Mama Tong’s Five Color Soup

Photo from Mama Tong

The premise behind Five Color Soup is that eating foods of different colors is good for your health. Our recipe borrows from Tateishi Katsu’s Miracle Vegetable Soup based on the five elements theory (wood, fire, earth, metal, water). The combination of these colors are said to harmonize the forces of yin and yang, acid & alkaline, especially for cancer patients. This soup has many variations, it could be made vegan easily, so find your special combination of ingredients. This recipe notes some of our favorite combinations.Mama Tong

5 Color Soup from Mama Tong
5 Color Soup from Mama Tong


  • 2 lbs of pork bones, beef bones, or chicken bones (optional)
  • 5 quarts of Water
  • 4″ of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 3/4-1lb of White daikon (metal)
  • 1 lb of Black shiitake (dried, in this case, is more flavorful than fresh)
  • 1/2 lb of Brown gobo or burdock root (wood)
  • 1 lb of Orange carrot (earth)
  • 1 bunch of Green daikon leaves (sold separately from the white daikon at Berkeley Bowl)
  • 4 cobs of Yellow corn (earth)
  • 1/2-1lb Purple Hawaiian Potato


      1. Tie the bones (if using) and ginger together in a cheesecloth to make it easier to remove at the end.
      2. Put the bones and ginger packet in a pot with water and all the cut up vegetables.  Bring to a boil and simmer for two hours minimum.
      3. Remove the cheesecloth. Salt to taste. And serve hot!
      4. Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

        Recipe for Five Color Soup courtesy of Mama Tong and republished with permission.


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