This traditional savory Chinese winter solstice soup is loaded with flavor, incredibly comforting, and totally hits the spot on a cold winter's night! Make it to celebrate the Winter Solstice or any night you're craving a bowl of hot delicious soup!
Combine chicken pieces, water, ginger, and salt in a large pot. Bring to a boil.
Lower heat to medium and using a skimmer or spoon, skim the scum from the soup. Continue until scum is mostly removed.
Reduce heat to a low, cover pot with a lid leaving a slight gap, and simmer for 2 hours.
While Broth Is Simmering:
Rinse Chinese sausages. Cut each sausage in half lengthwise, then cut each side into diagonal strips.
Squeeze some of the liquid from the soaked Chinese mushrooms. Trim and discard the stems, then slice the mushroom caps.
Peel the daikon radish. Slice the daikon, creating discs approximately ¼" thick. Lay the discs flat on the cutting board and cut them into thick strips.
After 2 hours of simmering, remove chicken bones, ginger, and any debris from the broth.
Add Chinese sausage, daikon radish, and Chinese mushrooms to the broth. Bring to a boil.
Simmer for 30 minutes.
Dough Balls (Yuan):
Mix the glutinous rice flour and water until a dough forms. The dough should not be too dry or too sticky; add more rice flour or water a little at a time as necessary to achieve the correct consistency.
Take a piece of dough in your hands and roll into a log-like shape.
Break off a small chunk of dough, about the size of a grape, and drop it into the soup. Continue with as many dough balls as you choose to have in the soup. Heat through. Dough balls are cooked once they are all floating on the surface.
Serve hot and garnish with chopped green onions, white pepper, or fried garlic, if desired.
Soak dry Chinese mushrooms for at least 4 hours or overnight.
I use all chicken bones/pieces for the broth, but you can also use a combination of pork and chicken or all pork bones if you prefer.
Be sure to use glutinous or sweet rice flour, NOT regular rice flour. If you use regular rice flour, the dough balls will not float and they will be hard instead of soft and chewy.
Make sure the dough balls are not too big. It can be tempting to make them bigger than the size of a grape, but they do expand a little in the soup and they are harder to eat if too big.
Only cook as many dough balls as you will be eating at that time as they do not fare well being left in the soup for too long and reheated. You can also skip them altogether if you prefer.
If you have leftover yuan dough, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for up to a couple of days. Bring it to room temperature before using.
A few dried scallops added with the sausage, daikon, and mushrooms also adds umami to the soup.