Confinement is the traditional care given to mothers after the birth of a baby. Part of this care is the preparation of nutritious soups with ingredients that promote healing, increase milk production, and prevent problems that typically occur after childbirth.
Chicken, fish, and pork are the most-recommended bases for these soups. Boiled eggs and black beans can be added for extra protein and black pepper can be added to drive out “wind” from the body.
Here, IMI Traditional Chinese medicine practitioner Gianna Buonocore shares recipes for two soups that are ideal for confinement.
Papaya Fish Soup
This is a sweet and very nutritious soup. It is extremely rich in carotenes, antioxidants, and Vitamin C. It is ideal for babies and children and promotes milk production in breastfeeding women.
4 medium-sized golden threadfin bream (or any other appropriate substitute)
1 large papaya (use green papaya if used for increasing milk supply)
3 large dried dates
2 slices fresh ginger
2 litres water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oil
5-6 pieces dried scallops
- Clean the fish and wipe it with paper towels or a cloth to remove excess water. Cover the fish with a small amount of salt. Let it sit for an hour and then drain any water.
- Meanwhile, peel and cut the papaya into large edible cubes and start boiling the water.
- In a pan, fry the ginger with the fish on low-medium heat until the fish is completely cooked and the skin is a slightly browned.
- Put the fish into a soup bag and add to the boiling water. Add papaya and ginger and boil for at least 1 hour.
Papaya and Corn with Yams in Pork Broth
Pork is a good source of protein, the B vitamins like B12, B6, thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin, and minerals such as phosphorous, zinc, potassium, iron, and magnesium. This is a mild soup, which is easy to prepare and is sweet to taste. It is used to relieve dryness, improve digestion, and combat fatigue and general weakness. It is good for children too.
500 g fresh pork shank
2 ears fresh corn
1 large fresh green papaya
2-3 litres water
1 foot fresh Chinese yam
1 tsp salt (to marinate the pork)
- Marinate the pork overnight by putting a little salt on it inside and out. Blanch pork bones in a separate pot of boiling water.
- Bring the water to a boil. Peel, wash, and chop the papaya, Chinese yam, and corn into large chunks.
- Once water is boiling, add all the ingredients. Boil on high for 30 minutes, then simmer for 2 hours.