Saturday, October 24, 2009

4 Soup Recipes - All New!

Here are some soup recipes you can try.

For all soups, remember to blanch the meat first to get rid of its oil and blood. Bring your pot of water to boil before you add the meat and herbs/vegetables. Simmer on high heat for 10 minutes (do not close the pot lid). After 10 minutes of rapid boiling, close the lid and lower heat so that your soup can simmer for 2 hours undisturbed. Lastly add salt for seasoning. Turn off heat and let soup mellow for 30 minutes before serving warm with rice.

Papaya Soup
Nourishes lungs and improves skin texture

1 cob sweet corn
19 gm dried white fungus, soaked and drained
1 papaya, 450 gm
shin of pork, 450 gm

Dang Gui Soup
Expels dampness, nourishes spleen and yin

1/4 slice dried tangerine peel
19gm dang gui
12 gm fox nuts
600gm shin of pork
1 slice ginger

Lotus Root Soup
Promotes blood cell regeneration, whitens skins and improves skin texture

600gm shin of pork
19 gm fox nuts
57 gm dried lotus seeds
38 gm small red beans
450 gm lotus root

Pork Tail Soup
Strengthens bones and sinews, improves skin texture and nourishes kidneys

225gm peanuts
2 pig tails, washed and chopped into chunks
15 gm dried wai san
4 slices ginger
2 stalks spring onion, chopped
12 gm keichi/medlar seeds

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good Business, Bad for Soups

I've missed my soups and yes, my blog!

Business has been really good so much so that work, meetings, hiring, and the whole circle of stuff has taken me away from this blog. I've had guilt pangs!I've felt terribly guilty!

When work gets to me (and I get very stressed sometimes), we eat out although I can rightly say that cooking is therapy for me. When I cook, I get into this 'zone' of self-reflection and peace. I talk to myself sometimes when I cook. It actually makes me happy.

But when I get home too late (sometimes past 8pm), it's sometimes too late to thaw chicken or fish so cooking gets abandoned. I tried making lots of soup and freezing it but nothing tastes like freshly made soup.

When I move to our new place (which hopefully happens soon as I am practically living in an apartment full of cartons, ready for packing!), I have a brand new kitchen for more soup experimentation. Plus I get a brand new refrigerator too. So long to the old faithful clunker of a refrigerator I am using now. It had served me well over the years but I suspect it 'slurps' electricity too. Old fridges tend to do that.

On my list of appliances to buy is a bigger slow cooker so I can make soup more regularly. Right now I use the stove and with a stove, I need to watch the fire to ensure the soup does not boil over.

If you've missed me and my soup recipes, I've missed ya too. I've missed experimenting with soups in my kitchen.

The consolation is, I'll be back with a true vengeance once we move into our new apartment.

Here's a sneak peek at my new white-cream galley kitchen with sparkling white tiles amidst sunshiney yellow.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Porridge with Kei Chi, Wai San & Pork

This is a quick variation of the wai san porridge which I make all the time. One of the reasons is that wai san porridge is a great recipe when you are strapped for time. Second of course is that wai san (I'm talking about fresh wai san in this case) is soothing for the stomach. Basically, you can find wai san (or hwai san or chinese wild yam) in the wet market or supermarket. I've seen it sold in Tesco too sometimes.

It is usually a long, brown root covered in soil. Once you peel off the brown exterior, you will find the inside white like a yam bean /jicama/ mengkuang. Be careful though when slicing the wai san. It emits goo so it gets slimy. I suggest you wash the wai san after you've peeled off the skin and start slicing as soon as you can.

The usual way of getting wai san is from your herbal shop where it is in dried form. It is usually white and dehydrated.

In both forms, either fresh or dried, wai san promotes urination, lowers blood pressure, lowers blood sugar, is anti-aging and good for digestive issues. It's a tonic for the kidney and vaginal infections. I've also seen it used fresh (uncooked) in salads. I don't know how it tastes in a salad but it would be crunchy and bland.

