Great Dish for Diabetics

 Bitter melon black bean dish.
This bitter melon dish is great for people with diabetes and the rest of us who would like to have clear, problem-free skin. It detoxed the body as well as improved insulin sensitivity and fasting blood glucose level. Vitamin C comprises over fifty percent of total vitamins, which contributes to strengthened immunity, collagen structure and better skin.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

* 20 – 25 gm. young bitter melon
* 15 gm. Sliced lean meat (chicken/pork)
* 1 tbsp. salted cooked black soy beans (Tau see)
* 1 tbsp. sweet soy sauce
* 1 tsp. fish sauce
* 1 tsp. chopped shallot & garlic
* 9 to 11 tbsp. water

METHOD

1. Wash bitter melon clean. Cut open bitter melon lengthwise.

2. Scoop out and discard the spongy white pulp and arils (if any) inside.

3. Cut bitter melon either lengthwise into sticks or slice diagonally.

4. Heat up a tablespoon of oil.

5. Add in chopped shallot and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant at medium heat. Add in meat and stir fry till it is half cooked.

6. Add in black bean, soy sauce, fish sauce and water. Mix ingredients.

7. When water boiled, add in bitter melon.

8. Cover ingredients to simmer for about 5 minutes.

9. Remove lid and turn over ingredients. Allow to simmer, occasionally turning over ingredients until bitter melon has softened to your liking. (The cooking time depend on whether you like the bitter melon quite raw or well-cooked as well as thickness of the melon. Add a little water if you like it softer and cook longer).

More about the medicinal use of Bitter Melon:
BITTER MELON: DETOXIFY AND IMPROVE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR TOLERANCE – (New window)

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Healthy Salmon Cloud-ear Vegetables

Salmon cloud-ear vegetables

Here’s a quick and easy steamed salmon dish recipe to banish cholesterol and lower blood sugar. Omega-3 oil in salmon is heart-friendly, lowering blood pressure and triglyceride levels.The Chinese think highly of cloud-ear fungus (Auricularia polytricha) for improving ‘blood fluidity’ by mopping up fats, breaking up clots in the blood and expelling them out of the body through defecation. I like cloud-ear because its crunchiness contrasts with the flesh of salmon and compliments vegetables in this dish. Moreover, bland cloud-ear soaks up the sauce, making eating this dish tastier.

In Scientific jargon, cloud-ear is hypoglycemic, anticoagulant and cholesterol lowering. Taken as a whole, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 in this dish cleanses us internally, promote beautiful skin, prevent cancer and promote cardiovascular and metabolic health.

This recipe is great for the health-conscious, people with diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

* 1 slice salmon
* 10pcs. French beans
* 1 ¼ inch carrot or a baby carrot
* 2 to 3 pieces dried black cloud-ear fungus
* A few thin slices of ginger
* Tapioca or corn starch (optional)

SAUCE INGREDIENTS
*2 tsp. oyster sauce
* 2tbsp. fish sauce or soy sauce
* 5 to 7 tbsp. water
* 1 tsp. chopped shallots
* ½ tsp. sugar (optional)
* A few drops fragrant black sesame oil (optional)

METHOD

1. If French beans are too long, cut diagonally into shorter lengths.

2. Peel and cut carrots into sticks.

PREPARING CLOUD-EAR FUNGUS:

3. Soak cloud-ear fungus until saturated with water (about half an hour). Then, wash the fungus.
[The cloud-ear will soften and swell to several times its original size]

4. Snip off the hard part of the fungus that was attached to the tree with scissors. Cut cloud-ear into smaller sizes.

PREPARING SALMON (optional):

5. Coat the defrosted salmon with a thin layer of starch powder.

6. Heat up frying pan and coat bottom of pan with a little oil.

7. Sear both sides of salmon slightly until golden color. Transfer to a heat-proof dish.

PREPARING SAUCE:

8. Stir-fry shallots in a little oil until fragrant in a pan.

9. Add in rest of ingredients except sesame oil.

10. Mix until sugar has dissolved and turn off heat.

PREPARING THE DISH:

1. Arrange a few slices of ginger on the salmon in the steaming dish.

2. Arrange fungus and vegetables on both sides of salmon.

3. Pour sauce over salmon and vegetables.

4. Put prepared dish into a pre-heated steamer. Close cover.

5. Steam for about 10 minutes or until flesh flakes off the salmon easily. [If you did not sear fish, the flesh will turn opaque white and flake easily when cooked.]

