A Recipe for Preventing Flu – from Apple Daily News | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

A Recipe for Preventing Flu – from Apple Daily News

A Soup for Preventing Flu
A Soup for Preventing Flu

Glad that I have read this article on Apple Daily News titled, ‘Onion, Garlic vs Flu’. My attention got sucked when seeing the columnist, Yim Ho, wrote in the first sentence, ‘…. a recipe specifically for preventing flu …’. I was just wondering if I had caught a flu yet I got no running rose and was neither too tired. The only syndromes with me were just dry throat and feeling slightly heavy head. Anyway, I needed a soup for that evening and it looked fairly simple. Deal, I will be re-creating the soup in my kitchen.

Having detailed the recipe, Yim Ho added that he had forwarded it to a friend who caught a flu. His friend then tried out the soup and suggested, ‘I still pay a visit to my doctor, but also take one bowl of the soup before having a sleep. After that, I finish another one. Then my flu is gone toward evening ‘. His friend used only one onion and one garlic to cook into two bowls of soup (which appears to be a simplified version if compare to the original recipe). For myself, I tried to stick to what were mentioned in the article. I hadn’t visited my doctor (touch wood) but with one bowl of that soup swallowed, I felt good the next day.

Bowl vs Cup
Notice we have been mentioning the soup in terms of a bowl than a cup? The fact is, common among we Chinese, the older generation in particular, when referring to the measurement of liquid for cooking, the unit ‘bowl’ is used instead of ‘cup’.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 onion
  • an equal weight of garlic to onion
  • pork shank (~100g)
  • salt to taste
  • You shall see in below pictures a greater amount of ingredients because I have prepared two portions of the above.


1) Peel all garlics and onions. Rinse, crash garlics and cut each onion into six wedges. For meat, the amount is at one’s discretion and I have about 100g per portion.

2) Like preparing other soups with meat, I first rinse the pork under running water for a couple of minutes to eliminate as much as the blood content. Then, blanch it in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes to remove the raw smell and any impurities. Doing such will make the soup taste purer.

Onion Garlic - A Secret Recipe for Preventing Flu

Pork Shank - A Secret Recipe for Preventing Flu

3) Put all ingredients into a pot. Add water to the level two inches above the top of ingredients. Bring water to boil over high heat, then turn to low heat and cook until the soup reduced to two cups (I equate one bowl to one cup), which takes about three hours altogether. After the first hour of boiling, the soup doesn’t reduce too much, so I have adjusted the flame higher to medium-low thereafter.

4) Serve hot, add salt to taste.

I am afraid I would not label the soup as extremely delicious, but it is flavorful and somewhat sweet. For preventing flu, it is advisable to take the second bowl of soup day after the next day of finishing the first one.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Good health everyone and great year 2010!

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  1. penny aka jeroxie

    Yes. My mum made this for me. Does not taste very appealing but I drank it anyway.

  2. Lori

    Garlic is magical in my eyes. SO I could see where this soup would be pretty healing.

    (I think you want to say knock on wood, rather than touch wood. ) I dont know maybe there is an expression I am unaware of.

    And lets hope we make it through without getting the flu.

  3. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    That looks not to difficult to prepare and delicious too.
    Happy New Year!

  4. MaryMoh

    That’s a very lovely soup for this cold winter….simple and delicious. Wishing you a very Happy & Prosperous New Year!

  5. pigpigscorner

    Wow that’s a lot of garlic, now I know why it’s good for flu. Happy new year!

  6. TasteHongKong

    Hi Everybody,
    Already 1:00a.m Jan 1, 2010 here. Happy New Year!
    Thankful to Yim Ho for sharing us the recipe.

  7. sophia

    Ooh…I love garlic…But this recipe sounds suspicioulsy like chinese herbal medicine for some reason. lol.

    Happy, happy, muy happy New Year!

  8. Jojo

    Yay for prevention! Although I’m not sure if this is Chinese, a variation of this type of medicinal soup I make includes chicken stock, onion, garlic, ginger and vegies. It’s kept me healthy all winter.

  9. Christine@Christine's Recipes

    I found your blog from Mary’s blog. Love your blog very much.
    Just let you know that when I tried to subscribe to your blog, I found the feedburner feed was not working.

  10. yours deliciously

    Thanks for sharing. Love garlic and onions!

  11. L. Zeng

    I love both onions and pork but the amount of garlic seems kind of offputting…nevertheless, your pictures make it look delicious! 🙂

  12. TasteHongKong

    @sophia, If you are referring to those usually black or brown looking Chinese herbal tea, i must say this one is different and tastes far much better.
    @Jojo, Your variation sounds great and yummy as well. Thanks.
    @yours deliciously. Thanks.
    @L.Zeng, I took the soup and discarded the garlic, so to me the flavor is just right (honestly, garlic is one of my favorite ingredients).

  13. Shelly

    Wow, would never have thought this would prevent the flu! Great post for these times when everyone is concerned about health! And Happy New Year to you too!!

  14. TasteHongKong

    @Christine, Thanks for advising me the problem. I have to get it fixed, many thanks.
    @Shelly, Thanks! Wish the H1N1 will be away from us soon.

  15. Alta

    I have heard before that onions and garlic can ward off illness! Sounds like a great thing to consume regularly, when so many are ill around you!

  16. Peggy

    sounds delicious regardless of illness or not! I’ll definitely be trying this soon!

  17. Patty

    This is incredible – I believe in the power for food, particularly when illness is involved. This is amazing information. Will pass it on to friends and family. Thank you.

  18. pierre

    ohh yes this is so cold here in Paris that I want this kind of soup!! cheers Pïerre

  19. Melody Fury

    Hi! Thanks for the kind comment. I love your blog! I miss HK a lot and love to read anything food related about my hometown.

    FYI the RSS feed button in my browser address bar doesn’t work for your site. Might be a typo in your code. The one below it on your page works.

  20. TasteHongKong

    @Alta Wish the soup could help shield you from the virus.
    @Peggy Enjoy.
    @Patty You are most welcome and hope more people will benefit from this.
    @pierre If Paris is cold, probably H.K. is cool only. But still hot soups are inevitable. Cheers.

  21. TasteHongKong

    @Melody Fury Please accept my greatest gratitude to your kind advice. I’m sorry about the inconvenience caused to you, the problem was due to a link to my old feed, but it is fixed now. Thanks for subscribing and your kind words as well!

  22. Amber @ Native Food and Wine

    If this strengthens the immune system I am willing to try it! It sounds like a nice warm broth to sip in the winter too.

    Thanks for reading our story on the Great Ocean Road. I believe those mussels were blue mussels. Good eye.

    It’s tuna season in South Australia too. Unfortunately we can’t make it down to that area!


  23. Reiz

    I need this too! My nose is sneezing pretty much with the Cranky weather over in Singapore!

  24. Carolyn Jung

    My cure-all? A huge burrito. Seriously. When I’m ailing, a huge burrito filled with meat, beans, rice, cheese and doused with a ton of salsa never ceases to get me feeling stronger and better. I bet your soup does the same, what with all that lovely intense porky goodness to it.

  25. Andy

    Could I use beef or chicken instead as I don’t eat pork for religious reasons?

  26. TasteHongKong

    Sorry that I don’t have access to the answer. But you may want to know that garlic is a heaty food. I therefore have doubt to recommend pairing such a considerable amount of it with the heaty beef or moderately heaty chicken.