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Chinese Cinnamon Barley Soup

Categories: Kidney Yang Vacuity, Spleen Damp, Spleen Damp Cold, Spleen Yang Vacuity, Stomach Cold

Chinese Cinnamon Barley Soup
six servings

*8 whole scallions, ends trimmed, cut into 1.5 inch sections and smashed lightly with the flat side of a knife
*8 cloves garlic, smashed lightly
*8 slices of ginger, about the size of a quarter, smashed lightly
*2 sticks of cinnamon
*1 tsp anise seeds
*1/2 cup soy sauce (or tamari sauce if wheat sensitive)
*1/2 cup rice wine or sake
*7 cups water
-2 lbs chuck or beef stew meat, cut into 1.5 inch cubes (or adzuki beans with tempeh if vegetarian)
-1 cup barley
-1 1/2 lbs spinach, trimmed, rinsed and drained
-3 TBS minced scallions, white part only

1. Place the starred ingredients in a large pot or casserole dish. Bring to a boil.

2. Add the beef and barley, and boil again. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, skimming the surface to remove impurities and fat. Cook for 1 1/2 hours, until the beef is very tender. Scoop out the ginger slices, cinnamon sticks, and anise seeds, and discard.

3. Add the spinach to the beef, cover, and heat till boiling. Ladle the meat with broth and spinach into serving bowls, sprinkling the top with scallions. Serve immediately.

TCM Theory:
Scallions: warm, acrid, LU, ST
Garlic: warm (when cooked), acrid, sweet (when cooked), LU, ST, SP
Ginger: warm, acrid, LU, ST, SP
Cinnamon: warm to hot, acrid, ST, SP, LV, KD
Soy Sauce: cold, salty & sweet, SP, ST, KD
Rice Wine: warm, acrid, sweet, bitter, HT, LV, LU, ST
Beef: warm, neutral, sweet, SP, ST, KD
Barley: cool, salty, sweet, SP, ST
Spinach: cool, sweet, ST, LV, LI, SI

Overall Effect of Ingredients:
Warms the KD and the middle burner, tonifies KD yang

Lamb with Sweet Potatoes

Categories: Heart Yang Vacuity, Kidney Yang Vacuity, Spleen Qi Vacuity

Lamb with Sweet Potatoes
6 servings
(Modified from A Spoonful of Ginger)

1 t oil
8 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
8 scallions, trimmed in 1 inch sections
8 slices fresh ginger
1 t hot chili paste
2 sticks cinnamon
1 t anise seed
5 c water
½ c low-sodium soy sauce
3 T rice wine
1 T sugar
3 lbs lamb stew meat, cut in 1½ inch cubes
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ lb fresh spinach, washed and drained

1. Heat a Dutch oven, add the oil, heat until hot.
2. Add seasonings. Stir-fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
3. Add broth, bring to a boil.
4. Add lamb and bring to a boil again.
5. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, simmer for 1 hour, until lamb is tender.
6. Skim the surface to remove any fat or gristle.
7. Add the sweet potatoes. Simmer, partially covered for 20 minutes or until tender.
8. Remove the ginger slices and cinnamon sticks. Discard.
9. Add the spinach. Cook until wilted, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
10. Remove from heat and serve.

TCM Analysis:
Garlic: hot, acrid; Relieve food stagnation, move blood, dispel cold.
Scallions: sweet, pungent, warm; ST, LV, KD. Warm MJ, warm KD yang, invigorate blood.
Ginger: pungent, warm; LU, SP, ST. Disperse cold, stop nausea/vomiting, detoxify, reduce inflammation.
Hot chili paste: (pepper) hot, pungent. Warm digestion, dispel cold.
Cinnamon: Hot, acrid, sweet; ST, KD. Strengthen ST, warm channels, stop pain, warm KD.
Anise seed: pungent, sweet, warm; ST, LV. Strengthen St, regulate qi, harmonize, warm MJ.
Soy sauce: salty, cold; SP, ST, KD. Harmonize MJ, clear heat.
Rice wine: warm, pungent, sweet. Promote circulation.
Sugar: sweet, neutral; LU, SP. Tonify qi, moisten dryness, harmonize MJ.
Lamb: sweet, warm; ST, SP, KD. Tonify KD yang, warm MJ, nourish blood.
Sweet potatoes: neutral, sweet; SP, ST, LV. Strengthen SP/ST, tonify qi/blood, clear heat, increase milk production, benefit eyes.
Spinach: sweet, cold; ST, LI. Clear heat, stop bleeding, nourish blood, moisten dryness.

