White Kidney Beans

Ingredient Name: White kidney beans, white beans

Traditional Chinese Name: 菜豆(cài dòu)

What is this?

  • A bean which is white in color and in the shape of a kidney (thus the name kidney bean)
  • It is a larger species of the white beans group and is not as commonly used in Chinese cuisine (whereas it is an integral part of Indian cuisine)
  • Raw kidney beans are toxic and must be boiled for at least 10 minutes (even if used in slow cooking)
  • It is a very starchy bean with a white shiny, smooth exterior and absorbs the flavor of whatever you’re cooking
  • Available in both a dried or canned version for consumption

How do I prepare it?

  • Soak in water for at least 5 hours before usage (and discard soaked water)
  • Boil in water at least 100 °C for at least 10 minutes before consumption

Where can I buy this?

  • This is available in most supermarkets (Asian and Western)

What is the cost

  • Very affordable

Any benefits?

  • Excellent source of soluble & insoluble dietary fibre which can help eliminate cholesterol from the body
  • Low in fat and high in protein
  • Kidney beans are an excellent source of folate and manganese
  • They also help prevent blood sugar levels from rising too quickly after a meal (which makes it an ideal food for diabetics)
  • Helps reduce heart attack risk

Any precautions?

  • Soak in water for at least 5 hours before usage (and discard soaked water) – rinse beans with fresh water before usage
  • Boil in water at least 100 °C for at least 10 minutes before consumption as raw/uncooked red kidney beans are toxic

Additional Information

  • White kidney beans stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place for up to a year
  • Cooked white kidney beans will store for up to 3 days in the fridge in a sealed container

Red Kidney Beans

Ingredient Name: Red kidney beans, red beans

Traditional Chinese Name: 菜豆(cài dòu)

What is this?

  • A bean which is red in color (dark red) and in the shape of a kidney (thus the name kidney bean)
  • It is a larger species of the red beans group and is not as commonly used in Chinese cuisine (whereas it is an integral part of Indian cuisine)
  • Raw kidney beans are toxic and must be boiled for at least 10 minutes (even if used in slow cooking)
  • It is a very starchy bean with a red shiny, smooth exterior and absorbs the flavor of whatever you’re cooking
  • Available in both a dried or canned version for consumption

How do I prepare it?

  • Soak in water for at least 5 hours before usage (and discard soaked water)
  • Boil in water at least 100 °C for at least 10 minutes before consumption

Where can I buy this?

  • This is available in most supermarkets (Asian and Western)

What is the cost

  • Very affordable

Any benefits?

  • Excellent source of soluble & insoluble dietary fibre which can help eliminate cholesterol from the body
  • Low in fat and high in protein
  • Kidney beans are an excellent source of folate and manganese
  • They also help prevent blood sugar levels from rising too quickly after a meal (which makes it an ideal food for diabetics)
  • Helps reduce heart attack risk

Any precautions?

  • Soak in water for at least 5 hours before usage (and discard soaked water) – rinse beans with fresh water before usage
  • Boil in water at least 100 °C for at least 10 minutes before consumption as raw/uncooked red kidney beans are toxic

Additional Information

  • Red kidney beans stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place for up to a year
  • Cooked red kidney beans will store for up to 3 days in the fridge in a sealed container

Another species of red bean (also known as multi-colored kidney bean)

Kimchi, Tofu and Beef Soup

Kimchi, Tofu and Beef Soup

Soup Name: Kimchi, Tofu and Beef Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 泡菜豆腐牛肉湯 (pàocài dòu fu niú ròu tāng)

Introduction:

This is a Korean dish that I love eating.  I say eat because of the volume of ingredients, it turns into a stew that packs a bunch (in terms of spiciness) and nutrients.  The ingredients are readily available and it’s not your traditional old fire soups because you can make this in about half an hour.  And of course, it’s flexible in that you can add your favorite ingredients to make it more wholesome.  My husband and I literally had this for dinner (only), the kids of course, couldn’t take the spiciness, so they didn’t have any.  You can serve this with rice, rice noodles, noodles or add any other starches to really make it filling.

What Ingredients are required?

Soup Ingredients

20 fresh clams
1 whole fresh radish, cubed
1 tablespoon of hot chili oil
1 pound of fresh beef slices
3 cloves of fresh garlic, diced
1 fresh onion, sliced
380g of kimchi
1/2 head of fresh cabbage, sliced
1 L of chicken broth
2-3 L of water
1 pack of fresh tofu, chunked
1 cup of fresh green onions, diced
1 fresh egg, per serving (optional)

Beef Marinade

1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1 tablespoon of hot chili oil
1 teaspoon of chili powder (optional)

How do I prepare it?

