Once in a while we go to Chinatown. In our last trip there, we found some fresh cogon grass. When A-te J saw them, she asked what they were for and I replied it was for a medicinal soup that’s common in Chinese cuisine, particularly Cantonese cuisine. She held back a laugh saying that where she comes from, the cogon grass was used for burning not for eating. I laughed along, commenting the weirdness of things – one man’s trash is (quite literally) another man’s treasure!
Anyway, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, this grass (Rhizoma Imperatae, 茅根 ) has cooling properties, aiding to dispel heat and helping bladder function. It has a sweetish taste.
I was told that the cogon grass can be simmered with water to produce herbal tea but this I haven’t tried. I am more familiar (and comfortable) with the soup version of it
1 bundle of fresh cogon grass (about 30 to 60 grams)
or 15-30 grams dried cogon grass
6 to 8 cups of water
400 to 500 grams of pork spare ribs
1 small onion
Clean the spare ribs, remove the fat. Blanch.
Wash the cogon grass and blanch.
Boil the water. Add the onion, cogon grass and pork. Simmer for 3 hours (or use the magic cooker).
This recipe has alternate and/or additional ingredients:
1 chinese pear, sliced into large cubes and 4 honey dates, soaked in lukewarm water for 30 minutes. Add the pear cubes and soaked dates together with all other ingredients. This results in a sweeter tasting soup.
The pork spare ribs can be substituted with 1/2 chicken or 1 whole native chicken or even black chicken. In which case, a thumb of smashed ginger should be added to the soup too.