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Skin Beauty in Winter and All Year

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Soups and Congees

Winter Volume: 2018 Issue: 25(4) pages: 33 to 35

As winter approaches, and all year, consuming soup every day can help skin shine. This radiance needs to increase as wind settles in and temperatures drop more than any other time of the year. Soup nourishes the body, particularly the skin, and it eases the mind, as well. Drinking or eating soup each and every day surely makes one’s exterior glow. My TCM practitioner friend assures me it is something I should try. I recommended it to friends living as I do in this Life Care Community. Last winter several of us tried his recommended behaviors for assorted periods of time, several weeks or more. Most were thrilled that they worked.

Many made their own stock, two recipes of his are below. They did help us save money and improve our looks. Furthermore, less expensive than canned or boxed ones, and it was more tasty, too He provided a vegetable stock and a chicken stock, that could also be a ham stock or a shrimp, fish, or a seafood stock. He said to add vegetables and or fruit to the first one, or, poultry or meat, or fish or seafood to the second one. The Chinese have known to do these for generations, and they benefit when doing so.

Vegetable or Fruit Stock

Chop a pound of carrots coarsely, add another of soy bean or mung bean sprouts, tails without their long skinny ends, and minus their seed coats, too. Add a few dried Chinese black mushrooms, their stems cutaway and minced after they get soft, a piece of tangerine peel, its pith scraped into the garbage. The caps minced fine, a couple of quarts of tepid water, and a teaspoon of salt simmered together for an hour or two. Then remove and squeeze liquid out of the mushrooms and into the stock as soon as they can be handled. Mince the caps coarsely, the stems finely and put them into the stock. Then use this vegetable-stock mixture, or store it in the refrigerator. It can stay about two weeks, before making your soup using one of the recipes below.

Chicken, Ham or Seafood Stock

Scald a chicken, or a pound or more of pork bones, or two pounds of fish bones and/or seafood shells with a piece of tangerine peels, the pith discarded, and a few tablespoons of minced Jinhua or Smithfield ham, or a Chinese sausage, all minced, then simmered for one or two hours, then strained and discard the bones. It can be used immediately, stored, for a week in the refrigerate, or frozen for two or three months, then used in one of the recipe below.

Pumpkin Soup with White Fungus

½ pound Chinese pumpkin, peel and seeds discarded,
flesh chopped
1 Tablespoon white fungus, soaked for half an hour, then
chopped, too
1 or 2 Tablespoons Chinese or Smithfield ham, minced
6 cups chicken ham, or seafood stock
3 Tablespoons water chestnut flour
2 Tablespoons thin soy sauce
1 pumpkin shell steamed until almost soft (optional)
½ teaspoon coarse salt, (optional
1 Tablespoon minced coriander)


1. Steam the prepared pumpkin, then mash it and mix it with the minced white fungus pieces.
2. Add the water chestnut flour and stir well, then add the thin soy sauce, and the salt, if needed, and simmer for fifteen minutes, then serve in the pumpkin or in a pre-heated soup tureen with minced coriander sprinkled on top.

Walnuts in Pig's Tail Soup

3 Tablespoon walnuts meats, peeled of their paper
skins, then chopped
3 dried figs, coarsely chopped
1 small pig’s tail, cut into single bone sections, then blanched for three minutes then drained
10 cups ham stock
3 Tablespoons canned chick peas, paper outsides discarded.


1. Soak walnuts, figs, and pork pieces, each in its own bowl of tepid water, overnight, the pork tail refrigerated, then strain the water each water into the soup stock.
2. Simmer the chick peas, stock and all drained items together for two hours, then strain and discard any fat or items not wanted in the soup, and remove meat from the sections of the pig tails, and cut the meat smaller if need be.
3. Add salt and serve in a pre-heated soup tureen.

Fish Head and Fruit in Vegetable Soup

1 large or 2 small fish heads
1 Tablespoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 Tablespoon Chinese rice wine
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 slices fresh ginger, slivered
1 chayote, peeled, its seed discarded
1 small papaya, peel and seeds discarded
1 cup firm vegetable, peeled and cubed (optional)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 quarts strained seafood stock
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 sprig parsley coarsely chopped


1. Rub fish heads with salt, and set them aside for half an hour, then rinse and dry them, and coat them with ground pepper, rice wine, and the cornstarch and set aside for fifteen minutes.
2. Heat vegetable oil, and stir-fry the slivered ginger and stir fry for one minute, then add the chayote and papaya pieces and stir fry for ten minutes.
3. Now add the stock and mash the fruit and vegetable pieces and simmer for another fifteen minutes, add the salt, and serve in a pre-heated soup tureen sprinkling the minced parsley on top.

Bird’s nests can also make the skin more beautiful, so add these recipes, too.

Mango Pudding with Birds Nest

3 bird’s nest molded pieces, soaked until soft, then drained
1 mango, peel discarded and diced into small pieces
2 boxed mango jelly pudding powder or two envelopes of or two teaspoons plain gelatin
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten well
2 cups cold milk


1. Drain bird’s nests.
2. Mix jelly pudding, sugar, and two cups boiling watered stir well, and let this cool, then add the egg yolks and stir well.
3. Mix gelatin powder with ½ cup of cool water, then mix with the jelly mixture before stirring in the bird’s nest pieces and the mango pieces, and pour this into a mold and refrigerate for four hours, the when set or ready, remove from the mold and serve.

Stuffed Winter Melon with Seafood and Bird's Nest

40 grams or two molded pieces of bird’s nest, soaked until soft, drained, and then minced
1/4 pound shelled cooked shrimp, veins discarded, shrimp chopped coarsely
1/8 pound crab meat, cartilage removed, then coarsely chopped
1½ cup stock, divided into one and ½ cup amounts
1 egg white
1 pound winter melon, cut into half-inch thick circles
1 slice fresh ginger, minced finely
1 teaspoon cornstarch
dash of sesame oil


1. Dry shrimp, crab meat, and winter melon pieces with paper towels.
2. Steam the winter melon circles for six minutes.
3. Mix bird’s nest pieces with shrimp. crabmeat, egg white, ginger pieces, and sesame oil and put some on each melon slice, and then steam them for three minutes.
4. Mix cornstarch and half cup of cold stock, heat this stirring well, and then pour over the melon circles and serve.

Fried Shrimps and Bird's Nests

1/4 cup soaked bird’s nests, minced
½ pound shrimp, shells and veins discarded, minced
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
3 egg whites
½ teaspoon salt
dash sesame oil
dash of white pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon thin soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons stock or water


1. Dry the shrimp, then mince them and mix them with the bird’s nests.
2. Oil ten Chinese porcelain spoons.
3. Add the egg whites to the shrimp/bird’s nest mixture, and fill the ceramic spoons, then steam them over boiling water for five minutes and then allow them to cool.
4. Heat the salt, sesame oil, white pepper, soy sauce, cornstarch, and the stock or water and stir until thick and heated.
5. Use a knife, slide the steamed mixture off the spoons, pour this over the shrimp/bird’s nest set spoon mixture, and serve.

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