Chinese Food Therapy Recipes

We all want to be as healthy as possible, and in Chinese medicine, what you eat plays a huge role in the state of your health.  One important facet of Chinese medicine is food therapy, in which you eat the most appropriate foods for your body type and as a way to correct any health imbalances you may have.  For example, if your digestion is not up to par and you feel fatigued as a result, your practitioner may help you choose foods that are easy to digest and build up your Qi (energy).

While most recipes in Chinese food therapy are aimed at correcting specific imbalances, here are a few that are easily digestible and help to build up your energy, which is appropriate for all body types—and who doesn’t need a little more energy?

The following recipes all have potatoes as an ingredient, which are a good for building your body’s Qi.  In addition, during the fall and early winter, root vegetables like potatoes are in season and can usually be found locally.


Roasted Potatoes and Garlic

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 large purple, white, or gold potatoes
  • 2-3 pieces of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • sea salt

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Dice potatoes in 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces, place in a bowl and toss with the olive oil, garlic, and salt.

Place potatoes in a baking pan and cook at 400° for 40 minutes.  Stir the potatoes every 15 minutes or so.

Potatoes will be done when they’re cooked all the way through. For a crispy brown finish, put the potatoes under the broiler for 5 minutes at the end.

Recipe adapted from

Energetics:  Potatoes strengthens Qi (energy).  They also strengthen your digestion.  Sweet potatoes are cool in nature, can clear heat, and are a good choice if you’re experiencing night sweats.


Lentil Soup

  • 2 onions
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 or 3 medium potatoes
  • ½ pound red lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 tsp fresh mint
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • sea salt to taste

Chop the onions finely and fry them in the olive oil until soft and translucent.

Wash and dice the potatoes. 

Add the lentils to the onions, stir for a minute and then add the potatoes.  Stir again.

Add the water and the bay leaf and bring to a boil.

Simmer for about ½ hour or until the lentils and potatoes are cooked through.

Add the chopped mint about halfway through, and add the salt and lemon juice at the end.

Remove the bay leaf, and mash or blend part of the soup for a creamy texture.

From Recipes for Self Healing by Daverick Leggett

Energetics:  This soup strengthens Qi, is easy to digest, and provides a sustained release of energy.  Lentils strengthen your Chinese Spleen and Stomach, as well as benefiting your Heart and Kidney.  They also exert a mild action against dampness.  Both the lemon and the mint are cool in nature.


Dill Salmon Bake

  • 3 pounds of potatoes
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 pound of salmon
  • 2 glasses of white wine
  • 4 tsp of dill weed
  • 2 ounces of butter
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 ° F.

Boil the potatoes until they’re about three-quarters cooked.  Cool enough to handle, and cut the potatoes into slices ¼ inch thick.

Meanwhile slice the onions in rings and cook gently in a little butter until they just start to soften.

Cut the salmon into 1 inch chunks.

Place all the ingredients into a greased oven proof dish in layers: onions, then potato, then salmon, then onions and potato again.

Sprinkle with the dill and salt as you build each layer.

Pour in the white wine and place some pats of butter on top. 

Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and cover.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

From Recipes for Self Healing by Daverick Leggett

This is a gently warming dish appropriate for all body types.  The salmon nourishes Yin and Blood, while also gently warming Yang, with assistance from the white wine.  The potatoes strengthen your Qi, and the onions are warming and can counteract dampness and phlegm.  The dill helps strengthen your digestion.


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