Chicken and dried longan soup

Chicken and dried longan soup

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

Bright, clear Chinese soups such as this one call for great chicken stock, which is not hard to make from scratch. We’ve made this a bit more substantially meaty than they would in China, where such soups are consumed as much for their tonic values as their food ones. Dried longan and goji berries are part of a group of tonic seeds that are considered yang, or warming for the body, and are believed to increase sexual potency and fertility. You’ve been warned ...


Quantity Ingredient
2 litres Chicken stock
4 chicken leg quarters
85g dried longans
25g dried yu zhu
2 1/2 tablespoons dried goji berries
2 tablespoons sweet southern apricot kernels, (see note)


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Very slowly bring to a gentle simmer, skimming the surface as necessary to remove any impurities, then cook over a low heat for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  2. Remove the chicken from the soup and cool slightly. When it is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones from the chicken and tear the meat into large pieces. Skim any fat from the surface of the soup, return the chicken to the pan and reheat the soup. Serve immediately.


  • There’s an important distinction between apricot kernels in Chinese cuisine. The northern kernels are small and carry traces of cyanide, which gives them a distinctive bitterness and calls for sparing use. Southern apricot kernels are larger, heart-shaped and distinctly sweeter. Both are used in traditional Chinese medicine to soothe the throat or cure coughs. In cooking, the southern apricot kernels are added to soups and desserts. Look for them in Asian grocers (they may be labelled as ‘almond kernels’) or try a Chinese herbalist.
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