Chicken Soup with Healing Herbs

Tom Kha Gai (Photo by Gunnar Mattiasson/flickr)


1 small roasting chicken
1 tablespoon dried lesser galangal slices
5 slices fresh ginger
5 pieces dried tangerine peel
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
2 tablespoons wolfberries (optional)


Cut off the tail of the chicken, taking care to cut high enough so that the two glands on either side are also eliminated. Remove fat from body cavity, and all the skin (except on the wings). Cut chicken into pieces through the bone, Chinese style.

Put chicken and all the other ingredients into a Yunnan pot or other heatproof earthenware dish. If a Yunnan pot with its steam-conducting funnel is not available, add about 1 cup of water. (The Yunnan pot will not need any water.)

The wolfberries, if used, produce a faint sweet flavor and added benefits.

Place pot on a trivet in a large boiler so it is above the level of water. Cover boiler with a well-fitting lid and cook on medium heat, keeping the water boiling and adding more from time to time as required, for 1 1/2 hours. Serve in the pot.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)