This is a recipe to strengthen and regulate the digestive system, which comes under the domain of the Earth element in Chinese medicine (hence the name). It’s simple and easy to prepare, and tastes delicious.
Ingredients (Serves 2):
1 small onion
1 stick of celery
3-4 good pinches shredded dried tangerine peel (chen pi) – approx 5-8g
3-4 slices fresh root ginger
1 pt light chicken or veg stock or water
Put the tangerine peel and ginger in a saucepan with the stock or water (stock from a cube or powder is fine for this recipe.) Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 20-30 mins. Remove the ginger and most of the tangerine peel and discard (you can leave a few strands of tangerine peel in for added flavour.) Now add the chopped onion and celery and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Add the chopped carrots and simmer for 10-15 minutes more, or until all the ingredients are soft. Blend until smooth. Add more water or stock if desired to reach the desired consistency.
Note on Chen Pi: Dried tangerine peel is available from Oriental supermarkets. You can also make your own using any kind of tangerine or orange, by drying it very slowly in the sun or in a very low oven. See also the recipe for Chen Pi Chicken
The carrots, ginger and tangerine peel all help to strengthen and regulate the digestive system. Anyone can use this soup, but it is particularly suitable for people who have a weakened digestive system, which can correspond to the Chinese syndromes of Spleen Qi Deficiency, Dampness or Phlegm. The main ingredients also help to circulate Qi, so are useful for Qi Stagnation syndromes. People who have IBS type symptoms which are worst for stress can particularly benefit from this soup.