If you cook it in a soup with pork bones, your soup will be delicately sweet and very nourishing.

Anyway, I've written about cooking wai san porridge before so this one is a just a reiteration where I add in kei chi or chinese wolfberries, which are great for the eyes. Particularly if you, like me, work with computers all day! (Another way of getting kei chi or what Americans call 'goji' is just steep a tablespoon of the berries in hot water and drinking the kei chi tea warm.)

So the next time you see fresh wai san in the supermarket, go grab some. You can keep it fresh for almost 2 weeks by wrapping the whole root (dirt and all) with newspaper in the vegetable compartment.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chinese Dumpling Festival

I've been busy doing clients' stuff so my blogs get a bit neglected.Sigh! Such is the life of a person who runs too many blogs.

Even my soup life gets a backseat! (I have been making the same old soups again and again. My recent soup was the Sharkfin Melon Soup. Try it if you haven't done so. It's clear and sweet and just right for warm days.)

But I just wanted to tell you about a brilliant initiative on bak zhang.

By the way, the festival is coming right up. It's on the 5th day od the 5th lunar month.

I just blogged about zhang in my other blog so bear with me while I get my life in order and get back to the groove of things again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chinese Pear Dessert

I got this recipe from The Family Herbal Cookbook by Cecilia Tan. It helps to soothe a heaty system.The pears used in this recipe are of the yellow round variety which when eaten fresh, are terribly juicy.

This recipe needs:

2 chinese pears, peeled, halved and cored
6 to 8 dried red dates, deseeded
some rock sugar
3 bowls water

Put all ingredients into a pot. Simmer for 3 hours. Top up with water if water's reduced. Drink warm.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Three Bean Soup

I have not been making soup much as most days I come home late from work (though work is technically my own business). Well, for one, it means that we're doing really well in terms of getting new web design projects in.

The downside, I get to be home less and hence, less soup-making in the kitchen. I have been thinking of getting myself a bigger slow cooker or crockpot so I can put all the soup ingredients into the pot, switch it on and go off to the office. I can come home to a lovely, warm pot of soup. Currently I have a super tiny crockpot, inherited from my undergrad days. My dad bought it for me so I could make some soups for myself. I still have it but I only use it to boil 'ba zhen tang'. The pot is too small for making soups as it can only take 2 bowls of water.

Anyway, today I made some soup. (Actually the soup is merrily simmering away even as I blog this.) Today being a Sunday and typically Sundays are days where I try to catch up on my reading at home and cook some. I am baking some bread too so while the bread is rising and the soup is simmering, I am here, typing up this post.

So what have I concocted? I tried digging for some herbal soup packets (very handy to have for those emergency days when I don't feel very creative) but I wasn't very inspired by the 2 packets I saw in the fridge.

More digging about and I saw peanuts, black beans and soya beans on the shelf. So I am making a three-bean soup with chicken feet and pork bones and dried red dates.

I love putting chicken feet in soups though they tend to be oily. But, and this is a nice BUT, they contain collagen which is great for smooth skin. Just don't overdo the chicken feet. About 3 pairs will do. They're a nice addition to soups as once they're done, they're really tender and soft. Pig trotters also contain collagen and while they are also unhealthy in large amounts, pig trotters have lots of collagen too.

Ingredients:
3 pairs chicken feet
1 bowl pork bones
1/2 cup peanuts, washed
1/2 cup soya beans, washed
1/2 cup black beans
4-6 dried red dates, remove seeds
1.5 liter water

As always, blanch the chicken feet and pork bones first. Leave aside while you pan-fry the black beans till their skins pop at the seams and reveal the greenish beige insides. (Do not put oil to pan-fry the beans.) Only do this for black beans. The peanuts and soya beans don't need any extra treatment.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add in all ingredients. Let it boil furiously on high heat for 10 minutes. Cover and lower fire to a mere simmer. Simmer for 3 hours. Season to taste with salt. Serve hot.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Dried Scallop & Chicken Soup from Asian Kitchen

Stumbled upon a good blog for Asian recipes recently.