6. Remove dish from steamer and add a few drops of sesame oil to sauce. Remove ginger slices if desired.

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Aromatic Vegetable Stew

Healthy Vegetable stew

After indulging in many delectable traditional festive foods many of which are meats smothered in rich, thick sauces, I decided to cleanse my system with a one dish meal. I also wanted something tasty and healthy that entices the senses and satisfies my taste buds. looking through my condiments, I picked nam yee (soy bean curd fermented with red yeast rice), oyster sauce, and soy sauce for taste and added star anise, cinnamon bark, ginger and lemongrass to provide the aroma. Then, I chose vegetables and noodle that would soak up and enhance the tasty sauce.Spices and vegetables in this recipe break up cholesterol. Their Fiber soaks up fat and toxins, ushers them out of the body with east. Some of the spices improve circulation, digestion, immune system and glucose sensitivity by insulin.

The Chinese had used black mushroom therapeutically to treat high cholesterol, atherosclerosis and as a tonic to benefit overall health. Traditional Japanese medicine employs black mushrooms to treat parasites, cardiovascular disorders and exhaustion.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS 1
• 1 cube nam yee
• 1 tbsp. Oyster sauce
• 2 tbsp. soy sauce
• 1 tsp sugar
• 1 star anise
• ¾ inch cinnamon bark
• ¾ inch ginger (chopped)
• 1 large stalk of fresh lemon grass (about 7 inches from the base)
• 1 shallot (chopped)
• 800 ml soup stock

INGREDIENTS 2
• 1 small radish (peeled)
• 1 large carrot (peeled)
• 10 to 12 medium size dried black or fragrant mushroom
• 1 onion (peeled)

INGREDIENTS 3
• Vercimilli (rice noodle) or yee mee (a deep fried absorbent noodle)
METHOD

1. Soak dried mushroom in water until saturated and soft. Wash mushroom two times, scraping their underside to remove any spores. Cut off and discard stalks. Cut any big mushroom into half.

2. Cut lemongrass shorter into 3 pieces. Bruise lemon grass with side of broad knife or other heavy object.

3. Slice onion into thin slices and the other vegetables into thick slices.

4. Heat up soup stock in a pot.

5. Mix a tablespoon of water with nam yee into a watery paste in a small bowl.

6. Heat up a little oil in sauté pan at medium high heat. When oil is hot, sauté ginger and shallot until fragrant. Add in onion slices and nam yee paste and sauté until onion is soft.

7. Pour ingredients from sauté pan as well as all ingredients from ‘ingredients 1 list as well as mushrooms into soup stock.

8. Lower heat to simmer for 1½ hours when the soup stock boils.

9. Add in remaining vegetables. Turn up heat until stock boils. Boil for about 10 minutes and lower heat to simmer vegetables, occasionally turning over ingredients so that those vegetables on top go to bottom to soak in the tasty stock. When vegetables have softened to your liking, Taste stock. Add more soy sauce if you wish it to be saltier.

10. Turn up heat to medium high. Add in pepper and noodles and cover with lid. Boil until noodles softened. Mix ingredients.

11. Turn off heat. Let noodles and vegetables soak in the sauce for several hours to attain maximum flavor.


COMMENT

The stew is quite watery but don’t worry, the dry, absorbent noodle can soak up a lot of sauce.

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Healthy Black Vinegar Sauce for Meat

black vinegar sauce meat
Black vinegar or ‘kurozu’ in Japanese is used in China and Japan as both condiment and as a health tonic to combat high cholesterol, hypertension and reduce blood glucose (sugar).The full, rich flavor of black vinegar makes it a tasty choice for dipping sauces, salad dressings, stews and braised dishes.

You can use the sauce recipe below for meats such as pork, chicken, fish or other exotic meats that are firm and can be seared yet do not disintegrate easily when braised.