Overall, this is a very warming recipe. The sweet potatoes, spinach, and soy sauce bring some cooling nature to balance it. The primary focus is on the KD for tonifying KD yang.

Spinach and Mango Salad

Categories: Heart Disease, High blood pressure, Liver Fire Rising

Spinach and Mango Salad
(Serves 4)

6 cups of spinach
4 celery stalks
2 mangoes
1 cup of sunflower seeds (optional: toast lightly)

Wash spinach and celery thoroughly. Chop celery into small pieces. Cut mango into small-medium chunks. Toss ingredients together in a large bowl and serve.

TCM Analysis:
Spinach: cool, sweet, strengthens all organs, lubricates intestines, promotes urination, ventilates chest, quenches thirst, nourish blood
Celery: cool, sweet, slightly bitter, tonify KI, stop bleeding, strengthen SP & ST, clear heat, lower blood pressure, promote diuresis, benefits blood
Mango: neutral, sweet, sour, lubricates dryness, stops cough, harmonizes ST, calms LV, descends rebellious Qi
Sunflower Seed: neutral, sweet, soothes LV, lowers blood pressure, relieves dysentery, resolves pus, moistens intestines

Gingery Adzuki Beans with Spinach

Categories: Spleen Damp, Spleen Qi Vacuity

Gingery Adzuki Beans with Spinach
4-6 servings
(Adapted from 3 Bowls)

½ c adzuki beans, sorted, rinsed well, and drained
1 ¾-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1-1 ½ T low-sodium tamari or Mrs. Dash salt substitute

1. Soften the beans by one of the two methods below:
i. Place beans in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover them by a few inches. Bring to a boil, boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.
ii. Soak the beans in water at room temperature for at least 4 hours or overnight.
2. Rinse the beans.
3. Place the beans, ginger, and 1 c cold water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until beans are tender but not mushy (30-40 minutes).
5. Stir in the spinach, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, until heated through. Add 1 T of the low-sodium tamari or use a salt substitute like Mrs. Dash for flavoring.

TCM Analysis:
Adzuki beans: sweet, sour, neutral; HT, SP, SI. Percolate damp, reduce edema, relieve toxin.
Ginger: pungent, warm; LU, SP, ST. Disperse cold, release exterior, stop nausea/vomiting, detoxify, reduce inflammation.
Spinach: sweet, cold; ST, LI, LV. Clear heat, stop bleeding, nourish blood, stabilize yin, moisten dryness.
Tamari: salty, cold; SP, ST, KD. Harmonize MJ, clear heat, detoxify.

Overall, this recipe is balanced in taste and temperature. With the adzuki beans as the chief, the primary focus is on draining damp in cases of damp or phlegm accumulation. Ginger’s function of release exterior makes it useful in cases of wind-damp as well.

Egg-Drop Soup

Categories: Liver Blood Vacuity, Spleen Qi Vacuity, Wei Qi Vacuity

Egg-Drop Soup


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms
  • ½ bunch of spinach
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp white miso
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 green onions


  1. Mince garlic, and chop carrot into thin coins. Remove mushroom stems, and chop caps. Wash spinach and pat dry.
  2. In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute garlic for 1 minute, just long enough to become fragrant. Add carrots and mushrooms. Saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring so mushrooms don’t stick to the pan. Add spinach and a little bit of broth. Continue cooking until spinach is mostly wilted.
  3. Add the rest of the chicken broth and cover. Heat all the way through, but do not bring to a boil.
  4. Ladle out 1-2 cups of liquid into a bowl or glass container. Add miso and stir until miso is dissolved. Return to non-boiling soup, and stir to evenly distribute miso.
  5. Crack eggs, and drop them into soup, stirring to break up the whites and yolks. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Serve and garnish with green onions.

