Chicken, Red Dates & Ginger Soup


Chicken, Red Dates & Ginger Soup

Chicken, Red Dates & Ginger Soup

This twist on a classic “first food” for mom may sound strange. Dried fruit in chicken soup, you ask? But go with it: Chinese red dates—also known as jujubes, available at Chinese markets or online—plus ruby-colored goji berries is a time-tested combo used to boost circulation and enhance inner warmth. Your eyes will delight at the look of these little gems in your soup bowl. Your taste buds will love the subtle touch of sweetness against the savory chicken. I recommend making every effort to use Chinese red dates, which bestow amazing postpartum health benefits, as they are not difficult to find online or in local Asian markets. Medjool dates are okay in a pinch but they do not have the same medicinal effects.
Recipe from The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother by Heng Ou
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 45 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Soup
Cuisine Chinese


  • 2-2.5 lbs whole chicken or chicken parts organic or free-range preferred
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, peeled
  • 2 inch knob of fresh ginger, unpeeled, halved
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 5 Chinese red dates
  • 3 tbsp dried goji berries
  • sea salt


  • Rinse the chicken under cold water, place in a medium stockpot, and add enough cold water to just cover the chicken. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, uncovered.
  • Once boiling, add the onion and ginger to the pot. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 40 minutes, covered. Every so often, remove the lid to skim any foam off the top and discard.
  • Remove from heat, and with the help of tongs, remove the chicken and set it aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the cooked meat from the carcass and shred it. Return the rest of the carcass to the pot. Add 12 cups of the shredded meat (reserving the rest for another use), along with the carrots and red dates, and simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 1 hour. Set a timer to go off in the last 15 minutes, and stir in the goji berries. Season with a pinch or two of salt, or more, to taste.
  • Drink this soup throughout the day, keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze in zip-tight plastic bags or glass mason jars (see page 130) for up to 3 months.

While you’re making this recipe, listen to the women who created it, Heng Ou, Marisa Belger and Amely Greeven, on episodes 17 & 19 of the Fourth Trimester Podcast:

Click here for iTunes and click here for Google Play. Enjoy! xo

P.S. Here is the book!