You are used to getting your Chinese herbs from us in tea form but did you know there are many herbs which can be used as food. One of my favorite ways of incorporating healing herbs into my life is by cooking with them. This simple recipe for steamed chicken includes red dates known as da zao in Chinese and long prized as a blood tonic that calms the mind and aids sleep. Other herbs in this recipe are lily buds known as jin zhen cai which are known as a brain tonic and for their anxiety-relieving properties and cloud mushrooms translated in Chinese as yun zhi and renowned as a tonic that boosts immunity.
Skinless, boneless chicken cut into 1″ pieces (I like thighs best)
2 tbsp rice wine
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornflour
Large piece of ginger, finely chopped
A handful of Chinese Red Date (Jujube)
A handful of Dried Chinese Cloud Mushrooms
A handful of Dried Lily Flowers
Chopped green onions.
Mix the rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and cornflour and marinate the Chicken pieces in this mixture for at least an hour. Meanwhile soak the cloud mushrooms and lily buds in warm water for an hour. The mushrooms will puff up to several times their normal size. Then rinse the fungus and trim the stem which is hard and woody. Halve the red dates and remove the pit.
Put the chicken on a plate that will fit inside a bamboo steamer. Pour the marinade over the top and scatter the cloud ears, red dates and lily buds over the top of the chicken. Put the plate inside a steamer for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked through.5 minutes before the end of cooking toss in some chopped green onions.
Serve with rice.