Huai Shan Soup

Fresh Chinese Yam Root (Huai Shan) Soup with Corn


Huai Shan Soup

“Soup that benefits you and your family, for health and vitality”

In the midst of sharing my food experiences in Hong Kong, I did not forget my house recipes.

Today, I would like to share this clear soup recipe which involves fresh Chinese Yam. In Chinese, we called it fresh Huai Shan (鲜淮山) or Shan Yao (山药). Whatever you called it, this is a very good natural food you should be taking regularly, in normal circumstances.

Chinese Yam Root/ Huai Shan(淮山)
Why do I emphasize the word, fresh, here? As we know, Huai Shan is widely used as Chinese tonic soup ingredients, it is usually made into dried form for easy storage purpose. Hence, dried Huai Shan has became so common that we have forgotten the fresh type.

Fresh Huai Shan is mostly sold in supermarkets or wet markets. You probably can’t recognise the fresh Huai Shan Its appearance looks different from the dried one which has already been thinly slices and harden before placing up the store rack for sale. The fresh one will be found in long stick-like root form with skin intact.

Do peel away the root skin using normal peeler. You will find it wet and excessively slimy. But no worries about it, the mucous-like substance will disappear once it is boiled in water.

Huai Shan is widely utilized by Chinese physicians in healing liver problems, blood detoxication, hair loss, joint-related issues, and to support kidneys function, despite the lack of clinical proof that supports the claimed effects. Some even say that it is the most natural food to aid in man’s vitality! I guess it is very much to do with research on the effect of supporting kidney and liver functions (smile).

Burdock Root or Chinese Yam Root (Huai Shan)?
I think I’ve made a mistake previously to assume Burdock root (牛蒡) = Chinese Yam (Huai Shan 淮山). The findings told me: Not exactly are.

Burdock root is usually used to harness it’s health benefits with Chinese Yam root, despite the fact that they have similar appearance.

Burdock root has been used for purifying blood stream, and to neutralize and eliminate poisons in the system. Some claimed that consumption of burdock root aids the treatment of gastrointestinal conditions, stimulates the digestive organs and also treats skin problems.

Seriously, if I don’t re-confirm which root I want by referring to its labelling or checking with the seller, I can’t really tell the difference between these twos. Are they the same in the first place? I am not the expert of it. What I am sure, is they are having rich health properties which are so well-utilised by both Western and Chinese herbalists.

Well, saw many, heard many, give it a try as it won’t go wrong with having it moderately. It’s simple and easy to prepare!

The taste of this soup is good. Mild natural sweetness yields from red dates and fresh sweet corn, the fresh Huai Shan does not create much taste here. However, Huai Shan slices are very nice to chew on its crunchiness. Its texture is a little reminiscent of cooked lotus seed when chewing it, despite the total difference in term of appearance of these two substances. Believe it or not, Huai Shan slices are something you will eat it freely without much worries on weight loading effect (chuckling)?


200g of lean pork ribs, blanched

200g fresh Huai Shan, peeled, thinly sliced, and blanched

1 ear of fresh corn, cob broken into half
6 – 8 pieces of seedless red dates
1 pot of water, 50% filled (about 1000ml)

Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add in pork ribs, red dates, sweet corn, and fresh Huai Shan.
Bring all ingredients to a boil again. Reduce heat to low fire, and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes. Cover pot with lid. Add salt to taste.
When all ingredients are cooked till tender, heat off. Serve hot.

Remember to eat the ingredients, too.

Tips: Blanch the Huai Shan slices beforehand to get rid of the stickiness, if necessary. Nonetheless, it will still be gone when boil it in the soup. Taste will not be affected.

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