Four Herb (Si Shen) Soup Cooking Instructions
- 500g of pork bone-in (eg. pork spare ribs or bone) or your favourite protein; sub with your favourite veggies for a vegan option.
- 2L boiling water + extra to blanch protein & soak herbs
- 4 generous slices of ginger
- (Vegan / Optional add-ins) Aromatics such as dried and fresh mushrooms (eg. shiitake mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, mushroom medley mix), root vegetables, firm tofu, spring onion, coriander, nuts (peanuts, walnuts, cashews) etc.
- Salt to taste
- (Optional) 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
(Vegan option - disregard step 1, 3 & 4)
- Blanch-wash protein; Using a separate pot to your soup pot, add protein to a medium-sized pot & fill with enough boiling water to submerge protein. Bring to boil.
- In the meantime, rinse the herbs in cold water to 'awaken' herbs.
- Once the liquid has boiled, boil for an extra 1 minute before discarding the liquid. You may notice some brown foam and impurities surface.
- Give the protein another rinse under water to clean any impurities and fat.
- Prepare 2L of boiling water in your soup pot. Strain rinsed herbs and add to your soup pot with protein, ginger & any aromatics.
- Bring to boil and continue boiling for 15 minutes.
- Turn down heat and simmer for 2 -3 hours.
- Stir in shaoxing rice wine (if using) and season salt to taste. Rest for 5 mins before serving.
Cooking notes & tips
- For a richer, full flavour tonic here are a few tips:
- The longer the herbal TONIC has been cooked, the more the tonic will reduce into a beautiful, darker & richer flavour. Remember, herbal soups are best cooked 'low & slow".
- Cook the night before & leave in the herbs to allow further infusion. When you are ready to serve, just bring to boil.
- Marinate the protein with salt after blanch washing. You may also add your preferred seasoning options such as sesame oil, fish sauce or soy sauce at the end.
- To make a true bone broth, it is recommended you simmer for 8+ hours to allow for the chemical breakdown needed to extract the collagen and other nutrients from the bones into the soup. You can choose to use a slow cooker / multi cooker. Make sure you use quality ingredients. You can also roast the bones in the oven for 20-30 mins at 200 degrees before adding to your pot for a more robust flavour.
- If adding more protein than the recommended amount, ensure all ingredients are submerged in water.
- You can add a combination of protein with bone-in as well as lean protein for enhanced meaty flavour. Look for bone with more meat if possible. Lean protein will be tough after cooking but the flavour will be extracted into the soup.
- For a clean and clear soup, remove any skin and fat from protein.
- Store leftover herbal soup in the fridge. When you are ready to serve, just bring to boil.
- The herbs are edible so don't be afraid to taste. You can either serve them with your tonic or discard.
- If you prefer, skim the layer of fat from the surface & discard before serving.