It was only in recent years that cordyceps militaris/ chong cao hua (虫草花), a Chinese medicinal herb became increasingly popular among Chinese traditional medicine practitioners, nutritionist, chef, and even homemakers. I was first introduced to it by my mother-in-law recently.
Translated literally into English, it means “worm grass flower”. But it is neither flower nor grass, nor does it resemble a worm. In fact, it is a cultured fungus and has similar medicinal value and chemical composition as cordyceps sinensis (冬虫夏草). However, it may not be of comparable strength to the latter. But then, you only need to pay a fraction of the price for cordyceps sinensis. This is indeed a good news to consumers who can’t afford the expensive cordyceps sinensis.
Cordyceps militaris are neutral in nature (平性) and suitable for everybody in general. It has anti-inflammation (抗炎症）and anti-aging (抗衰老) properties. Apart from that, it can bring relieve for insomnia, strengthen one’s lungs (保肺) and benefit the kidneys (益肾) (N1).
I did a google search and found this simple and healthy soup recipe which uses cordyceps militaris. The recipe also includes “dang shen” (党参) which can help to reinforce qi (补中益气), invigorate and improve blood circulation (养血) (N2).
I had tried it out and found it to be very delicious. It has a delectable clear taste, with a slight tinge of ginseng feeling on one’s taste buds. But just like any clear-based Chinese chicken herbal soups, it is packed with natural sweetness. My mother-in-law experienced better quality sleeps after consuming it couple of times.
Since the H1N1 flu is still pervasive in the world, it would be great to get some natural immunity booster for the entire family. Thus, I strongly recommend this nutritious yet affordable soup to everyone.
If you want to know more about cordyceps militaris, read this article.
N1: Soups for expelling dampness and heat by Chiu Sang
N2: The World of Nourishing & Fine Soups by Kenny Chen
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Adapted and modified: 百度知道
1 whole chicken (about 1 kg) (I used free range chicken/ 甘榜鸡)
12g cordyceps militaris/ chong cao hua (虫草花)
5 sticks dang shen (党参)
2 tbsp wolfberries (杞子)
2 slices of ginger (姜)
12-15 red dates (红枣)
1200-1500 ml water (adjust accordingly)
Salt to taste
- Remove the chicken skin. Trim the excess fat. Wash and rinse the chicken. Cut into large chunks. Blanch over boiling water. Rinse again and set aside.
- Rinse dang shen and cut into 2 portions for each stick. Wash and rinse cordyceps militaris. Wash and removed seeds for red dates. Cut ginger into slices. Set aside.
- Bring water to a boil. Put all ingredients (except for wolfberries) into the pot and bring it to the boil again. Reduce to medium heat for 10 minutes. Then simmer for another 2 hours. Add wolfberries just 5 minutes before the end of the cooking.
- Turn off the heat. Season with salt and serve.