GoKunming Articles

Recipe: Seaweed, ginseng and sage root soup

By in Features on

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) often tastes horrible, especially when a prescription is simply a number of ground ingredients boiled in water. The good people at website Soundinner have embarked on a culinary experiment to change that.

Their project, dubbed food3.5, incorporates local Yunnanese ingredients with the use of TCM. The properties of these ingredients are valued following ancient Taoist and Indian Ayurveda traditions.

The recipe below makes use of seaweed, ginseng and red sage root. Seaweed (海草) is a common ingredient in Chinese coastal cuisine but can also be found in almost any Kunming wet market. Here it is utilized for its enzymatic properties and as an aid to digestion.

Poor man's ginseng (党参) is a staple of TCM because of its anti-pathogenic attributes as well as being a mild stimulant. Red sage root (丹参根) is prized as an aid to blood circulation and can help reduce many kinds of swelling. This recipe is detoxifying, hearty and particularly beneficial for children and the elderly.


50 grams steamed white rice
120 grams fresh poor man's ginseng
70 grams seaweed
one piece red sage root
extra virgin olive oil
vegetable broth
fresh white seaweed for garnish (if available)


Begin by peeling and slicing the poor man's ginseng into pieces. When finished chopping, transfer the ginseng into a saucepan together with the steamed rice, seaweed and red sage root.

Add enough vegetable broth to just cover the other ingredients and put the saucepan on the fire. Bring contents to a boil, allowing to simmer for about ten minutes on low flame. Keep the pan partially covered to maintain a slow constant heat. After cooking transfer the soup into a blender. Add four teaspoons of olive oil and mix until creamy.

The recipe calls for no added salt because it is provided by the already fairly salty seaweed. Before serving, check the dish's flavor and add salt to taste. Blend again if adding salt. Transfer the soup to serving bowls, garnish with fresh, white seaweed and drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy!

Top image: Soundinner

© Copyright 2005-2023 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Share this article


Sorry, I'd rather be ill...

I love people praising TCM becasue it's so mild and less aggressive than the Western counterpart.

I read about Chinese Medicine especially in Chine, it's so tainted with pollutants and pesticides that Western, including Taiwan and HK phyician rethinking the TCM products. It's so beautiful how ineducated the common Chinese person is. I had a chat with a parent that was talking nonstop about the benefits of TCM and how terrible Western medz are I told her that more than 2/3 of the TCM is highly polluted and you can't boil fry or properly wash it because it would take away the ingredients.

The areticle said the clean or npolluted one is for Export due to higher food safety standards and even then a lot is still fished out of the market.

I used both medicines in my life both I can handle quite well but I am switching to more Western Medz if needed. At least it's clean...er.
Although I love the bitter taste of TCM.

TCM is superior to western medicine "in theory" because it's plant-based (ie natural) and western medicine is chemical-based. Chemicals don't belong in the human body and as a result Western medicine often has side effects, ranging from mild to severe.

But due to greed and incompetence on the part of the practitioners, the quality of TCM is not ideal and in some cases downright bad or useless at best.

By the way, not all "Western" medicine can be grouped together. There are Western "natural" remedies, but doctors in the US won't prescribe these because they're tied to pharmaceutical companies. But in some countries like Germany, doctors are more open to administering remedies other than pharmaceutical drugs.

In many cases, google is your best doctor. Just google "natural remedy for [fill in the blank]".

That's my understanding anyway.

Well if it tastes good and might even do you some good, why not? The soup in the picture looks pretty tasty to me.

About tcm vs western drugs. Have any of you seen the VOLUME of tcm drugs people get? People are literally filling shopping bags at the tcm pharmacies.

As for western meds - i saw a docu which showed that for several drugs, the capsule itself was more beneficial tjan the actual drug inside :) Point 2 about western drugs: theres up to 6000% difference between the cost to produce and the price on the shelf. Whacked out.

"chemicals don't belong in the human body". Yaaawn. Go knit yourself a couple of woollen socks.

Actually most western medicine is not chemical just working ingredients extracted an processed into pills and liquids. Similar to chinese medz these days.Not surprising that even the toughest western medz are almost completely natural e.g. thats cancer chemo.

If you are worried about the crap that is in western medz, then i wouldn't go chinese style.

I used a lot of TCM and the chinese medz were always at least twice as expensive as the western medz. Plus in europe you don't have to care aboyt the price tag,since you healthcare plan takes care of it.

Plus a lot if chinese medz are equally useless. I went to a pharmacy once having a migrane attack and they tried to sell me a painkiller that becomes effective after 7days. Some parents feed their kuds cild medicine for 4 weeks and praise their effectiveness...while the kids still sniffle like coked up rabbits.

Kunming has an alarmingly huge amount of pharmacy chains, mini health centers and people posting their intravenous injections on social networking sites. It could almost be called Medicine City.

"Actually most western medicine is not chemical"

are you sure?

Pharmaceutical drugs are made from petrochemicals, which are derived from fossil fuel. Now that explains one reason why people who use them experience nasty side effects.

Hmmm... a link to a website whose mission statement includes:
"The necessity of teaching mankind not to take drugs and medicines, is a duty incumbent upon all...."

Wiki is more balanced:
"Drugs can be extracted from natural products (pharmacognosy) or synthesized through chemical processes..."

I think that the real difference is that you can get some of TCM in local markets, from real farmers. Go to Paris to ask for the natural extract of aspirina.../ also in all around the world there are ancient knowledges about natural herbs and remedies...TCM is based on much deeper knowledge that becomes culture after thousand of years.

You mean willow bark? Just peel it off.

I don't trust Wikipedia. In my opinion, it's not a good place to be getting information about anything.

Wiki sourced or not, it's hardly a controversial sentence...!

Not relevant? It's totally relevant to your quote, "Pharmaceutical drugs are made from petrochemicals...".
Sorry - your links are all blocked for me. Agree to disagree, OK?

Login to comment