Thursday, July 8, 2010

So Hot!!

Earlier we thought summer wouldn't come, then suddenly uncle sunshine decides to work overtime. It's been intolerable even lying down all day long with the fan blowing at us. The Chinese has this tradition of get rid of the heat and wetness in your body (去濕清熱)and the pre-pack ingredients for making the soup which will do the trick are in high demand. All you need is a packet of these, winter melon and some pork shank, add water and boil for a couple of hours. You are on your way to this magic potion which will take the excess water you store in your system to counter the summer heat.

A lot of people will buy and cook these without realizing what they are drinking. Since we don't get to drink the soup, we have to settle for just looking at the ingredients!!

This is a typical packet of these Chinese soup ingredients. It doesn't look remarkable in any shape or form.

But when you open it out and spread them apart, you actually get an interesting mix of different parts of different plants. (You might want to click and see a better quality picture with annotation of each ingredient.)

豬苓 Polyporus umbellatus - is a mushroom / fungus.

木棉花 Bombax ceiba - is the flower of a cotton tree.

澤瀉 Alismataceae  - is the stolon of a flowering plant grown in water.

燈芯 Juncales - a flowering plant.

蓮房 lotus seedpod.

果皮 - skin of a citrus fruit.
箄薢 - is the stolon of another plant.
白扁豆 White Hyacinth Bean
赤小豆 Vigna umbellata - is a annual vine legume with yellow flowers.
生熟薏米 Coix Seeds - see for an excellent summary in English.

When it is all written out, it looks rather impressive and this is just a small sample of ingredients that go into Chinese medicinal soups.

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