Huai shan(淮山) or shan yao (山药) (Chinese yam - English), is a type of vegetable which is neutral and sweet in nature. As mentioned in this site, Chinese yam is effective in relieving cough but should not be taken for cases with abdominal swelling and pain. Nowadays, fresh Chinese yam can be easily obtained in the wet market and supermarket. It can be used in cooking a variety of recipes ie porridge and soup. My son has been eating Chinese yam since small.
This recipe is adapted from Hawkers' Fair Best Of All Time Favourite (double-boiled fresh huaishan and spare ribs soup).
300g spare ribs
200g fresh huai shan(鲜淮山） (peeled and cut into chunks)
50g carrot (chunks)
50g yu zhu (玉竹）
1 tbsp gou zi （枸子)
12-15 red dates (I added in these dates to increase the sweetness of the soup)
2 tbsp white rice wine
Salt to taste
1. Blanch spare ribs, huai shan, yuk zhu, carrot, red dates and gou zi in boiling water for a short while. Dish and drain.
2. Put all ingredients and boiling water into a double-boiler and double-boil at medium heat for 2 hours. Add in seasoning and serve hot.
If fresh huai shan is not available, can substitute 100g dried huai shan.
Methods (Normal boiling - I used this method):
1. Blanch spare ribs in boiling water for a while. Dish and set aside.
2. Bring water to boiling, add in spare ribs, huai san, yuk zhu, carrot and red dates. Bring the soup to boiling again and then reduce the heat to small.
3. Boil for 2 hours. Towards the end, put in gou zi and boil for another 5 mins. Turn off the heat.
4. Season with salt and white rice wine. Serve.
Other useful references: