Ching Bo Leung is one of the most popular all-purpose tonic soups. It’s a special combination of seven dried Chinese herbs: Job’s Tear barley (yee mai), lotus seeds (leen zee), dried dragon eye (longan), lily bulb (bock hup), foxnut (chee sut), Solomon’s seal (yook jook), and Chinese yam (wai san). Available in Chinese supermarkets, the herbs come premeasured in an inexpensive package sometimes labeled “ching bo leung” but often labeled only with Chinese characters. The package comes with the loose herbs and two separate sealed packets of barley and dragon eye.
If desired, the pork can be omitted and chicken can be substituted. Some families cook the soup without any meat and, instead, add a little rock sugar and serve it as a sweet soup.
• 1 package (6 ounces) ching bo leung
• 8 ounces pork loin, well trimmed
• 6 cups water
1. Rinse the ching bo leung under cold water. In a 2 1/2-quart saucepan, combine the pork and 6 cups of water, and bring to a boil.
2. Skim any scum that rises to the surface. Add the herbs and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 2 hours.
3. Serve piping hot (no more than 1 1/2 cups per person).
Adapted with permission from
The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen by Grace Young (1999). Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Ingredient photographs by Alan Richardson Photography.