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Got fan is a traditional Chinese soup made from plant roots and water. The roots are chopped up or ground into powder before being added to boiling water. There are a variety of plants that can be used in the making of got fan and the consistency of the soup depends on the amount of powder included in the mix. The liquid can have a clear or even pale green tint to it. The soup is known for its health benefits and is sometimes eaten to help clear the digestive tract.
Known as kudzu soup in English, got fan is more of a home cooked meal in China, particularly Hong Kong. It is seldom served in restaurants. Preparing got fan only requires grinding up the root, very often the kudzu root, and then boiling it in water. Sometimes sugar is added to the mixture to sweeten it. Meat and seafood can also be added to the mix, along with the kudzu.
The root is first peeled and thoroughly rinsed. It is then chopped into slices and added to the boiling water along with the desired meat or seafood. The mixture is cooked over a low flame for up to four hours. Salt can be added and the dish is sometimes garnished with parsley or green onions. Adding water during the cooking process is not advised because this could simply water down the soup and dilute the flavor.
Kudzu and other roots used in got fan soup are thought to help with headaches and fevers, as well as inducing sweat. Several animal studies have shown the root to regulate blood pressure and diabetes. It is also thought to be beneficial to those wishing to cut back on alcohol. In several human studies, participants ingesting kudzu capsules were found to reduce their alcohol consumption by up to 50 percent. Even with these promising results, kudzu root should not be consumed in large quantities because it may cause stomach problems to occur.
Chinese cuisine has a very long history, dating back thousands of years. In fact, 4,000 year old noodles made from millet have been found in Northwestern China, and the dynastic clans have been feasting on soups of all kinds, including got fan, for as many years. Though got fan is primarily a Cantonese dish, variations on the dish exist in other styles of Chinese cuisine, and the ingredients in got fan are also used in some Japanese dishes.
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