Nature provides…

As I was looking at fresh vegetables at All Fresh, my favorite fruit store in Jakarta, I overheard two women talking about their health issues. My curiosity was piqued by what one of them was saying, “It’s a good thing you told me so I don’t have to buy that —- which costs a lot.” I actually didn’t hear what was referred to but I just assumed that they were talking about a health supplement. Both had lots of fruits already placed inside their carts. I would have wanted to join in the conversation, as I usually would, but I changed my mind because it was already quite late.

I continued on with my shopping and was lucky enough to find “gobo” (burdock root), a recent discovery. It was only by chance that I got to know about this root crop which is popular in Japanese and Chinese cuisines. My chance encounter with gobo was when my husband and I went shopping for veggies at Foodhall, a grocery store in a mall. As we were choosing a radish, a store attendant in charge of replenishing the vegetables section told us that she actually boils radish, including its leaves, with gobo and shiitake mushroom. But unfortunately, she continued, the store had run out of gobo that day. She swears by this concoction that she can extract by boiling the ingredients she mentioned. All her body aches were gone after drinking it.

So the next time I went to the grocery store, the first thing that I looked for was gobo. Then, I bought radish with the leaves and shiitake mushroom. When I came home, I surfed the Internet for a recipe and got what I was looking for on Cookpad: Sup Sayur 5 Unsur  (popularly translated as: “5 Elements Vegetable Soup”) by Mia Shary. That was when I found out that a carrot is also needed.

Based on my interpretation of her recipe, I sliced the radish, gobo (a foot long), and carrot with skin on and sliced two large, fleshy shiitake mushrooms and radish greens/radish tops length wise. The second time I made this, however, I run out of radish greens so the picture below is without it.


I placed all the ingredients in a pot and filled it with water. Mia’s recipe calls for 3 liters of water but my pot can hold only 2.5 liters. At boiling point, I let it stand for few minutes, then let it boil over low heat or simmer for two hours. I let it cool a bit, then I usually drink two glasses a day. This is the third time that I have taken this drink. Hopefully, the pain on my left leg will disappear soon.


I was thinking that I would like to share this discovery with my readers. So I searched for more information regarding this concoction. That was when I realized that this is actually popular in Indonesia. I also found out that there is even a processed version of this soup sold online ranging from around US$ 8 to US$ 17 for 3 sachets with 15 grams each to 15 sachets at 30 grams each.

The online marketplace sellers claim that this health soup or concoction can help cure many diseases including cancer. But we must be wary of claims such as this.  Rigorous medical tests are still needed to be able to prove that this is true.

Also, we must be careful in buying expensive cure-all supplements. Being healthy is supposedly free. Nature provides us with everything we need to be healthy and happy.

I hope that you will have time to prepare and enjoy this sweet-tasting soup soon.

Postscript:  You may eat the vegetables or if you can’t finish everything, you can use the leftovers as fertilizer. I store the vegetables in the refrigerator and eat a little for my meals either mixed with coconut/olive oil and vinegar or put some in my beef or chicken soup.

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