Snakehead fish soup is not normally included in confinement recipes. The chinese like to prepare Snakehead fish soup for those who go through surgery of any kind. Snakehead fish helps in the healing process. I had to go through C-section and therefore Snakehead fish soup is in the menu for confinement diet.
Snakehead fish is definitely not a popular fish here in North America or anywhere in the western hemisphere I believe. Snakehead fish can be purchased fresh at the wet market in Southeast Asia. However, we managed to find a frozen whole Snakehead fish in the asian grocery store.
The soup is prepared by double boiling the fish with Traditional Chinese herbs: Huai Shan/Shan Yao (Wild Yam), Astragalus root/ Radix Astragali (Huang Qi) and Dong Quay (Chinese Angelica Root). Astragalus root possesses manifold benefits for a wide range of illnesses, which is why it is featured frequently in chinese soups and gentle tonic drinks.
Huai Shan/ Wild yam is usually used in conjunction with meats and other herbs to aid digestion, regulate body’s sugar level and control inflammation of the uterus. The herb itself looks like a piece of white chalk and tasteless. Normally, only few pieces of Huai Shan is used in cooking.
The Chinese angelica root/ Dong Quay has a very important place in women’s health. It is highly valued for the treatment for a host of women’s illnesses. It is supposed to strengthen the blood, nourish the female reproductive organs, regulate menstruation and alleviate period pains. In its dried state, chinese angelica root emits a certain woody aroma that develops into a strong flavour when cooked.
SNAKEHEAD FISH SOUP (3 servings)
1 Snakehead fish (cleaned and scaled)
5-6 pieces of Huai Shan/Shan Yao (Wild Yam)
5 pieces of Dong Quay (Chinese Angelica Root)
3-4 pieces of Astragalus root/ Radix Astragali (Huang Qi)
4-5 Red Dates
6 Cups of water
1. Prepare double boiler by bringing the water to boil. Place 2 C of water, fish and the rest of the ingredients into the inset
2. Double boil for about 1 1/2 hours
Since this is for confinement diet, no salt is allowed to be added in the diet, however, you can use soy sauce (why? I’m not so sure, I just go with the tradition for this one month) If you are preparing for consumption other than confinement, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper