Lau Family Recipe: Bai Mu Er Tang
This Chinese sweet herbal soup with eggs is a New Year tradition at the home of Mayway's founders, where it's most often served on Renri, the 7th day of the New Year. The ingredients are special not only because of their wonderful flavors. They have medicinal benefits useful for supporting the respiratory and digestive systems, and each ingredient also carries an auspicious meaning. Good health and good fortune all in one bowl! Serve it any time during the first 2 weeks of the New Year, or whenever you need it.
Herbal ingredients in this recipe, like Bai Mu Er (white fungus) work together with Hong Zao (red dates), Bai He (lily bulb) and Lian Zi (lotus seeds) to support the Yin and nourish the Lungs, Spleen and Stomach. Bai Mu Er is prized for its ability to provide essential Yin and Body Fluids for Lung Yin deficiency. This soup also moistens the intestines to relieve occasional constipation, as well as calming the Shen to calm occasional emotional upset and troubled sleep.
Good fortune awaits you, with auspicious meanings swirling together to create a soup full of good luck. Each ingredient has a symbolic meaning based on its appearance or the sound of its name in Chinese:
White fungus: looks like clouds and symbolizes good luck
Red dates: red symbolizes happiness and good fortune and zao sounds similar to the word for early
Lily bulb: bai he sounds like the words for things coming together
Lotus seeds: lian zi sounds like the words for many sons
Eggs: symbol of life
Makes 3-4 servings
- 3-4 whole hard-boiled eggs (1 per serving)
- 4 cups cold water
- 1 oz. red dates (hong zao)
- 1.5 oz. lily bulb (bai he)
- 1 oz. lotus seed (lian zi)
- 1 ball white fungus (bai mu er)
- 4 oz. rock or cane sugar
Soak white fungus in water until softened (approx. 15 min.). Meanwhile, put the lotus seeds, red dates and lily bulbs into a 2-quart pot with 4 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
When the white fungus is softened, remove and discard the hard center. Using your hands, break the edible part of the fungus into bite-sized pieces.
When the other herbs have simmered for an hour, add the white fungus, whole hard-boiled eggs and sugar. Simmer together for 15 minutes. Serve the soup, making sure everyone gets the full range of ingredients (and their healthy lucky benefits!).