Healthy ‘Spleen Qi’ Soup

This recipe comes from Rebecca and is especially good for maintaining a strong digestive system (healthy Spleen Qi) and reducing dampness (water & mucus retention).    Strong Spleen Qi is the basis of ‘post-natal Qi’ and health.  Keeping your spleen strong ensures that your digestive system will have the ability to extract all the nutrients from your food so your body can stay well nourished.   This is a super tasty recipe –  enjoy!


Organic, Unhulled Job’s Tears (from Peggy’s Petaluma farm in Marin)

  • 2 cups Yi Yi Ren (Job’s Tears / Coix Seeds) – I had a heck of a time trying to find this and they were at Ranch 99 the whole time!
  • 1 whole cooked chicken, including raw gizzard/giblets
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 lb. kale
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Some olive oil
  • A bunch of water
  • Salt to taste

This can be adapted to serve any size group.  The above makes a ton of soup for a large pot luck size.  You can use less ingredients to serve fewer folks.


Hulled & Dried Job's Tears

Hulled & Dried Job’s Tears

In a small bowl of water, soak Job’s Tears for 1-2 hours.

Remove all the meat from a whole, cooked chicken.  In the meantime, make chicken broth using the bones, gizzard and giblets of the chicken, the vegetables (carrots, onions, celery), the spices (garlic, bay leaves) and water.  While this is going on, peel and chop sweet potatoes to desired size.  Also chop up kale.

When the stock is done, fish out the chicken parts.  I tie the chicken parts together so I can easily remove them and keep the vegies in the base of the soup.  Strain the Yi Yi Ren, which should now look puffy and soft.  Add the Yi Yi Ren and the chopped sweet potatoes.  Cook until the sweet potatoes are at desired mush level.  Yi Yi Ren should still be a little crunchy.  Add cooked chicken and kale.  When I add the chicken, I like to shred it in my hands as opposed to chopping it.  I like the texture better.  Bring to a rolling boil then reduce heat and serve piping hot!

Bon appetite!


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  1. I like this post, enjoyed this one thanks for posting. “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” by M. Kathleen Casey.

    Comment by Horacio Vasey — November 15, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

  2. This soup sounds really grounding. Time to go to Rancho 99 and try out some yi yi ren. I am kind of tired of using the same kind of beans all the time in my cooking and these might be a welcome addition.

    Comment by Jodi Host — March 31, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

  3. Since I make a soup like this almost weekly I will totally grab some Yi Yi Ren to add to it. That would be a great way to add a spleen tonic quality. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Katherine Walters — April 11, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

  4. This sounds delicious. I bet this would be a great soup for finals week since we’re going to be using all our spleen qi studying & stressing!

    Comment by Katrina H — August 3, 2013 @ 6:21 pm

  5. It may be a good time to try this soup. Finals week. Thanks!

    Comment by Kim O'Berry — August 7, 2013 @ 1:43 pm

  6. This sounds so good. I’m going to bookmark this recipe so that I can make it when I need to de-stress (a week of tests, finals, teen drama at home…).

    Comment by Lisa Polson — August 22, 2013 @ 9:46 pm

  7. In the middle of finals week and my spleen is craving this soup

    Comment by Kelsey Rumfello — August 13, 2014 @ 9:10 am

  8. This one sounds great. Maybe over break, while it is still rainy.

    “We must all suffer one of two pains: The pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” – Jim Rohn

    Comment by Ethan Ramirez — April 11, 2017 @ 9:16 pm

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