Four Gentlemen Soup (Si Jun Zi Tang) with Chicken
The "Four Gentlemen", or the "Sì Jūnzǐ " as we call it, is a Confucius term referring to four plants whose virtues are highly praised in Chinese culture : Plum blossom, Orchid, Bamboo, and Chrysanthemum.
Similarly, in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), there are four herbs which work harmoniously in a mild way to boost Qi (the Great Energy) and nourish the spleen and stomach. Therefore, we call them the "Four Gentlemen" in TCM.
As one of the most commonly used and mild formulas in Chinese community, some Chinese herb stores sell their own soup packets, which is ready-to-cook; you could also find our daily packed "Four Gentlemen" soup packets (Si Jun Zi Tang) in store or online.
- 1 whole chicken, approximately 3-4 pounds, cut into pieces
- 10g dang shen (codonopsis pilosula), dried
- 10g bai zhu (atractylodes macrocephala), dried
- 10g fu ling (poria cocos), dried
- 10g ginger, peeled and sliced
- 5-6 red dates (jujubes, da zao)
- 3-4 small pieces of Chinese liquorice root (gan cao)
- 8 cups water
- Salt to taste
Rinse the dried dang shen, bai zhu, and fu ling under cold water to remove any dirt or impurities. Place them in a large soup pot along with the chicken pieces, ginger slices, red dates, and liquorice.
Add 8 cups of water to the pot, and bring it to a boil over high heat.
Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through and the flavors have melded together.
Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface during cooking, for a clear and clean broth.
Once the soup is ready, season with salt to taste, and adjust the seasoning according to your preference.
Serve hot and enjoy the delicious and nourishing Four Gentlemen Chicken Soup! The soup can be enjoyed on its own or served over rice for a heartier meal.
Note: The dried herbs, dang shen, bai zhu, fu ling, and liquorice, can be found here at The Herb Depot or your local Asian grocery stores or specialty herb shops. If you are unable to find these ingredients, you can substitute them with other similar Chinese herbs or omit them, although they add unique flavors and health benefits to the soup. As always, consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet, especially if you have any health conditions or concerns.
By Jingzi 04/18/23