Thursday, April 29, 2010

Herbal Tonics Made Easy

His beard was as white as snow. His fragile fingers delicately sorted out the array of herbs while I became fixated my fascination on wall-to-wall dark timber drawers. Each drawer was filled with some anecdote of which the man slowly bundled and weighed. He then hands me my package bundled in brown paper and carefully ties it with a white string.

I get home and sit myself infront of hot stove- placing all my ingredients into the the charred-brown pot. I continually fan the steaming brew- at times falling asleep and waking up with beads of sweat across my forehead. After slaving for eight hours, the herbal tonic being reduced to half, I gently pour the ingredients into a ceramic bowl, careful I don't waste a drop..


..totally fictional!!! But its so much like a scene in a ancient Chinese movie no?!.. I just couldn't bring myself to lie to you though I wanted you to think I slaved over a little pot. But truth is..

I bought this little packet of stuff...and all I did was put it together and tapped the 'on' button. 

Easy as 1-2-3. I par-boiled my pork and chicken bones, quickly rinsed the Chinese herbs, chucked it all into my beloved slow-cooker with adequate water, turned it on and went to work. Eight hours later, I have a herbal tonic!

Ahh..I love my life! 

But the real reason why I wanted to share this with because if I want the exact same tonic in the near future- I can just go to the herbalist down the road and tell him exactly what I need without looking for this particular pack of stuff in the shops or gather these ingredients myself. Maybe I'd feel better that way- that I do get my herbs from timber drawers instead of hung up on commercialized shelves.-Self-deceiving! Makes me believe I'm a better wife. Not.

The ingredients for Bei Qi Dang Shen Tang are [please don't let the names scare you..]:

3.5g Bei Qi (Astragalus Menbranaceus)
3.5g Dang Shen (Condonopsis Pilosula)-otherwise known as Poor Man's Ginseng
23g  Huai Shan (Dioscorea Opposita)
15g Dried Longan- Finally! A name I can comprehend!
15g Boxthorn Fruit (Dried Wolfberries)
30g Dates

1 skinless chicken breast with bones
3 pieces pork bones
Water to cover over everything

*Ps: Please skim off the fat above the soup before drinking..obviously I was too lazy to do it for these photos.

And just incase you're wondering, the soup is sweet tasting and not bitter at all. More like a consume with herbal flavours. 


  1. Hi from Australia here (architect too!) Love all your creations and just wish you can share some recipies once in a while!

  2. You got me on my lazy posts. lol. I'll try to write as many as I can:)

    Thanks for the input!