Makes 3-4 servings.

TCM analysis:

olive oil: sweet, sour, astringent, neutral; clears heat, detoxifies, promotes body fluids
garlic: acrid, hot; detoxifies meat & seafood; removes stagnant food or blood; warms yang
carrot: sweet, neutral; SP, LV, LU, HRT; strengthens SP and HRT, nourishes and soothes LV
shiitake: sweet, neutral; SP, LU; supplements qi, boosts wei qi, lowers cholesterol
spinach: sweet, cold; ST, LI; nourishes blood, stabilizes yin, moistens dryness
chicken broth: sweet, warm; SP, ST, KD; supplements qi, nourishes blood, boosts wei qi
miso: salty, cool; aids digestion, neutralizes acid in the body, increases resistance to disease
eggs: sweet, neutral; SP, ST, LU; nourishes yin & blood, supplements SP/ST, calms shen
green onions: acrid, warm; LU, LI; releases external wind-cold, invigorates blood, drains damp

In general, this recipe is neutral in temperature and sweet to tonify qi, blood, and fluids. Warm, acrid ingredients (garlic, green onions) lightly invigorate to prevent cloying, and balance other cool ingredients (spinach, miso). The recipe is directed to the middle jiao, where it strengthens SP and ST qi and promotes SP production of blood. The use of chicken broth, shiitake mushrooms, and miso also strengthens immunity by boosting protective qi.

Eggs and Tomatoes and Spinach Scramble

Categories: Stomach Fire

Erika Anderson

Eggs and Tomatoes and Spinach Scramble

2 Eggs Neutral Sweet SP , ST Nourishes Yin and Blood, Tonifies SP/ST
½ Tomato Cold Sweet, Sour SP, ST, UB K Clears Heat Promotes urination, Promotes Fluids
¼ Cup Spinach Cold Sweet ST, LI Clears Heat
1 tsp. Olive Oil

* Makes 1 Serving

1) Heat a small saute pan over medium heat.
2) Add the Oil.
3) Saute the Tomatoes.
4) Add the Spinach and cook until wilted.
5) Add the Eggs and stir until eggs are cooked.

Overall this recipe is Cold and Sweet and goes to the SP and ST.
I think it would be a good choice for someone with Stomach Heat, because it will not add any more heat and it has ingredients that are cool, to cool the stomach off.

Spinach Paneer To Moisten Dryness

Categories: Large Intestine Fluid Vacuity

Erika Anderson
Spinach Paneer To Moisten Dryness
Makes 5 Servings

1 lb. Spinach ST, LI Cold Sweet Moistens dryness, Clears heat, stops bleeding.
1 Small Onion, LU, LI, ST Cold Sweet, Sour Tonifies Qi and Blood, Clears Heat, Transform Damp
Cut into Quarters
1 Tsp. Ginger LU, SP, ST Warm Pungent Disperse Exterior, Warms MJ and Lungs
½ Tsp. Tumeric Cool
1 Tsp. Salt Cold Salty
½ Tsp. Cayenne Warm Pungent
1 Cup Paneer Cubes LU, SP, ST,Neutral Sweet Moistens Dryness Supplements Qi and Blood,
1 tsp. Vegetable Oil Moistens Dryness
½ tsp Cumin

1 Cup of Water


Moistens Dryness

1) In a Heavy Skillet, Mix spinach, onion, ginger, salt, cayenne pepper and ½ cup water.
2) Bring to a boil, reduce heat cover with a lid and steam for 5 minutes or until greens are soft. Set aside to cool.
3) Separate onions and chop.
4) Add onions and spinach to the blender and coarsely grind.
5) Return to the skillet and stir in remaining water. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat until spinach is simmering. Reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes.
6) Remove spinach from heat, add Paneer and stir. Cover with lid and return to the stove. Continue to simmer 8 minutes.
7) In a separate frying pan heat oil over medium heat, add cumin and cook for a few seconds until seeds turn golden brown.
8) Add Cumin and Oil to the spinach and stir and then cover with the lid
9) Serve with Rice

