broth that is produced is very low on fat, yet, it tastes richer than the most fatty chicken soup. In fact, I actually eat the skin right off the chicken because the skin is so low on fat and is actually very good for the skin because of its high concentration of amino acids. Although I'm not exactly the biggest proponent of traditional Chinese medicine, I can confirm that this soup is a panacea -- it makes every illness goes away. My mom is bringing me some from home today to help my flu-like symptoms go away...

I will admit that some of these Chinese herbs are relatively hard to find, so if you cannot find some of these ingredients, don't sweat it! Just substitute with the classic scallion and ginger combination :) (do ask me if you need help substituting this!)

This recipe is from Mama Tong -- with my own modifications. The pictures and descriptions are also from Mama Tong. This recipe makes a large stock pot full of soup. You can find the original recipe here:  http://mamatongsoup.com/herbal-chicken-soup/




8 slices of ginger (1/4 inch thick)

3-5 slices of dried ginseng

1 tbsp. rice wine

7 cups of water 

1 black chicken (Silkie chicken)

8 dried red dates, pitted 

2 tbsp. dried goji berries (wolfberry)

1 tbsp. dried longan fruit

0.5 oz. dried snow fungus

25-30 slices dried Chinese yam

1 tbsp. dried liquorice root

9 dried Chinese shiitake mushrooms

  1. In a big pot blanch the whole chicken by immersing the chicken in water and bringing it to a boil. Discard the water, keep the chicken.
  2. Add rice wine, water, and ginger to the chicken in the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for three and a half hours. The longer the better. 
  3. Rehydrate the dried red dates, goji berries, longan fruit, snow fungus, shiitake mushrooms, Chinese yam, ginseng, and liquorice root. Trim snow fungus into smaller pieces and discard hard stems. Drain.
  4. Break up the chicken into rough quarters (i.e. by its legs, wings, etc.) and toss it back into the pot. This will help flavor the soup more. De-bone the chicken if you wish, or just keep the meat on the bones for the more traditional finger-licking style of eating.
  5. Add rehydrated and drained whole herbs to the pot. Simmer for at least one more hour. The longer the better. 
  6. Add salt to taste. Avoid making the soup too salty, or else the soup will lose its healthy qualities...
  7. Enjoy. This may be slightly messy, but dig in the way one would dig into buffalo wings :)

It is best to find ginger that is young and bulbous. The more juice in the ginger the better. There are two tips that the elders gave me: 1. use rubber gloves, the ginger juice can really burn if you handle it a lot. 2. No need to use a peeler, just use a spoon to peel the ginger. 

It is best to find ginger that is young and bulbous. The more juice in the ginger the better. There are two tips that the elders gave me: 1. use rubber gloves, the ginger juice can really burn if you handle it a lot. 2. No need to use a peeler, just use a spoon to peel the ginger. 
In the West, dried goji berries (also known as wolf berries) are known for being high in antioxidants, rich in beta-carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin C, and amino acids. In the East, goji berries are used because they nourish "yin", enhance "chi", and tone the blood. Goji berries are believed to enhance the immune system, protect the liver, improve vision, deter tumors, and help eliminate fatigue. You'll see their seeds at the bottom of the soup.

In the West, dried goji berries (also known as wolf berries) are known for being high in antioxidants, rich in beta-carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin C, and amino acids. In the East, goji berries are used because they nourish "yin", enhance "chi", and tone the blood. Goji berries are believed to enhance the immune system, protect the liver, improve vision, deter tumors, and help eliminate fatigue. You'll see their seeds at the bottom of the soup.
Snow fungus (aka tremella fuciformis or bai mu er) is believed to be an immune stimulant and treatment for exhaustion. This gelatinous fungi is pretty tasteless on its own, but take on the flavors of the other ingredients, kind of like tofu but with a frilly texture. Snow fungus is also known for moistening and beautifying the skin.

Snow fungus (aka tremella fuciformis or bai mu er) is believed to be an immune stimulant and treatment for exhaustion. This gelatinous fungi is pretty tasteless on its own, but take on the flavors of the other ingredients, kind of like tofu but with a frilly texture. Snow fungus is also known for moistening and beautifying the skin.

Red dates (aka jujubes or hong zao) are believed to nourish the blood. They taste like apples and can be eaten raw, dried, or boiled. Make sure to buy the dates that are pitted. Red dates make soups and teas sweeter. Red dates are known to help maintain healthy blood pressure and to assist the stomach and the spleen in poor appetites. Red dates are often used to address stress and shortness of breath. Red date teas are also traditionally used after menstruation to help circulation and nourish the blood.

Red dates (aka jujubes or hong zao) are believed to nourish the blood. They taste like apples and can be eaten raw, dried, or boiled. Make sure to buy the dates that are pitted.
Red dates make soups and teas sweeter. Red dates are known to help maintain healthy blood pressure and to assist the stomach and the spleen in poor appetites. Red dates are often used to address stress and shortness of breath. Red date teas are also traditionally used after menstruation to help circulation and nourish the blood.
Dragon eye fruit (or long an rou) is similar to lychee nuts when found fresh in Southeast Asia. It is more commonly sold dried in the United States at asian markets. Long An adds natural sweetness to soup and is thought to nourish the blood. Long An is believed to be a food that calms the spirit, helps aid relaxation, and improves the appearance of skin. In Chinese medicine, Long An is a "heaty" food that reduces "wind" in the body, which is necessary for post-partum recovery.

Dragon eye fruit (or long an rou) is similar to lychee nuts when found fresh in Southeast Asia. It is more commonly sold dried in the United States at asian markets. Long An adds natural sweetness to soup and is thought to nourish the blood. Long An is believed to be a food that calms the spirit, helps aid relaxation, and improves the appearance of skin. In Chinese medicine, Long An is a "heaty" food that reduces "wind" in the body, which is necessary for post-partum recovery.





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I'm a person who has come to appreciate Korean culture through all my contact with Korean influences. I have experienced K-drama and K-pop fever, tutored five Korean kids, made more Korean food than you'd think, and dreamed about visiting Jeju Island and Seoul too many times... welcome to my world! 나는 한국을 사랑!