Morel chicken soup to boost your immunity
Delicious morels chicken soup may also help reduce phlegm and aid digestion
Did you know that morels are regarded as a tonic in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)?
The fungus is believed to help reduce phlegm and boost one's immunity by regulating the body's qi (vital energy) and usually cooked in soups.
In Mandarin, morels are called yang du jun (lamb's stomach mushroom) as their outer appearance resembles lamb stomachs. There are several grades of morels from China - wild-grown and cultivated - available here.
At Queen Street Trading, which sells dried seafood and Chinese herbs, manager Walter Chua, 48, has noticed a surge in interest in morels this year.
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At his shop, cultivated morels are priced at $23 a Chinese tael (37.5g). The wild variety can fetch as much as $40 for the same quantity.
He said: "Cultivated morels are more affordably priced compared to those of the wild variety, so more customers are willing to try the cultivated ones."
WOODY SAVOURY AROMA
Wild morels have a strong aroma similar to cordyceps, which are more expensive, and are often used as a substitute in tonic soups, added Mr Chua.
Cheaper, cultivated morels can also be used to give a woody savoury aroma to soups.
He recommends allocating two morels for each person when cooking tonic soups. Other Chinese herbs to add include dried Mandarin orange peel, which is also believed to help reduce phlegm and aid digestion.
Instead of the standard grade of yu zhu (Solomon's seal), you can try adding in a premium grade, called hai yu zhu, which is sweeter in flavour.
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MORELS CHICKEN SOUP
(Makes four servings)
- 250ml hot water
- 8 pieces of morel (16g)
- 1.8 litres water (for blanching)
- 4 whole chicken leg quarters (900g), skin removed
- 3.8 litres water
- 31g hai yu zhu (Solomon's seal)
- 35g huai shan (Chinese wild yam)
- 4 black dates (37g), halved
- 6 red dates (25g)
- 3g dried Mandarin orange peel
- 11g wolfberries
- 1 tsp salt
1. Soak the morels in 250ml of hot water for 20 minutes. Squeeze and rinse. Use scissors to remove stems. Set aside.
2. Bring 1.8 litres of water to a boil. Blanch the chicken until there is no more blood. Remove the chicken and rinse.
3. In a pot, bring 3.8 litres of water to a boil. Place blanched chicken and morels in pot.
4. Add the hai yu zhu, huai shan, black dates, red dates and dried Mandarin orange peel. Cover and bring to a boil.
5. Once it boils, turn heat to low and simmer covered for 1hr and 50min.
9. Add in the wolfberries and season with salt. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
10. Serve hot.
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