Spica Prunellae

Ingredient Name: Spica prunellae, prunella spike, prunellae spike, fruit spike, self heal fruit spike

Traditional Chinese Name: 夏枯草 (xià kūcǎo)

What is this?

  • The sun-dried and withered spikes of a perennial herb called Prunella Vulgaris plant (purple in color when bloomed)
  • Cultivated and grown mainly in China
  • Extremely common in heat-reducing drinks

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse in warm water
  • Add directly to soups or drinks
  • For drinks, use a strainer to separate as the plant sometimes disintegrates into little pieces

Where can I buy this?

  • Available in wet marts in Hong Kong
  • Available in herbalist shops
  • Often sold in packages with other ingredients (for ease of boiling)

What is the cost?

  • Very affordable
  • 50 g cost around $5 HKD (large bunch)

Any benefits?

  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • It is a cooling food and assists in reducing heatiness and symptoms associated with heatiness
  • Can aid in phlegm reduction and reduces swelling

Additional Information:

  • Extremely cooling ingredient so menstruating and pregnant women (earlier than 3 months) take caution

References:

Yellow Beans

Ingredient Name: Yellow beans, Peruano beans, canary beans,

Traditional Chinese Name: 黃豆 (Huángdòu) – literal translation of “yellow bean”

What is this?

  • A type of common bean that is yellow (pale yellow or beige), roundish and oval in shape
  • They are usually about 1cm in length and have a thick skin
  • Very common in Asian and Mexican cuisines
  • Used in dishes, stews, desserts and soups

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse in warm water
  • Can be used in dishes or soups cut in larger pieces or as a whole stalk
  • It is usually used in small amounts to enhance flavors

Where can I buy this?

  • Available in wet marts in Hong Kong
  • Also available prepackaged in supermarkets

What is the cost?

  • Very affordable
  • 40g cost around $5 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Excellent source of soluble fibre which can help eliminate cholesterol from the body
  • Low in fat and high in protein
  • High-potassium and low in sodium
  • Helps eliminate excess moisture from the body

Additional Information:

  • For dried beans, be sure to thoroughly soak and cook as uncooked beans can cause indigestion

References:

Fish Maw with Seabed Coconut and Pork Bones

Soup Name: Fish Maw with Seabed Coconut and Pork Bones

Traditional Chinese Name: 海底椰花膠豬骨湯 (hai di ye huā jiāo zhū gǔ tāng)

Introduction:
Fish maw is usually associated with a chicken soup base, but it is just as ideal with pork.  This soup is not naturally that flavorful (as fish maw itself has no taste and neither does dried lily bulb).  The seabed coconut gives it a slightly sweet tinge, but you can consider adding some vegetables (like corn or carrots) to further enhance the flavor.  Salt to taste as necessary – although it’s still refreshing without the salt.

What Ingredients are required?

1 pound of fresh pork bones
5-6 fresh seabed coconut (dried will suffice)
1-2 pieces of dried fish maw
1 piece of dried tangerine peel
20 g of dried lily bulb

1 teaspoon of salt (for marinating pork)
2-3 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Marinate pork in salt overnight (to expel the fire in the pork)
  2. Soak your dried fish maw in warm water (for at least 4 hours)
  3. Boil your soup water
  4. In a separate pot, boil water to blanch your pork
  5. Wash dried lily bulb, tangerine peel and seabed coconut
  6. Cut up the fish maw into edible pieces (optional)
  7. When your soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
  8. Boil on high heat for 30 minutes, reduce to a medium boil for another 2 hours
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Excellent for nourishing the lungs or relieving cough symptoms
  • Ideal source for collagen
  • Soup is neutral and ideal for confinement, pregnancy and children

Any precautions?

  • If boiled too long, the fish maw will slowly disintegrate which naturally thickens the soup

Corn, Pumpkin and Carrots in Pork Broth

Soup Name: Corn, Pumpkin and Carrots in Pork Broth

Traditional Chinese Name: 玉米南瓜蘿蔔湯 (yù mǐ nán guā hóng luóbo tāng)

Introduction:
Another variation of vegetable pork broth.  The beauty of pork broth and natural vegetables is the different types of soups you can make based on seasonality and availability of various vegetables.  I like orange veggies because of their intensity of beta-carotene and it eats like a meal.  Just another great soup that is naturally sweet and perfect for the whole family.

What Ingredients are required?

1 pound of fresh pork shank
3 large carrots
2 fresh corn
1/2 fresh Japanese pumpkin

1 teaspoon of salt (for marinating pork)
2-3 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Marinate pork in salt overnight (to expel the fire in the pork)
  2. Boil your soup water
  3. In a separate pot, boil water to blanch your pork
  4. Wash and chop all ingredients (pumpkin is both OK with or without skin)
  5. When your soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
  6. Boil on high heat for 30 minutes, reduce to a medium boil for another 1 hour
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Soup extremely high in Vitamin A, C, and beta-carotene
  • 100% natural ingredients ideal for children and pregnancies

Any precautions?

  • None!

Lemon Grass

Ingredient Name: Lemon Grass, lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus, wire grass, citronella grass, fever grass etc..

Traditional Chinese Name: 香茅草 (Xiāng máo căo) – literal translation of “fragrant grass”

What is this?

  • A tall, green grass that is native to India and used widely in Thai and Vietnamese cuisines
  • Extremely fragrant with a citrus flavor and is used in soups, teas, stews and curries

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse in warm water
  • Can be used in dishes or soups cut in larger pieces or as a whole stalk
  • It is usually used in small amounts to enhance flavors

Where can I buy this?

  • Available in wet marts in Hong Kong
  • Readily available in markets in South East Asia
  • Not always commonly available in western supermarkets – although it is also available in dried or powdered forms (not as fragrant or strong in flavors)

What is the cost?

  • 1 stalk Hong Kong cost around $1 (extremely affordable)

Any benefits?

  • There is an active ingredient in lemongrass similar to lemon peels called Citral – which aids in digestion
  • Said to also relieve headaches, muscle cramps and spasms

Additional Information:

  • Store in an air tight bag in the fridge for up to 3 weeks
  • Can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months as well\

References: