Cookbook Profile

Dried Fig, Apple and Almond Soup

Makes 6 servings as a tonic.


Dried Fig, Apple, and Almond Soup is a classic yun or harmonizing soup, suitable for any season.

Dried Fig, Apple and Almond Soup

Mo fa gwoh is the Cantonese name for a variety of dried figs used in cooking. They are reputed to be good for moistening the lungs and therefore recommended to combat coughs. These figs are different from the figs eaten in the West. They are almost ivory-colored and are smaller, with more delicate seeds. If these figs are not available, regular dried or fresh figs can be substituted in this recipe. However, there is no substitute for the Chinese almonds (which are actually not almonds at all but apricot kernels). Nom hung almonds are from Southern China and are known for their sweetness. Buck hung are from the north and are slightly bitter, but they bring out the flavor of the nom hung almonds. When you buy these almonds in Chinatown, the two varieties are not distinguished in English. You must ask for them by their Cantonese names.

I have tried this soup with Granny Smith apples, but I prefer the red Delicious apples. This is the soup that helped cure a persistent cough I had after months of trying codeine cough syrups, throat-coat teas, and every lozenge on the market.


1/4 cup Chinese almonds (nom hung)
4 to 5 Chinese almonds (buck hung)
3 medium red Delicious apples, unpeeled
8 ounces pork loin, well trimmed
10 Chinese dried figs, rinsed


Rinse almonds in several changes of cold water. Soak almonds in 1/2 cup cold water overnight to soften almonds.

Core apples and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges.

In a 4-quart saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Add pork and return to a boil, skimming any scum that forms. Add the apple wedges, dried figs, almonds and their soaking water. Return to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 3 hours. Serve piping hot (no more than 1-1/2 cups per person).

For more information visit


The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen
Classic Family Recipes for Celebration and Healing

By Grace Young
Published by Simon & Schuster Editions
Hardback, $27.50
Publication date: May 1999
ISBN: 0-684-84739-6
Recipe Reprinted by permission.


The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen



Cookbook Profile Archive


This page created June 1999