Chinese medicinal herbalists believe that this soup is a potent tonic for one’s blood and the skin which is the mirror of inner health. The ingredients illustrate the ancient Chinese theory that beef, being naturally sweet and “warm,” strengthens vital energies in the blood and nourishes the spleen and stomach. It holds that beef’s powers are enhanced when peanuts are added to the soup.
The soup also includes red jujube dates. These have been used in China since early times as a tonic nutrient and a purifying food when combined with certain other ingredients. They are believed to build strength, improve circulation, and extend life. Moreover, since they are naturally sweet and contribute a honey flavour to the soup, they make this particular medicine go down very easily. While the peanuts give the soup its milky-white colour, dried tangerine or orange peel adds a pleasant tart element.
Grind the peanuts coarsely in a blender or food processor and set aside. Soak the tangerine or orange peels in hot water for 20 minutes or until they are soft and drain. Soak the red jujube dates in warm water for 20 minutes, drain, and set aside.
Bring the water to the boil in a large pot. Add the ground peanuts, tangerine or orange peels, ginger, and dates. Add the beef and bring back to the boil, skimming the surface continually. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 3 hours or until the beef is tender. Add the salt to taste.
© 1990 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.