RECIPE

Ingredients

• 500 grams meat, cut into bite-size pieces
• 1 tablespoon mirin (a rice wine)
• ½ tablespoon soy sauce
• ½ tablespoon ginger juice, squeezed from grated ginger
• ¼ cup starch of tapioca / corn / potato

SAUCE INGREDIENTS

• 1 tablespoons mirin
• 3 tablespoons black vinegar
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1/3 cup water
• 2 tablespoons unrefined sugar or to taste
• 1 shallot (thinly sliced)
• ¾ inch ginger (thinly sliced)

GARNISH

Sliced cucumber or zucchini
METHOD

1. Marinate the meat with 1 tablespoon of mirin, soy sauce and ginger juice for 1 hour. Mix ingredients to ensure the meat is evenly coated with seasoning.
2. After marinate is done, add 1bowl of oil to a heavy bottomed pot or wok and preheat over medium high heat. Prepare a wire rack by lining it with several layers of paper towels.
3. Put the starch in a small bowl, and roll each piece of meat in it to give each piece an even coating of starch.
4. Fry the meat in batches using medium heat (depending on how big your pot is) until lightly browned and cooked through. Do not overcrowd the pot with meat. Transfer the fried meat to the paper towel lined rack.
5. Oil a pan or wok and heat it up. Sauté shallot and ginger slices until fragrant.
6. Add the remaining mirin along with black vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Turn the burner to medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
7. Add the meat into the black vinegar sauce, and simmer until the sauce is very thick and syrupy and coats each piece of meat, rather than the pan.
8. Transfer meat to a plate. Line edge of plate with slices of raw cucumber or zucchini.


COMMENT

The raw, cool, crunchy vegetable complements the tangy meat well. In energetic terms, the cooling ‘yin’ vegetable counterbalances the warming nature of the ‘yang’ meat and hot method of cooking.


Benefits of Black Vinegar

• In the Far East, people drink Black vinegar to prevent cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure, blood vessel disease, heart disease and stroke.

• Black vinegar is high in antioxidants, which can protect the body from oxidative damage due to free radicals. Damage wreaked by free radicals can lead to premature aging and cancer.

• A study found vinegar lowers blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity in Type 2 Diabetes.

• Aid weight loss by inducing a sense of fullness (satiety).

• Being acidic, it dissolves minerals and help in their absorption.

• Its antimicrobial property is due to acetic and other acids.
Citric acid cycle:
Black vinegar is high in acetic acid. Acetic acid is part of the citric acid cycle, a process that involves the cellular metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins to produce energy through a series of biochemical reactions. The energy is used to fuel many bodily processes, including digestion, muscle contraction of the stomach, intestines, heart, lungs etc.

The citric acid cycle is called a ‘cycle’ because what is broken down eventually is rebuilt and so comes full cycle. So let’s see black vinegar in action in this recipe:

Black vinegar breaks down protein and fats in meat into amino acids and fatty acids. In the citric acid cycle, starch and sugar become glucose and are used as energy by cells. Excess are stored as fats (gasp!). Amino acids are transformed into protein to make tissues, collagen, hormones and enzymes…etc. fatty acids become fats again, including cholesterol (gasp!). Hold on, don’t freak out yet! Your cell membrane needs cholesterol for strength and integrity.

A Japanese study found that dietary acetic acid in vinegar reduced serum total cholesterol and triacylglycerol in rats fed a cholesterol-rich diet. No wonder the Chinese and Japanese use black vinegar as a tonic against cardiovascular disease.


Recipes using Black Vinegar

Want collagen for beautiful skin and strong, healthy joints? Try this ‘Black vinegar trotter stew’:-
Black vinegar trotter stew – (New window)

The Black Sesame Dressing in the ‘Sesame-seaweed Roll’ recipe also uses black vinegar:-
Sesame-seaweed Roll – (New window)

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Red Bean-Lily Bulb Soup the Cantonese Way

Red Bean-Lily Bulb Soup

Sweet red bean (adzuki or Aduki bean) soup is a popular dessert among the Chinese. One can find it hawked along the streets and served at grand Chinese banquets. I enjoy the distinctive aroma of red bean enhanced by the refreshing fragrance of chen pi (dried mandarin orange peel) wafting from a pot of boiling red bean soup. This is a family recipe of ‘Homg dou sar’ (Cantonese red bean soup). It is a slightly thick, silky smooth and creamy soup contrasted with steamed lily bulb to delight your taste buds and tickle your tongue and senses.