White Bean Fennel Soup

Categories: Large Intestine Qi Stagnation, Spleen Qi Vacuity, Stomach Cold

White Bean Fennel Soup
Kate Phillippi
Serves: 5-7
1 large onion, chopped
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 TB olive oil
5 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
2 cups of white kidney or cannellini beans, cooked (or 1-15oz. can)
2 cups fresh tomatoes, cut and peeled
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
¼ tsp. pepper
1 bay leaf
3 cups shredded fresh spinach

In a large saucepan, sauté onion and fennel in oil until tender. Add the broth, beans, tomatoes, thyme, pepper and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until fennel is tender. Discard bay leaf. Add spinach; cook 3-4 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted.

TCM Analysis

Onion: warm, acrid, promotes sweating, resolves phlegm, diuretic
Fennel: warm, sweet, acrid, unblocks and regulates qi, strengthens stomach, dispels cold, stops pain, stimulates peristalsis
Olive oil: neutral, sweet, sour, astringent, clears heat, detoxifies, promotes body fluids, quenches thirst, clears lungs, benefits the throat
Vegetable broth: (varies), aids digestion
White kidney beans: neutral, sweet, diuretic, strengthens digestion, promotes elimination
Tomato: slightly cool, sweet, sour, promotes body fluids, quenches thirst, strengthens stomach, aids digestion, cools blood, clears heat, detoxifies, calms liver, removes stagnant food
Thyme: warm, bitter, acrid, stimulates and tonifies digestion, abdominal pain, moves qi, loosens phlegm
Garlic: warm, pungent, promotes sweating, anti-toxin, benefits lungs and stomach, expels pathogen, antidote for seafood poisoning
Pepper: hot, pungent, warms digestion, dispels internal cold, antidote to food poisoning
Bay leaf: warm, acrid, bitter, stimulates digestion
Spinach: cool, sweet, strengthens all organs, lubricates intestines, promotes urination, ventilates the chest, quenches thirst

Overall Analysis:

This recipe is warm and has a strengthening effect on the digestive system. It also has a strong moving effect on qi and fluids.

Chinese Duck and Shiitake Dumplings

Categories: Kidney Qi Vacuity, Lung Qi Vacuity, Lung Yin Vacuity, Wei Qi Vacuity

Chinese Duck and Shiitake Dumplings
Yields about thirty-six 3-inch dumplings.

For the dough:
6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for kneading

For the filling:
Half a roast duck, preferably Beijing-style
8 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
6 oz. spinach, washed and trimmed
1/4 cup finely chopped water chestnuts
2 medium scallions, thinly sliced
1-1/2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. cornstarch
Freshly ground black pepper

To finish the dumplings:
Kosher salt, as needed (for boiled dumplings)
Vegetable oil, as needed (for pan-fried dumplings)
1 recipe Ginger Vinegar or Scallion-Soy Dipping Sauce

Make the dough:
Pour the flour into a mound on a clean work surface. Make a deep, wide well in the center and pour in 1/2 cup cold water. Stir with your fingers, staying in the center at first and being careful that the water doesn’t breach the wall. Little by little, using your hand and a bench knife, mix in flour from the sides until the dough starts to come together. (Alternatively, put the flour in a medium bowl. Make a well, add the water, and stir first with a spoon and then your hand.) If the dough remains in shreds, sprinkle in additional water, a teaspoon at a time, until it begins to stick together. Don’t add too much water or the dough will be difficult to work.

Knead the dough for 5 minutes to form a smooth, firm, elastic ball. (If you began the dough in a bowl, lightly dust a clean, dry surface with flour before kneading.) The dough should not be sticky and should bounce back when pressed with a fingertip. Divide in half with a bench knife and roll into two 6-inch logs. Sprinkle each log evenly with flour, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature before rolling and filling.

Make the filling:
Separate the duck meat from the bones and skin; shred the meat finely by hand. Cut the stems from the mushrooms and discard. Squeeze excess moisture from the caps and chop finely. Transfer the duck and mushrooms to a medium bowl.

In a 12-inch skillet, bring 2 Tbs. of water and the sugar to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Squeeze the excess water from the spinach and transfer to a cutting board to cool. Chop finely.

