Edible Bird's Nest / Yan Wo (燕窩)

Edible Bird Nest by Dewi Eliza Pantja

Bird's nestAccording to Chinese historians, the bird nest is one of the most precious tonic foods in China which made up from saliva of birds called Swiflet. It has been popular since the Tang Dynasty, AD 618-907 and slowly spread around the world. Swiftlet’s nest, also known as “Yan Wo (燕窩)” in Chinese, and can be found commonly in the Southeast Asian regions such as China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, India, and Malaysia.

A bowl of Swiftlet’s nest can actually burst one’s pocket but, it sure worth the price since it is purchased and weight against the fineness, size, flavor, dryness and a good swelling capacity. Moreover, it has nutritious ingredients which can actually bring several benefits to our body. It can be consumed by everyone without age border. Swiftlet’s nests mainly contains carbohydrates (30%), proteins (5%), amino acids and mineral salts.

Glycoproteins are one of the major ingredients of Swiftlet’s nest. From the carbohydrates value, 9% of it contains sialic acid which is believed to be beneficial to neurological and intellectual systems in infants. As for amino acids; aspartic acid, glutamic acid, praline, threonine, and valine can be found in it. These amino acids are able to reinforce the immune system and help in repairing cells and create new cells in the body. There are more types of amino acids which are still undergoing research which may help to cure cancers and stroke. Swiftlet’s nest is also really rich in mineral salts especially sodium and calcium since the saliva is mainly found in limestone caves. Azidothymidine which often found in HIV treatment drugs can also be found in it. These benefits are not all. There are more other benefits by consuming bird nest, such as; Strengthen lungs, maintain our health, and it has the ability to rejuvenate, restore youthfulness and refine the skin by ensuring the glowing and wrinkle-free complexion.

[Editor's Note: Many of the properties thought to be due to bird's nest have not been thoroughly tested in a controlled scientific study. Certainly, it does have nutrients, but most (if not all) of these can be found in other healthy soups. Culturally, it is a fascinating, exotic, and interesting food! ---J. Learn]

There are some ways we can serve the bird nest. Bird nest soup is one of the most common soups consumed. It tastes sweet since it includes rock sugars. Some other herbs such as Ginseng, Luo Han Guo, or Cordyceps sinensis (Dong Chong Xia Cao) can be included to make the soup even nutritious

How to prepare Bird Nest Soup and Bird Nest soup with mushroom

Bird Nest SoupEdible Bird's Nest / Yan Wo (燕窩) - Nutrition for the World

Ingredients :

2 ounces of Bird’s nest
6 tablespoons of crushed rock sugar
2 cups of water

Optional Ingredients:

1 small Ginsengs
3-5 Cordyceps sinensis
1 Luo Han Guo

Method :

1. Soak the Bird’s nest overnight until it softens.
2. Pick the loose feathers and dirt found in the nest and rinse well.
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil and simmer the bird's nests for about 5 minutes.
  2. Again rinse well and squeeze dry.
  3. Place the bird's nest in the pot and add 2 cups of water.
  4. Bring to a boil and simmer until the bird's nest are quite soft.
  5. Add the rock sugar, stirring to dissolve.
  6. Add the optional ingredients
  7. Cook for 2.5 hours with small heat
  8. After it cooked, let it cool for 5-10 mins
  9. Serve the soup hot/cool.

Bird’s Nest soup with Mushroom
bird nest with mushroom

Ingredients :

  • 8 oz. birds' nests
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger root, chopped
  • 4 oz. cooked chicken, cubed
  • 4 oz. button mushrooms, quartered
  • 8 oz. canned quail eggs, drained
  • 7 ½ cups chicken stock
Method :

  1. Soak the birds' nest in water for 5 minutes, then drain.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan.
  3. Add the ginger and fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in the chicken, mushrooms, eggs and stock and bring to boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and add birds' nests/ Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve at once in bowls.

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