May’s Soup

Healing Soups from a Chinese Kitchen:  Korean Ginseng Soup

Korean Ginseng is eaten for its restorative qualities.  It’s said to be good for your heart and a mild stimulant that helps to replenish qi energy and reduce stress.

Korean ginseng is generally double steamed to capture the flavor, and the resulting soup is strong in taste.  It can be made with plain with water, although a 4 ounce skinless chicken breast could be added to make this tastier.  Drinking Korean ginseng gives an optimistic outlook on life and youthful energy.

 Korean ginseng looks very different than all other ginseng – the roots resemble mahogany-colored squarish cigars.  The herb is also available sliced, and Chinese herb shops will sell you as little as 1 ounce, Korean ginseng is the most expensive ginseng, costing from about $ 185 to more than $ 300 a pound.   Chinese ginseng can be substituted, for it is said to have similar attributes but is considered to be inferior in quality and is, therefore, more affordable.

 Korean or Chinese ginseng is not recommended in the summer, as it’s too invigorating for warm weather.  Never use a metal saucepan, as that diminishes the power of the ginseng.  Once the soup is ready, it should be served with a porcelain spoon to prevent one from contaminating the ginseng.

 1 ounce Korean ginseng

4 cups cold water

1 chicken breast (about 4 ounces), optional

Rinse the ginseng and place it in a small nonreactive saucepan; add 2 cups of cold water.  Bring to boil over high heat.  Slice and add the chicken, if desired.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 1 hour.  Remove the ginseng, reserving the cooking liquid.

When cool enough to handle, cut the ginseng into ¼ inch pieces.  Place the ginseng, the reserved cooking liquid, and the remaining 2 cups of cold water in Chinese-style tureen (or a deep heatproof bowl) and cover with an airtight lid.

Put about 2 inches of cold water in a pot that is large enough to fit the tureen without touching the sides of the pot.  Place a cake rack on the bottom of the pot and carefully place the tureen on the rack.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Steam on medium-high heat for 4 hours.  Check the water level often and replenish with boiling water, never letting the depth of the water fall below 2 inches.

Remove from the heat, and carefully remove the tureen from the pot.   Ladle the soup with a porcelain serving spoon, and serve piping hot (no more than 1 cup per person).  The ginseng can be eaten, but it will have a very powerful flavor even after four hours of cooking.



March’s Soup

Cream of Asparagus



1 teaspoon of clarified butter

½ pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces

2 cups vegetable stock

1 cup filtered water

1 teaspoon chopped fennel fronds or fresh marjoram

2 tablespoons organic cream


Freshly ground black pepper

Chopped parsley or toasted sliced almonds, for garnish

1.   Heat the clarified butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.   Add the asparagus and fennel and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes.

2.   Pour in the stock and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.

3.   Transfer the soup to a blender, add cream, and blend until smooth.  Return to the saucepan, gently rewarm, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

4.   Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls, garnish with chopped parsley or toasted almonds, and serve immediately.






Shitake mushrooms infuse this broth with hearty flavor and pump up the health benefits providing antiviral, immune-boosting and cholesterol lowering properties. Ginger is a pain-reducing anti-inflammatory that also fights nausea. The pho is loaded with garlic which has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral benefits.


6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

3 large shallots, sliced (1 cup)

1/2 cup dried shitake mushrooms

10 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

12 1/4-inch-thick slices fresh ginger

3 Tbs. low sodium soy sauce

1 Tbs. brown sugar

1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar

1 tsp. ground black pepper

2 cinnamon sticks

2 star anise

5-6 basil stems, leaves reserved for soup

5-6 cilantro stems, leaves reserved for soup


1 8-oz. pkg. rice noodles

1 8-oz. pkg. Asian-flavored baked tofu, thinly sliced

2 cups soybean sprouts

2 cups watercress

4 green onions, sliced (1/2 cup)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1 lime, cut into wedges

1. To make broth: bring all ingredients and 8 cups water to a boil in large covered pot. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 1 hour. Strain, and return to pot.

2. To make pho: cook noodles, according to package directions. Drain, and rinse with cold water.

Divide among 6 bowls. Ladle broth in each bowl; add tofu, sprouts, watercress, and green onions. Serve wIth cilantro, basil, and lime.



“HEAL, NOURISH AND SOOTHE” This is a soothing soup with easy-to-digest egg protein. Mint and oregano contain rosmarinic acid, which is believed to inhibit bronchial constrictors and ease respiratory complaints. Lemon juice provides immune-building vitamin C. Leeks and onion provide strong cold and flu fighting power with anti-inflammatory benefits.

This recipe was featured in the Healing Foods Cookbook.


2 Tbs. olive oil
2 medium leeks, white parts finely chopped (4 cups)
1 small onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
2 small carrots, peeled and diced (3/4 cup)
6 cups no-chicken broth
1/2 cup orzo pasta
2 large eggs
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
Lemon wedges, for garnish

1. Warm olive in saucepan over medium heat.  Add leeks, onion, carrots, and pinch of salt; cover.  Cook, stirring frequently, 7 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.

2. Stir in broth; add salt and pepper to taste.  Cover, reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer 10 minutes.  Add orzo, and cook 11 minutes more, or until orzo is tender.  Remove from heat.

3. Whisk together eggs and lemon juice in bowl.  Add 3 ladles of soup broth to egg mixture, whisking constantly.  Whisk egg mixture back into soup, and cook over low heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until soup thickens – do not allow to boil. Sprinkle with parsley, mint, and oregano. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.

Ohio Wellness Spa
Barbara Phibbs, RN.,L Ac,OMD, Diplomate of NCCAOM

1241 Dixie Highway
Toledo, OH 43640