Friday, December 07, 2012

Recipe: 4 gods soup 四神汤

Recently while on my preceptorship, my preceptor mentioned that Chinese people knows how to eat to maintain their health and asked me what I usually eat. I told her that I grew up drinking soups since I am Cantonese. Thus, she asked me to share my recipes for nourishing soups.

On another occasion at dinner with my good friends in Canada, JX and PN were enthralled to hear my opinion that the duration of the menstrual cycle may be affected by the food we eat. I cited as an example that if I ate too much soy-products, I find my cycle shortened (even down to 3 weeks). Recently since I started drinking nourishing soups regularly, e.g. the "4 gods soup" [四神汤], my cycle returned to its usual 30 to 31 days duration. PN was especially interested in the recipe for the "4 gods soup" [四神汤] as it is known to have multiple benefits.

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"4 gods soup" [四神汤]

This is my version of the "4 gods soup" [四神汤]。 A chance discussion with a monk back in September reminded me of this nourishing soup. The recipe ingredients vary depending on who you ask, so my recipe is a combination of my mother's recipe and a common online recipe.


These are the actual amounts that I use in a pot of soup (serves 4-8). The ingredients clockwise, from top-left (clear rectangular container).
  • Clear rectangular container [Top white rolls with brown edges]: 茯苓 (Wolfiporia cocos)
  • Clear rectangular container [Bottom 2 white pieces]: 茯神 (Poria cocos, a.k.a. Indian Bread). Note: This ingredient is not in the usual "4 gods soup" [四神汤]recipes, but my mother adds it regularly to hers. It is supposed counter insomnia, to calm mental anxiety [宁心] and soothes "one's nerves" [安神]。
  • Red bowl: 芡实 (Euryale ferox, a.k.a. Fox Nuts)
  • Blue bowl: 枸杞 (Wolfberry Lycium). Note: This ingredient is not in the usual "4 gods soup" recipes, but I add it in because I like its taste and it is good for one's vision (eyes).
  • Green bowl: 紅棗 (Red dates). Note: This ingredient is not in the usual "4 gods soup" [四神汤]recipes, but I added it because it sweetens the soup naturally and it nourishes the blood.
  • Black bowl (six white pieces): 淮山(山藥) (Dioscorea opposita, a.k.a. Chinese Yam)
  • Clear round container: 蓮子 (Lotus seeds)
  • Not displayed: Soya source added to taste
1. Rinse all the ingredients.

2. Optional step: De-seed the red dates.

3. Split open the lotus seeds. Remove and discard any green sapling growing at the core/centre.

4. Put all (except the 枸杞 Wolfberry Lycium) ingredients into the slow-cooker. Add water. Slow-cook for 2 to 3 hours.

5. At the final few minutes, add the 枸杞 Wolfberry Lycium. Also, add soya sauce to taste.

6. Serve warm.

"4 gods soup" [四神汤]
Serve warm

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