My Asian Kitchen has lots of good stuff to offer, from lovely photos of food and soups to simple recipes. I love simple recipes.

This week, I'm pointing you to the Dried Scallop and Chicken Soup from My Asian Kitchen.

Go on over now!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Pumpkin Soup Chinese Style

This is a chinese style pumpkin soup with a medley of vegetables such as carrot, leek and button mushroom making it truly healthy. This combination of vegetables are also good for nourishing weak lungs.

You will need:

2 fairly large carrots, cut into chunks
some pumpkin, cut into chunks, skin removed
some leek
1/2 can button mushrooms
lean pork (scald pork)
2 slices ginger

Put all the above ingredients into a pot of boiling water. Boil furiously for 10 minutes. Lower heat and simmer for 2 hours. Before serving, season with salt.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Papaya Soup with Medlar Seeds and Ciku Fruit

If you live in Asia, you would know what the sapodilla fruit or ciku fruit looks and tastes like. It is very sweet when ripe but it is also a haven for fruit worms. Many people dislike eating this as they worry they will accidentally eat the tiny white worms too!

Besides eating them as they are, you can make a pretty easy soup with the sapodilla fruit.

This soup helps clear the lungs.

All you need are:

4 ripe ciku, de-skinned
1 medium papaya, peeled and sliced in chunks
2 tablespoons medlar seeds or boxthorn fruit, washed
4 candied dates, wash
lean pork (blanch)

In a pot, bring 1.5 liters to boil. Add all the above ingredients and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Cover pot, lower heat and simmer for 2 hours. Season to taste with 2-3 teaspoons salt. Serve.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Gan Cao with Tea

Gan Cao is a useful herb to have in your home because it is cheap yet packs a punch when it comes to health benefits.

Gan Cao is known as Liquorice which is sold mostly as thinly sliced roots. It is a sweet herb with a neutral character and it is helpful for the heart, lung, spleen and stomach meridians.

It is also said that Gan Cao is a life prolonging herb. How true this is I don't know but I do know that I like the smooth taste of this herb.

As it benefits the heart, lung, spleen and stomach, Gan Cao therefore helps with Qi. It also stops coughing and clears heat, with an ability to detox poisons.

I usually use Gan Cao by steeping one piece (cut up into 3 pieces) in my hot Chinese tea (Ti Kuan Yin or a light mellow tea). This way I can taste the mouth-lingering taste of this herb.

Another way is to pop one slice of the root and chew as if you are chewing gum! Chew for 10 minutes or until you have dehydrated the root of its juices. Spit out the chewed root. (This method is great if you are always coughing).

Monday, March 02, 2009

Cordyceps Soup

This is a simple cordycep soup. Cordyceps or dong chong xia chao is also called caterpillar fungus.

As a sweet and warm herb, it benefits largely the kidney and lung. That's why this soup is great for nourishing the lung and strengthening kidney and of course, helps with people who suffer from coughs.

For this soup, I bought a ready packet of premix herbs from the herbalist for RM4. Inside the packet were dried cordyceps, red dates, medlar seeds, yuk chuk/solomon's seal and Dan Shen (chinese sage).

As usual, bring a pot of water to boil. Again this is roughly 6 fairly large bowls of water or 1.5 liters. When boiling, add blanched pork or chicken together with the herbs and boil on high for 10 minutes, uncovered. Then cover the pot tightly and lower fire completely to a mere bubble and let it simmer for 2 hours. Season to taste after 2 hours with 2 teaspoons good quality salt (I use Himalayan salt). Let it rest
for 30 minutes before serving warm.

This is a deliciously nourishing soup for the whole family. I was having a bout of cough a few days ago and when I made this soup and drank it for 2 days consecutively, my cough is gone!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Have Not Fallen Off

Yes, people, I am still around and I have not fallen off the face of this blog.

