Monday, 13 September 2010

Cordyceps Flower Chicken Soup 冬虫草花鸡汤

Many of us know Cordyceps Sinensis (冬虫夏草), which translated is called  "winter worm, summer grass". Cordyceps Sinensis is one of the rarest and most precious herb in traditional Chinese medicine belonging to the fungus category. It is highly recommended by ancient medical practitioners as the most effective cure for all illnesses.

Cordyceps has been used for the general health well being by the Chinese for centuries. There are basically 3 ways of preparing cordyceps - TCM decoctions, simmered soups and alcoholic infusion. In soups, it is usually paired with ducks but it works well with chicken and pork. Cordyceps is usually prescribed to people who have weak constitution. It enjoyed a good reputation as an anti-aging ingredient and is popular among ladies. Like the ginseng, it is highly prized and therefore fairly expensive. There are many imitations in the market.

I have not heard of Cordyceps Militaris 冬虫草花, or Cordyceps Flower before. Translated literally into English, it means “worm grass flower”. But it is neither flower nor grass, nor does it resemble a worm. In fact, it is a cultured  mushroom fungus and has similar medicinal value and chemical composition as Cordyceps Sinensis. It may not be of comparable strength to the latter, but it is only a fraction of the price of Cordyceps Sinensis. Cordyceps Flower has been an important Chinese herb for thousands of years, and it is believed that this valuable herb has been used to help body build strength and immunity, improve breathing.

A relative in Guangzhou bought us a big packet of the Cordyceps Flower herb which contains 5 individual packs.  My mom made chicken soup using this Cordyceps Flower a couple of times and I love the taste very much. I feel it is distinctively different from the usual herbal chicken soup. A pack of this does not come that cheap though. I heard it costs about S$100.

One of the days, I made this Cordyceps Flower Chicken Soup 冬虫草花鸡汤, and realised it was so easy. My mom bought a chicken and instructed me to make soup for dinner.

With a big pot of water boiled, a pack of Cordyceps Flower and chicken were added in. A handful of wolfberries were thrown in.  Usually wolfberries are added towards the middle or end before the soup is cooked. I like to add wolfberries at the beginning together with the Chicken and Cordyceps Flower. I prefer wolfberries to be almost disintegrated when the soup is ready.

Half way done, the water immediately turned a tinge of reddish orange-brown hue, different from the usual herbal chicken soup which is more of clear yellow soup. Do sieve out the floating oil (from chicken fat), if you do not like your soup to be too oily. Add little salt to taste. Within 1.5 hours, it is ready. It is so simple to prepare.

And this is my bowl of Cordyceps Flower Chicken Soup 冬虫草花鸡汤. Notice the rich colour of the reddish orangey brown soup. The taste is very unique, very wholesome, totally different from the usual chicken soup. The Cordyceps Flower has turned soft and slightly chewy-crunchy and tasteless. All the nutrients of the herb have gone into the soup. A very nutritious, hearty soup to go with plain rice.

If you are able to grab a pack of good quality Cordyceps Flower herb, do give it a try. I think the distinctive taste alone is worth it. 

Scientifically proven health benefits of the Cordyceps Flower:
- Improve respiratory function to treat asthma, cough, emphysema, bronchitis
- Improve kidney, boost energy and improve brain memory
- Improve liver function to treat hepatitis
- Reduce blood sugar, urine sugar
- Reduce blood pressure and ease hypertension, thrombus diseases
- Reduce heart disease risk, numbness of hands or feet
- Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer
- Enhance overall immune system
- Antioxidant and anti-aging.


  1. many of my family members in Tibet go into the mountains during the season to pick this herb. it is a significant source of income for many poor Tibetans.

  2. HI TMC! That's interesting. I like this herb alot, the taste in the soup is totally wholesome.

  3. Yes.. I bought it too. Exactly the same way u cook.I love it

  4. You can buy fresh cordiceps flowers from a vegetable seller at Block 216 Bedok North St 1 hawker and food centre. A packet costs $2 and I cooked it with either chicken thigh or pork ribs and add wolfberries and dried scallops with a pinch of salt and they are hearty and delicious.


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