Pick u up…

I do not know the name of these roots in other languages but in our Foochow dialect, we call them char bee lau

Char bee lau

In the old days, we would have to buy a bundle from the local Chinese drugstore to take home and we would need to chop it up with a heavy cleaver or perhaps even an axe. It is indeed that hard! Thankfully, these days, we can buy them already chopped up and packed in plastic bags.

My mother used to boil the roots in water for a long time and then use the stock to cook chicken soup. It is a lot easier these days with the slow cooker. We would just throw everything in – the roots, the chicken plus ginger, dried shitake mushrooms (pre-soaked) and dried cuttlefish (cleaned and pre-soaked as well). The cuttlefish is added so that they would give the soup the extra fragrance and sweetness. Traditional Foochow red wine is also added, turn on the switch and this is what you will get eventually…

Char bee lau chicken soup

Salt and msg may be added according to taste.

It is believed that the soup is a pick-me-up – good for one’s general well being and can give one a boost should one be feeling tired and lethargic from work.

My father does not like pek-ting-eyok…and is not crazy over ginseng and stuff but he likes this and thus, it is something that I have grown up eating frequently…and loved.