Stir the spinach, water chestnuts, scallions, ginger, soy sauce, cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper into the duck and mushrooms. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
Cut and roll the dough
Cut each log in half crosswise. Cut each half crosswise into thirds, and then slice each of those pieces into three even coins. You should have 36 pieces of equal size. Toss the pieces in flour to coat evenly and then cover with a clean towel so they don’t dry out.

Using a small rolling pin, roll a piece of dough into a thin 3-inch circle; with the dough in one hand and the pin in the other, roll from the edges toward the center as you rotate the dough. This rolling technique helps create a round with thin edges and a thicker center.

Fill and shape the dumplings:

Tip: If you have helpers, set up an assembly line and roll out each wrapper, then pass it along to the next person to fill. If you’re filling all the dumplings yourself, it’s best to roll out several wrappers, and keep them covered with a kitchen towel as you fill them, to prevent them from drying out.

Spoon 1 to 2 tsp. of the filling onto a dough circle, fold it in half, and then if you’re going to boil the dumplings, seal it by pinching along the curved edge. If you’re planning to pan-fry the dumplings for pot stickers, make your first pinch at the center of the curved edge and then pleat toward the center on both sides to create a rounded belly. This wider shape allows the dumplings to sit upright in the pan and form a flat surface for browning.

Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. As you work, arrange the filled dumplings in a single layer without touching on large plates, so they don’t stick together.

To cook: either boil the dumplings…
Bring a large (7- to 8-quart) pot of salted water to a boil. Working in 2 or 3 batches to avoid overcrowding, quickly add the dumplings one at a time, making sure they don’t stick to each other. Lower the heat to medium and continue to boil, gently stirring occasionally, until the dumplings float and are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce.

…or pan-fry the dumplings:
Heat 2 Tbs. vegetable oil in a heavy-duty 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working quickly and in batches if necessary (adding more oil for the second batch if needed), arrange the dumplings belly side down in concentric circles starting from the outer edge. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in about 1/2 cup water or enough to come about a third of the way up the sides of the dumplings, bring to a boil, cover, and cook until all of the water has been absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the lid, reduce the heat to medium, and continue cooking just until the dumplings are dry and crisp on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Loosen the dumplings from the pan with a spatula. Invert the pan over a plate to flip the dumplings, browned side up, onto the plate (or transfer with a spatula). Serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce.

TCM Analysis- Overall, this recipe strongly tonifies the Lung Qi and Yin, boosts the Wei Qi, lowers cholesterol, and strengthens the Kidneys. The addition of Ginger with the duck helps to digest the recipe, because of their ability to strengthen the stomach, and prevent dampness.

Baby Spinach And Tangerines With Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Categories: Heart Qi Vacuity, Kidney Qi Vacuity, Liver Qi Stagnation, Lung Qi Vacuity, Spleen Qi Vacuity, Wind Cold Invading Lungs

Baby Spinach And Tangerines
With Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Serves 3-4


10 oz bag of prewashed spinach
½ pound mixed baby greens (salad mix)
3 tangerines, Satsuma or other seedless variety
¼ cup red wine vinegar (good quality)*
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup fresh or bottled pomegranate juice
1 ½ tsp cornstarch
1 tsp sugar
pinch of cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


Wash the greens and spinach well and dry in a lettuce spinner. Chill the greens until just before serving. Peel the tangerines and remove as much pith as possible. Cover and chill until ready to serve. In a small, shallow pan bring the vinegar up to a simmer. Dissolve the cornstarch in the juice with the sugar and other seasonings. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the vinegar and simmer until just starting to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the oil. Chill until ready to use. Use a fork to whisk the dressing before tossing the salad.
This dressing will become quite thick if you keep it longer than a day. Roast some vegetables and toss them with your leftover dressing for a wonderful salad. Serve cold or room temperature.

TCM Analysis-Spinach Strengthens all organs, tonifies Qi and Blood, and ventilates the chest. Tangerines opens the channels, stops coughing and opens the chest. The red wine vinegar and cinnamon both promote circulation throughout the entire body. Overall, this recipe vents the Lungs while strengthening and supporting the Qi during attacks of a wind-cold invasion.