Drinking slow-cooked broth （老火湯/燉湯）is a big thing for Cantonese people, and I do enjoy it. I always feel great after drinking a nice hot cup of broth.
In Chinese medicine, there are a lot of medical effects from natural herbs and vegetables. You can find details on internet, so I am not going to go through each one of them in detail. If I did, I wouldn’t have time to tell you about the recipe!
I generally like to use bone-in meat when making broth, because it adds collagen and I think it tastes better than just using filets. The most commonly used meats are pork and chicken, but there are also recipes where you use white fish, duck, or beef. But these aren’t your day-to-day types of broth.
I don’t make this soup often, as I don’t particularly enjoy the part where you have to crack a coconut. In Hong Kong, I can get fresh coconut flesh without making a mess.
You can find all the ingredients for this recipe in most of the big Chinese grocery stores. This broth is a bit fattier and heavier than regular broth because of the coconut. If you’d prefer something with less fat and have a fat skimmer, you could use that, but I wanted to get the good fat from the coconut, so I didn’t bother.
I never cook broth longer than 1 hour, so I would not recommend using a slow cooker for any of my Cantonese broth recipes. If you have an electric double boiler, that’s perfect, because you don’t need to be home during cooking. If you do not have an electric double boiler, you can use an enamel-coated cast iron pot and simmer the broth in your oven under low temperature.
Makes 4-5 cups
- 1 x bone-in chicken thigh, broken into 2 pieces
- 1 medium snow fungus (雪耳）
- 1/8 cup goji berries
- 2 thick slices of fresh ginger, pounded
- 1/2 cup fresh coconut flesh, broken into pieces
- 6 cups of water
Preheat oven to 160℃, with top and bottom heating function active and rack at lowest level.
Put dried snow fungus into a soup bowl and rinse briefly with cold water. Then fill bowl with enough water to cover the fungus and soak it until soft, about 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water and trim stems and brush off any dirt.
Quickly rinse goji berries and set aside.
Put chicken pieces into medium pot and fill it with enough water to cover the chicken. Add a pinch of salt and bring it to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, drain, and set aside.
Prepare a large enamel-coated cast iron pot and add all the ingredients and water, making sure everything is covered. Bring the broth to a boil and let it boil for 3 minutes. Turn heat off. Cover pot with lid (make sure that it’s the airtight lid that comes with the pot so that nothing escapes during cooking). Transfer the covered pot into the oven and let it simmer for an hour. Remove from the oven. Add salt if needed.
I usually consume the broth with garlic, chili paste, soy sauce, and a bowl of steamed rice for a perfect lunch.