Chinese Pear Soup recipe
I, unfortunately, did not have a neighbor's juicy tree to pilfer from, so I went to the wet market and bought myself some Yali pears, or 鴨梨. But I think one could use any kind of Asian pear for this soup. The distinguishing characteristics of an asian pear is the high water content (almost 90%!), the crisp texture, and the thin usually yellow sometimes green skin with brown speckles. Western pears have a more buttery texture. And these Yali pears are soooo delicious served just as fruit, the absolutely unique crunchy sweet juiciness is really satisfying, so be sure to get yourself some extra pears just to eat plain!
Fritillary Bulb 川貝母There are only four ingredients in all for this Chinese Pear Herbal Tonic and you can get three of them at your local Chinese pharmacy store. First of all is a Chinese herb called Fritillary Bulb , or 川貝母. This herb sooths coughs and clear phlegm and body heat. It's a little bit pricey but worth it for this soothing remedy for coughs. Interestingly, this herb is actually the bulb of a beautiful flower, the Fritillaria Cirrhosa, as you can see in the illustration below.
The second herbal ingredient is the Northern Apricot Kernel, or 北杏仁. This herb helps soothe the lungs and stop the cough. Please do be sure to buy the prepared Northern Apricot Kernels that one finds at the Chinese pharmacy, as the unprepared ones (ie. skin on) are cyanide toxic and should not be used! When buying, differentiate between Southern 南杏仁 and Northern Apricot Kernels 北杏仁 as they look very similar.
|Northern Apricot Kernel 北杏仁|
And last of all, my favorite, honey dates, or 金黄蜜枣. These little guys are amazing in all kinds of soup, from simple tonics to more complex Cantonese style slow cooked soups, or 老火湯, adding a sweetness and a richness of flavor that is really wonderful. Honey dates naturally sweeten your soup tonic as well as nourishing the body and warming the yang energy.
Just throw these four things in a pot and simmer away. And just wait till you taste it! This tonic soup is supposed to be for my coughing little girl but (oops!) me and my 老公 somehow
greedily accidentally drank it all up! So I've got another potful simmering away on the stove as I write this post. My Grandma's amazingly simple home made soup has actually been an herbal cure for hundreds of years in China! Besides providing truly delicious nourishment for a weakened body, this Chinese Pear Herbal Tonic Soup will help to sooth away your cough and clear away that yucky phlegm.