Fish Soup with the Herb that Rivals Ginseng in Nourishment and Surpasses it in Flavor

This dish does not require elaborate ingredients but is cheap, easy to find, both in rural and urban areas. The fatty, fragrant taste of fish combined with the starchy taste of star anise leaves creates a unique delicious feeling for diners.


The type of leaves we recommend you use to cook this fish is very popular, but few people know that when added to the fish, it is extremely delicious: Dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves.

Dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) was called “ginseng for the poor” by the famous doctor Hai Thuong Lan Ong because its nutritional value is almost equivalent to that of Korean ginseng.

Dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves

Benefits of dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves for health and beauty

Relieves headaches and insomnia

Dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves contain saponin and many other important ingredients. Some studies have proven that the medicinal properties of dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves can mildly activate and harmonize the cerebral cortex, which has a positive effect on the nervous system.

In addition, dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) can also help to strengthen the immune system, calm the nerves, and promote sound sleep. Dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) also helps to relieve headaches and improve symptoms of stress.

Helps improve digestion

Dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaf water supports the treatment of uncomfortable digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, indigestion, and bloating. To use, boil a handful of dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves in water and drink it continuously for several days to improve digestive symptoms.

Good for people who have just recovered from illness

Women who have just given birth and people who have just recovered from illness should use dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves to cook soup with meat and fish to nourish their bodies. It has similar effects as ginseng. To make this remedy, wash about 200g of dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves, and when the meat soup boils, add the dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves and cook until just cooked. Eat while hot to help the body feel refreshed and eliminate toxins.

Cures chronic coughs

Dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves are very effective in treating coughs and are used by many people. For severe coughs, symptoms can be greatly reduced after just 3 days of drinking dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaf water. Patients should continue to drink dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaf water until their cough is gone.

Instructions: Wash the dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves under running water, chop them into small pieces, dry them in the sun, and stir-fry until golden brown. Each day, use 10-12g to boil in a small amount of water and drink instead of regular water.

Whitens skin

Currently, there are many skin whitening tips, among which dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) is considered to yield excellent results and is quite safe. This skin whitening tip is quite simple to perform. You just need to use boiled dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaf water to bathe as usual. If you have a bathtub at home, you should pour this leaf water into the bathtub and soak in it for about 20-30 minutes so that the essence can penetrate deep into the skin, breaking down the melanin cells that cause darkening and regenerating collagen to whiten the skin quickly.

Treats acne

Wash the fresh dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves, crush them into a fine paste, add a few grains of salt, and then apply to the acne-prone area. Wait until the leaves are dry, then wash off with water. Do this once a day in the evening and continue for 2 weeks. Your skin will be significantly restored.

This type of leaf is not only used to boil water to drink instead of tea, but it can also be used to cook dishes or eaten raw. introduces a method for stewing saltwater fish with dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves, which both removes the fishy smell and creates a delicious flavor:

Ingredients for stewing fish: 

– 3 kg saltwater fish

– 100g galangal

– Dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves

– 500g pork belly

– 5 green bananas

– Chili, pepper, fish sauce, salt, caramel water, oyster sauce

Wash and chop the ingredients for stewing fish

Instructions for stewing fish:

After the fish is dry, marinate it with spices and fry it until golden brown.

 – After washing the fish, drain it and marinate it with a little salt, pepper, and chili to absorb the flavors.

– Peel the green bananas, soak them in salt water for 15 minutes, then remove and drain.

– Cut the pork belly into 3 cm pieces.

– Grind half of the galangal and slice the other half.

– Put the dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves in a pot.- Wash the dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves and drain them (they will help to remove the fishy smell when stewing).

– Fry the fish until golden brown, put the fish in a bowl to cool, then add the green bananas, dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves, galangal, chili, salt, oyster sauce, fish sauce, pepper, and caramel water (adjust the amount of salt and pepper to taste).

– Stir everything gently to combine the flavors.

– Put the ingredients in the marinade.- After 30 minutes of marinating, put 1/3 of the dong quai (Vietnamese ginseng) leaves, galangal, and pork at the bottom of the pot, then arrange the fish in the pot and add the remaining galangal and pork on top.

Marinate for 30 minutes. Add 2 liters of boiling water and skim off any foam. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 4 hours and the fish will be very tasty.

Simmer the fish over low heat- If using a slow cooker or pressure cooker, the cooking time will be much shorter (use only 0.5 liters of water for pressure cookers and slow cookers).

– When the fish is cooked, it will have a fragrant aroma of saltwater fish, along with the taste of galangal and spiciness. 

Stewing fish with this type of leaves gives it a delicious flavor and eliminates the fishy smell. We wish you success when stewing fish with this nutritious leaf!

Frequently asked questions

Dong quai leaves are known to relieve headaches and insomnia. They contain saponin and other important compounds that positively impact the nervous system. Additionally, they help improve digestion, boost the immune system, calm nerves, promote skin whitening, treat acne, and support recovery from illness. Dong quai leaves are also believed to have similar effects to ginseng.

To improve digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, indigestion, and bloating, drinking dong quai leaf water is recommended. Boil a handful of dong quai leaves in water and consume this continuously for several days to notice improvements in digestion.

For women who have recently given birth or individuals recovering from an illness, cooking a soup with dong quai leaves, meat, and fish is suggested. Wash about 200g of dong quai leaves and add them to the meat soup while it’s boiling. Cook until the leaves are just done, and consume the soup while it’s hot to refresh the body and eliminate toxins.

Dong quai leaves are highly effective in treating coughs. For severe coughs, drinking dong quai leaf water for just 3 days can significantly reduce symptoms. It is recommended to continue drinking the leaf water until the cough subsides.

Wash the dong quai leaves under running water, chop them into small pieces, and dry them in the sun. Stir-fry the leaves until they turn golden brown. Consume 10-12g of the prepared leaves boiled in a small amount of water daily instead of regular water.

Boil dong quai leaves and use the water for bathing as usual. If you have a bathtub, pour the leaf water into it and soak for 20-30 minutes. This allows the essence of the leaves to penetrate the skin, breaking down melanin cells that cause darkening and regenerating collagen for quicker skin whitening.

Wash fresh dong quai leaves and crush them into a fine paste. Add a few grains of salt and apply this mixture to acne-prone areas. Leave it on until the paste dries, then wash it off with water. Repeat this process once daily in the evening for 2 weeks for significant skin restoration.

Yes, dong quai leaves are versatile and can be used in various ways. They can be boiled for tea, cooked in dishes, or even eaten raw.

To stew fish with dong quai leaves, you’ll need 3 kg of saltwater fish, 100g of galangal, dong quai leaves, 500g of pork belly, 5 green bananas, chili, pepper, fish sauce, salt, caramel water, and oyster sauce. Wash and chop the ingredients, then marinate the fish with spices and fry it until golden. Add the remaining ingredients, including the dong quai leaves, and gently stir to combine flavors. Put the ingredients in a pot, adding boiling water, and skim off any foam. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 4 hours for a delicious and fragrant stew.
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