‘Knee and Back’ Soup

This is a soup to strengthen the knees and back.

Chronic weakness, pain or slow healing of the knees and/or lower back can be related to the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine. This soup recipe contains ingredients traditionally used to strengthen the Kidneys, and reinforce the knees and back. It also helps to circulate Qi and Blood, and is high in silicon which is essential for the strength of the bones and connective tissues.

This soup can be used to aid healing after an injury or surgery, or to maintain health of the lower back and knees.

1pt ‘real’ chicken stock, made from broken chicken bones
2 small handfuls pearl barley or yi yi ren
2 small handfuls black beans (cooked)
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 sticks celery
1 large carrot
Black pepper
Dash of shaoshing rice wine

Note on ingredients: Yi Yi Ren is also known as coix or Chinese barley, and can be cooked in the same way as pearl barley. It is used in Chinese herbalism for clearing dampness, especially when this relates to joint pain. Shaoshing rice wine is a Chinese wine commonly used in cooking. Both are available from Chinese supermarkets.


Simmer the barley or yi yi ren and celery in the stock for 45 minutes. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes more, then add the carrot and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until all ingredients are cooked. Add the cooked beans, a dash of rice wine and a good amount of black pepper. Cook for another couple of minutes, then serve.

Serves 2.

This soup will also freeze well.