Saturday, October 9, 2010

Papaya Soup - Featured in Group Recipes

We Chinese folks have a practice of going into a time of confinement or "lie in" period after giving birth. This is not as predominantly practiced today, with modern obstetrics being the choice of many, but it was true when I gave birth to my son 23 years ago. During the confinement period, a regimen of a supplemented diet is enforced. While the mother bonds with the new arrival, she is treated rather like a queen, and fed foods designed to bring strength back to her body. There are also rigid dos and don'ts regarding hygeine and exercise as well. All of this practice is designed to keep mother and baby healthy and provide a good launch of their journey together. When I was on confinement, my mum (who was in much demand in those days as the reigning midwife and adminstrator of confinement within our circle of family & friends) made this soup for me at least twice a week.  The Chinese believe that eating papaya soup will invoke higher production of breast milk. While the effectiveness of the chicken and papaya soup has never been verified by scientific research, chicken is a good source of protein, and papayas are packed with minerals and vitamins A, C and E. These two main ingredients combined provide a healthy and nutritious meal for anyone, and is presumably good even more so for a breastfeeding mum.  I love it because it is delicious.  I don’t only drink the soup but I eat all the papaya as well. Interstingly, my Western husband loves this soup as well, and points out that chicken soup  is considered a tonic by many cultures. He even told me that in Jewish home remedy lore, chicken soup is often the first line of treatment,  and that the soup is sometimes called "Jewish penicillin". So I guess papaya soup is our Straits Chinese analogue to this home remedy, and a reflection of how different cultures managed with what was available in abundence. All that is interesting of course, but the main point is that chicken soup is delicious, and while the Campbell Co. has made a big business of chicken soup (as well as other varieties) you can do better in your own  kitchen. Aside advanatges of taste and smells of freshly made soup, remember, they can't put love in a tin can.

Serving : 4

1 big semi-riped papaya 
2 whole chicken breast without the skin
6 red dates
2 honey dried dates
1 cube chicken bullion
1 litre water

Wash papaya, remove skin and seeds. Slice half lengthwise and then cut across into chunks. Blanch the chicken in boiling water before putting into the pot. Put all the rest of the ingredients into the pot. Turn on high heat and let it boil for 5 mins without covering the pot.  Turn down the heat to low and cover the port and simmer for 2 hours. Add salt to taste and remove the chicken breast before serving.


  1. I had no idea about papaya - great information!

  2. Hi Belinda,

    Eat more papaya from now on my dear:D

  3. This is very interesting!
    thankx for sharing!

  4. This soup is so interesting -- I'll have to try it. I love reading your recipes -- so many ideas and ingredients that are unusual to me. Thanks for visiting Splendid Market.

  5. Thanks Spendid Market for visiting my blog. I enjoy reading you blog too. So much valuable information! You will see me often visiting your blog. Please drop by often to check on my new recipes.

  6. Hi Torviewtoronto

    So nice of you to visit my blog and thanks for the comment. Please come back often to check on new recipes. You have lots of great recipes and you take beautiful photos. I enjoy your blog very much.


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