Birthday, Lunar New Year, immunity, or postpartum herbal soup

 

15 mintues
to prep

1 hour
to cook

3-4 servings

About this Recipe

This soup was created to help those who have just given birth heal during their first week. In a practice called “Sit for a Month,” people who give birth are pressured by their family to eat mostly animals for at least 30 days; however, I created this veganized recipe that includes Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) ingredients.

For the first month, TCM practitioners recommend mostly resting and not doing chores such as lifting heavy groceries or mopping the floor. (Spread the good news!) They also recommend healing by drinking and eating only warm things and staying warm. 

Anyone can eat this soup, not just people who have given birth. Eating noodle soup on birthdays and during Lunar New Year is traditional, and it is said the soup will help you live as long as the noodles. So eat the longest noodles you can find!

Photo and Recipe Courtesy of Jessian Choy

Ingredients

Broth Base:

  • 8 dried, whole shiitake mushrooms (xiānggū 香菇)
  • 2 tablespoons dried black wood ear mushrooms (hēi mù’ěr 黑木耳)
  • ¼ cup rice wine 
  • 2 scallions, chopped with white and green parts separated
  • 2-inch fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons black vinegar

Dried fruit: 

  • ¼ cup dried goji berries (also called “wolfberries”)
  • 1 ½ cups dried red dates (hóngzǎo 红枣, ziziphus jujube)
  • ½-oz  pieces of sliced astragalus root (gàn huángqí 干黄芪)
  • ¾-oz slices of whole angelica sinensis root (gàn quán dāng guīgēn 干全当归根)

Vegetables:

  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 pound lion’s mane mushrooms (shī zōng gū狮鬃菇). 
  • ¼ cup dried seaweed
  • 16-oz block of firm tofu, chopped (See Notes section for alternatives)
  • Noodles of choice (I use purple sweet potato noodles)
  • Soy sauce to taste

Instructions

  1. Soak dried shiitake and wood ear mushrooms in warm water for an hour. 
  2. Clean vegetables thoroughly.
  3. Boil dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid with all broth and herb ingredients.
  4. Once it boils, reduce to medium-low heat and simmer uncovered without stirring it for 45 minutes.
  5. Add vegetables, tofu, and seaweed. Cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Add noodles based on the time it takes to cook them. Different brands take different times to cook. For example, if they take 8 minutes to cook, add them 7 minutes after you add vegetables and tofu.
  7. Season with soy sauce.

Notes

  • If you have leftovers, refrigerate and eat them within four days. Or freeze them in a container. 
  • Alternatives to the block of firm tofu in the recipe’s ingredient list include yuba soy tofu skin, which is chewier than dried tofu skin; vegan “fish tofu,” which is made of organic soy flour; firm, soy-free pumpkin seed tofu, and smoked fava bean tofu. 
  • You may be able to source some ingredients for this recipe more affordably and sustainably from bulk bins at herb shops and natural food stores.