In Asia the line between food and medicine is more blurred than we in the west are used to. Chinese medicine is full of recipes that combine food and herbs to make meals that both nourish and cure. With cold and flu season still in full swing I thought I’d share a healing recipe for a delicious immune boosting Chinese chicken soup.

You can find all of the herbs in this soup from a Chinese herbal pharmacy, such as Kamwo, which is on Grand street in Chinatown.


  • 3 sticks of huang qi (astragalus)
  • 1/2 cup gou qi zi (wolfberries)
  • 2 2″ pieces of dang shen (codonopsis)
  • 8 da zao (red dates)
  • 6 dried shitaki mushrooms
  • 2″ ginger finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced
  • 2 red chili peppers, chopped (or to taste)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped into pieces of about 1″
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • A splash of olive oil


  1. Pour the cup of boiling water over the red dates, wolf berries and shitaki mushrooms and set aside.
  2. Soften the onions in the olive oil over a medium heat then turn up the heat and add the chopped chicken thighs stirring them as they brown. Add in the chili peppers, ginger and garlic and saute for 5 minutes then add the chicken stock and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat so that the soup simmers gently.
  3. Add in the huang qi and dang shen. Chop the shitaki mushrooms and add them along with the wolf berries and dates.

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