Asian Chicken & Job’s Tears Soup

My smug face of finding pearl barley in the Chinese Supermarket was soon wiped off my face when I realised the Chinese pearl barley I bought is completely unrelated to actual barley! Arghh and I was so looking forward to making a lovely Turkish salad with pearl barley and pomegrantes…

Oh well, gotta look on the bright side of life and make it work! I googled this mysterious grain and to my surprise I seem to have stumbled upon an extremely healthy ingredient which is used a lot in traditional Chinese medicine. These grains come from a grass native to South-East Asia and are also known as Yi Yi Ren, coixseeds, hato mugi, adlai and a plethora of other names.

I had no clue as to what to do with this mysterious grain so I chucked a few things in a pot and prayed to the Chinese pantheon of gods. The result was satisfying and I have taken quite a shine to these grains which I can only describe as nutty.

Ingredients

1 chicken carcass

2 chicken wings

2 chicken drumsticks (alternatively use a whole chicken)

5 thick slices unpeeled ginger

1 onion, quatered

6 whole garlic cloves

1 carrot, large chunks

1 turnip, quatered

1 daikon, large chunks

4 handfuls Job’s tears, soaked overnight and drained

3 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine

2 star anise

½ stick cassia

4 cloves

Salt & pepper, to taste

10 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated & halved

Shiitake dashi (liquid from rehydrating the shiitake mushrooms; make sure you sieve it before using)

2 – 3 bok choy, roughly chopped

2 handfuls mung bean sprouts

Method

1 Place all ingredients except for the bok choy and mung bean sprouts in a large stockpot and cover fully with cold water. Bring to a boil, skim off impurities and then simmer on low for 30 minutes.Chicken & Job's Tears Soup_collage2 Adjust seasoning to taste and then add bok choy and mung bean sprouts. Cook for 5 minutes and then ladle into bowls to enjoy. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top if you like, as I do.Chicken & Job's Tears Soup

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