The secret to the silky, smooth creaminess is the addition of ‘alkali-glutinous-rice dumpling’ that breakdown the protein in Hong Dou. Alkali glutinous rice dumpling is another distinctive Cantonese dumpling. My youngest aunt always makes it for the Duanwu dragon boat festival and distributed her lovingly-made delicacy to the extended family. My family always set aside a few of these dumplings specifically to make red bean soup. The dumplings are cut into tiny pieces and dried thoroughly in the sun for future use.

This detoxifying soup is good for people who feel fatigued, have poor digestion and mucous due to digestive problems.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

• 1 teacup red beans

• 6 teacups hot water

• 1/3 piece Chen pi (dried mandarin peel) cut into smaller pieces

• 4 tablespoonful of dried lily bulbs

• 2 to 3 tablespoonful of dried alkali glutinous rice

• Sugar to taste

METHOD
1. Wash red bean clean and soak overnight.

2. Wash and soak dried lily bulbs for 30 mins. or until fully saturated with water before boiling.

3. Add soaked red beans, alkali glutinous rice, chen pi, about half of soaked lily bulb into hot water in a slow cooker and boil for 3 to 4 hours or until starchy ingredients have dissolved.

4. You can either steam the remainder of soaked lily bulbs in a steamer placed over the slow cooker until it is soft or add them into the red bean soup at the last 45 minutes of boiling together with sugar. (I used palm sugar cut into cubes.)

5. The soup is ready when it has thickened and the red beans, glutinous rice and lily bulbs added in at start of boiling have dissolved. The lily bulbs added in later should remain intact. Stir the mixture.


Benefits & Therapeutic properties

Centuries ago, Hippocrates advised, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”. The Chinese also follow this food philosophy. In TCM, most food (including plain water) has therapeutic value when used appropriately.

RED BEAN (Vigna angularis Phaseolus)
2 red beans [left] Red bean (Hong Dou) and [right] small red bean (Chi Xiao Dou) are two different species of beans. Red bean is more spherical whereas small red bean is elongated.
Hong Dou is eaten as food with therapeutic value whereas Chi Xiao Dou is included in herbal formulations as medicine.


In some parts of China, nursing mothers consume red beans. Let’s examine the goodness locked in the beans:

It is an excellent source of folic acid and protein. Folic acid plays a large role in cell growth and development, as well as tissue formation. Proteins do most of the work in cells and are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs. It is needed to make hormones and enzyme. Red bean is also a good source of iron, magnesium, Zinc and potassium as well as fiber. It is a fairly good source of several B Vitamins. These nutrients are needed for production of energy, protein and red blood cells; normal nerve, muscle and heart function; healthy teeth, bones and immune system as well as hundreds of bodily processes such as detoxification, glucose and blood pressure control etc.

From TCM perspective, Hong Dou replenish blood, dispel dampness by promoting diuresis, strengthen the digestive process, reduce swelling and eliminate toxins. It is recommended for dealing with rashes, pimples and boils as well as dampness such as water-retention.

If you have edema (water retention), add a teaspoon of small red bean (Chi Xiao Dou) because it is a more powerful diuretic than red bean (Hong Dou).

CHEN PI (DRIED AGED MANDARIN ORANGE PEEL)

TCM consider dampness such as water retention and excessive white phlegm or mucous is associated with Kidney Yang deficiency, Spleen Yang deficiency, Blood stagnation and Qi stagnation leading to sluggish circulation being unable to circulate liquid effectively. Chen pi is used to invigorate circulation and dispel phlegm and water retention. It also invigorates digestion.

LILY BULB

Lily bulb (Bai He) is calming making it suitable for irritability and restiveness, clears internal heat and treats cough with large amount of phlegm. The herb helps with insomnia and heart palpitations. It acts on the Lung and Heart meridians.

GLUTINOUS RICE

It acts on the spleen and stomach meridians. These two meridians are involved in the digestive system as well as circulatory system. They dominate the limbs, sending Qi (energy or life force) and Blood to the arms and legs, warming them and supporting their function.

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