Balancing your Qi
The traditional Chinese 5-element soup is designed to balance all the 5 phases of Qi in the body. It tonifies Qi, strengthens the immune system, nourishes the internal organs, clears heat and helps purge toxins.
Credits: Ceri, Zenxin master chef
Print the recipe! 5 Element Soup
Preparation: 10 mins
Cooking time: 22 mins
Total: ~32 mins
- 2 litres filtered water
- 200g burdock
- 300g carrots
- 400g daikon (white radish)
- ~200g if possible of the daikon leaves
- 1 pkt fresh shiitake mushrooms
- 2 pkts of musu instant kombu shiitake dashi
- Bring the filtered water to a gentle simmer ready to receive the vegetables.
- Peel the burdock quickly as it discolours as soon as the peel is removed.
- Slice into thin diagonals and immerse immediately in the simmering water.
- Wash and peel the carrots and radish, separating the radish greens.
- Rinse and cut the latter into 1” pieces and reserve for later.
- Cut carrots and radish into rounds and add to simmering water.
- Simmer for 20 minutes
- Wipe the shiitake mushrooms and cut and throw the bottom slices from the stems.
- Slice the remaining mushrooms and add into the water.
- In the last few minutes add the radish greens. Simmer for 2 minutes and serve.
The vegetables used represent the five phases, Daikon greens – Wood (木 mù), Red carrot – Fire (火 huǒ), Burdock – Earth (土tǔ), White daikon – Metal (金 jīn), and Shiitake mushroom – Water (水 shuǐ).
In TCM it is believed that the key to long life and health is to support good digestion, the spleen and stomach belonging to the Earth phase. As three of these vegetables are also roots they strongly enhance the Earth phase Qi. Root vegetables are indeed an extremely potent source of minerals and phytochemicals. This is in line with current scientific research on the health of the gut microbiome being important for overall health.
Burdock is thought to have a powerful ability to detoxify the blood and support the spleen.
Daikon is diuretic and helps move stagnant Qi, reduce inflammation and remove toxins from the body.
Carrots are known to help you see in the dark as they contain beta-carotene which improves eyesight and night blindness.
Shiitake mushrooms support the immune system and have anti-cancer properties. They also contain phytonutrients which help prevent cardiovascular plaque build-up.