Chicken Soup for the Traditional Chinese Medicine Soul!

chinese-chicken-soupAn important herb in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is astragalus root, called Huang Qi in China. It’s used to strengthen the body’s immune system, known as wei qi in TCM.
Astragalus root can be found dried in Chinese herbal shops or some natural health food stores.
If you don’t have access to astragalus, you can omit it from the recipe.
  • 1 whole organic chicken, small-to medium-sized
  • short-grain, sticky or Japanese sushi rice, enough to fill the chicken cavity
  • 5 to 7 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, chopped finely
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sea salt, to taste
  • dark roasted sesame oil, to taste (garnish)
  • green onion, sliced into fine threads (garnish)
  • small Thai chili peppers, chopped very finely (garnish)
  • 2 medium sticks of dried astragalus root (omit if you can’t find it)
1. Rinse the chicken thoroughly and trim any excess skin and fat.
2. Fill the entire chicken cavity with rice. Place the chicken inside a covered stockpot and fill the pot with water so that the waterline is approximately 2 inches above the top of the chicken.
3. Place the bay leaf and sea salt in the stockpot. Bring to a boil, then turn down to medium – low so that the water is boiling gently.
4. Add the astragalus, ginger, and garlic and continue cooking for 2 hours or until the chicken and rice are well-cooked.
To serve, cut a piece of chicken and place it in a bowl with some of the rice and soup.
Garnish with green onion threads, Thai chilis (extremely spicy!), and a few drops of dark sesame oil. Enjoy!

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