  1. Pre-marinade the beef with the soy sauce, cornstarch, chili oil and chili powder at least 1 hour before cooking.  Cover and set aside in the fridge.
  2. In a pot of boiling water, add the fresh clams (already soaking in fresh water).  Once the clams open, remove immediately from the water and set aside.
  3. Wash, peel and cube the radish.  You can re-use the clam water to boil the radish until they are soft (use a chopstick to see if you can smoothly poke through a radish, if so, it’s sufficiently soft).
  4. In a large pot on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of hot chili oil, garlic and fry beef until half-cooked.  Remove from pot.
  5. In the same large pot, fry onions until cooked.  Add half-cooked beef  and kimchi.  Continue to cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  6. Add cabbage to the beef and cook for another 5 minutes on medium heat, while continuously stirring.
  7. Pour in chicken broth and water to the mixture and turn on high heat.  Boil on high for 10 minutes.
  8. When ready to serve, add in tofu, cooked clams and green onions.  Boil together for another 2-3 minutes.
  9. As optional, you can add 1 fresh egg (whole) into the soup and scoop out along with soup per serving.  Be careful not to pop the egg and for plating, place on top, in the middle of the soup.
  10. Enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Soup is versatile in that you can add other ingredients such as chicken, pork, dumplings, rice noodles, and other leafy greens
  • A quick boil soup that is easy to make
  • Serves as a meal
  • Helps keep the body warm and promote blood circulation
  • Soup is low in fat and high in proteins
  • Excellent source of dietary fibers

Any precautions?

  • The soup spiciness may be harm or upset sensitive stomachs (you can vary the kimchi, hot chili oil or chili powder amounts as desired)
  • If spiciness is a concern, you can also rinse the kimchi in cold water before using in soups

Step 4: Fresh beef slices fried with garlic

Step 5:  Fried onions with kimchi

Step 8:  Add tofu to soup (with cooked clams) before serving

Kimchi

Ingredient Name: Kimchi, kimchee, kim chee, gimche

Chinese Name: 泡菜 (pàocài), 김치 (kimchi in Korean)

I don’t tolerate spicy foods very well, but kimchi is one of those foods that you eat and can’t seem to get enough of it, even when my mouth is on fire.  The reason is because I love cabbage and I especially love soft cabbage that is sour – the spicy is just an extra added bonus.  Kimchi is a very diverse food in that you can use it in soups, stews, rice, as an appetizer, dishes and various other cuisine usages.  It is also readily available as the fermented goodie that it is in supermarkets so when you’re short of food to serve with rice, you just pop open that kimchi and that’s your meal.

What is this?
  • Fermented vegetables (either napa cabbage, radish, green onions or cucumbers) originated from Korea
  • There are many variations of kimchi (spiciness, usage, ingredients)
  • Often used as a side dish, in stews, soups, and other dishes
  • Red chili flakes are the most common ingredient to ferment the dish and give it heat
  • There is a non-spicy version of kimchi available (that is white)

How do I prepare it?

  • Use directly from the package (or jar)
  • If you find it too spicy, rinse quickly in a bowl of warm water

Where can I buy this?

  • Available in most western supermarkets

What is the cost?

  • Kimchi is relatively affordable

Any benefits?

  • High in dietary fiber and low in calories
  • 1 serving of Kimchi meets 80% of the recommended daily Vitamin C and Carotene in take
  • Aids in digestion and helps open the appetite
  • Excellent source of Vitamin A, B’s, Iron and Calcium

Any precautions?

  • The spiciness of kimchi may irritate sensitive stomachs
  • When taking kimchi out of a kimchi jar, use clean utensils to avoid contaminating the source (for re-use if it can’t be eaten all)

Clams (Fresh)

Ingredient Name: Clams, fresh clams

Chinese Name: 蛤 (há)

Clams are not commonly found in the Chinese repertoire for soups, but it is commonly found in Chinese dishes.  Most immediately, I can think of clams fried in black bean sauce, which is delicious!   Regardless, clams are used in other Asian type soups and is versatile, easy to cook (just not necessarily the easiest to keep alive) and great for kids to play with before they are cooked.  Call is Science exploration at home.

What is this?
  • A type of fresh water mussel that has two hard shells to keep it protected
  • The usually range from different sizes depending on the type and breed of clam
  • Inside the clam meat is beige/white in color and soft
  • The outer shell of the clam almost looks like rocks with various shades from white, yellow, brown to gray
  • Most clam species are edible, however smaller ones and some species are considered inedible

How do I prepare it?

  • When purchased fresh from your wet mart or supermarket, be sure to store in a cool place while taking them home (avoid direct sunlight without having the clams in water)
  • When you get home, immediately put them in cool fresh water (and they can keep like this for 1-2 days) – although clams are highly perishable and should be eaten as soon as possible
  • To cook, start boiling water, once the water boils – add the clams in and in time they will open
  • Once they open, remove from the boiling water immediately and set aside
  • Discard unopened clams (as they are dead) – I wouldn’t recommended eating the dead ones

Where can I buy this?

  • Available in fresh marts in Hong Kong
  • Also available in supermarkets

What is the cost?

  • I bought 20 clams (picture above) for $13 HKD
  • They vary in price depending on season, availability, type, breed and size

Any benefits?

  • Low in fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Excellent source of phosphorous (for bones and teeth)
  • High protein value (as compared to red meat) with less calories
  • Clams are also an excellent source of potassium and iron

Any precautions?

  • Discard any unopened clams and avoid consumption
  • It is not recommended to eat clams raw (as they sometimes contain a bacteria called Vibrio vulnificus (which can lead to serious illness in people with underlying medical problems)
  • Consume in moderation as they do contain cholesterol

Any substitutes?

  • For soups, fresh mussels can also suffice (smaller ones)
  • Canned clams are also ideal if fresh clams aren’t available

Opened cooked clams, ready for soups