Jun 19, 2021

Chinese Herbal Soup with Pork Ribs 藥燉豬小排

Whole pork ribs, like the rack of pork ribs usually used in barbecue works the best for this Chinese herbal soup recipe. However, I was having a hard time sourcing it, so instead, I used a smaller cut of ribs instead. Just keep in mind that substitutes are fine, but must have some bones to go with it. You can still use whole meaty chunks for the sake of easy eating, but be sure to throw in some bones during the cooking process. It can make a big difference in the end, both flavor and texture wise.

Chinese herbal soup with pork ribs 藥燉豬小排 - 

Chinese herbal soup with pork ribs 藥燉豬小排


  • 500 grams pork ribs
  • 5 slices rhizoma chuanxiong 川芎
  • 2 slices angelica sinensis root 當歸
  • 1 palmful astragalus root 黃耆
  • 1 piece dried tangerine peel 陳皮
  • 1/8 cup goji berries 枸杞
  • 4 cups water 
  • 1/2 cup Chinese rice cooking wine
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil/olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Peel and halve the garlic cloves. Destem and section the scallion. 

Chinese herbal medicine including rhizoma chuanxiong, angelica sinensis root, astragalus root, and dried tangerine peel

As for the Chinese herbs/herbal medicine, I kind of just eyeball the amount used for this recipe, but still tried to measure and made note for the exact pieces used. Just remember that angelica sinensis root 當歸 can be quite strong after cooking, so 2 to 3 pieces should do the trick. Also the owner at the Chinese medicine store I went to specifically told me to use more astragalus root 黃耆, that's why I ended up with a palmful of it. The flavor is still somewhat mild even after using a palmful of astragalus root, good advice well received and followed.

Take a big pot and drizzle in some preferred cooking oil. Even though this is a pretty "Asian" recipe, I still use olive oil since it's pretty neutral per my taste. Also add in the garlic, scallion sections, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Sear till both the garlic and scallion turn slightly golden brown.

Add in pork ribs and sear till the meat changes from red to white color.

Making Chinese herbal soup with pork ribs

Pour in 4 cups of water, 1/2 cup of Chinese rice cooking wine, 5 slices of rhizoma chuanxiong 川芎, 2 slices angelica sinensis root 當歸, 1 palmful astragalus root 黃耆, and 1 piece dried tangerine peel 陳皮. 

Chinese herbal soup with pork ribs 藥燉豬小排

Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer. Put on the lid and cook for 30 minutes.

Drop in goji berries toward the end and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. You can decide whether to keep the lid on or remove it, the point is to soften the goji berries and release some of its sweetness to the juice.

Chinese herbal soup with pork ribs 藥燉豬小排

Once the goji berries softened, this Chinese herbal soup is ready to serve. 

Chinese herbal soup with pork ribs 藥燉豬小排

There is no need to scoop out the Chinese herbs, simply let them continue to soak in the juice. In fact, most Chinese herbs should be softened by now, it's totally fine if you happened to eat a few smaller broken pieces.

Chinese herbal soup with pork ribs 藥燉豬小排

It's more like a slightly soupy dish instead of a full-on watery soup. Despite the Chinese herbs used, the flavor is rather light. You can prepare a small portion of soy sauce with chopped red chilies to dip the pork ribs on the side, or simply use more salt for the entire soup if preferred.

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