I have not been doing much soup stuff as I have been totally immersed in work from the moment we finished our Chinese New Year holidays.

Yes, what recession? I have been up to my ears in work and more work. The good thing is, I'm getting the green light to hire myself an assistant writer. For the company of course. Not for this blog, unfortunately. Otherwise, soup recipes will be a daily occurrence here!

But I will dig up some soup recipes this week. Actually I have been baking bread and making meatloaf and baking butter cakes but I have been so naughty in that I have not made much soup - unless you count instant tom yam soup as soup.

Nope, in my books, instant tom yum soup is just that - instant soup. Not worthy of mention.

I'll be back tomorrow with soup recipes. Hang in there!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chinese New Year Food and Snacks

I've compiled a list of my favourite Chinese New Year food and snacks over at my other blog.

Do check it out!

Kung Hei Fatt Choy to everyone! It's the 4th day of CNY and I'm still on a break. ;-)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Rootdown.us - Website for TCM

I found this website by chance (don't we all sometimes stumble upon good stuff while aimlessly surfing?)

Rootdown.us is a website for TCM enthusiasts.

What I like most is that you can search for a herb in various ways: by meridian, by type of use, by temperature, by taste, by name (latin and non-latin) and lots more.

It really is a community website because you can join and contribute what you know about TCM.

Although right now it seems as if only TCM practitioners can offer tips and advice, I believe it will only be a matter of time before others start chipping in.

Another section that's worth a look is the Classes section where you can learn from TCM practitioners for a fee (in US Dollars). A great concept because interest in this field is growing!

The best part of all is the Acupuncture Chart which looks similar to how a Google Map works. You can learn about Meridians and AcuPoints and even embed the Acupuncture chart into your own blog or website.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dessert for People Suffering from Wind Heat

If you suffer from Wind Heat, here's a dessert you can make to alleviate those symptoms (coughing, colds etc as a result of Wind and Heat).

2 fresh lily bulbs
15 dried red dates, deseeded
1 cup dried lotus seeds
1 cup fresh wai san, diced
rock sugar to taste
1/4 cup mai men dong/Ophiopogon japonicus
1.5 liters water

Bring water to a boil and add in mai men dong, lotus seeds and red dates. Simmer covered for 15 minutes. Then add wai san and lily bulb - simmer again for another 10 minutes. Finally add rock sugar to taste. Turn off fire and serve warm.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tempeh.... A Nutritious and Simple Snack

tempeh, fermented soya bean cake Been travelling up and down the past few weeks so feel kind of guilty that no soup recipes are forthcoming! I have a few drafts but no nice photos so I thought I'd skip that and do a post on 'tempeh'.

To say that I love tempeh (fermented soya bean cake) is an understatement. I love it. I love it because it has a nutty texture with a good bite and lots of goodness too. Soya beans are much adored in Chinese cuisine but this Indonesian/Malay fermented soya bean cake is something most Chinese don't buy - which is unfortunate because it's easy to prepare.

Tempeh is sold in supermarkets and wet markets - either wrapped in traditional banana leaves and newspaper or in plastic. If wrapped in plastic, you can see the mossy growth on the soya bean which can turn off some people.

Tempeh is one of the most nutritious and cheapest sources of protein you can get. It is the kind of food you can buy for RM1 per packet.

But how do you eat tempeh? I slice the tempeh as thinly as I can, douse them well with some turmeric powder (1 tablespoon would do) and 1 tablespoon corn flour with half a teaspoon of fine salt. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

Heat up some oil. Here you can either use a pot of oil (like deep frying) or a shallow pan with a little oil (if you're on a health conscious diet).

Fry the tempeh slices until done. If deep-frying, the tempeh will float up when done. If shallow pan-frying, fry for about 5 to 8 minutes on a medium heat or until it turns a golden colour. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with Linghams chili sauce, preferably.

You can eat it as a snack or you can eat it with rice.

If you have never had tempeh before, this is one of the best ways to get acquainted with this protein heavyweight.

Try it!