Sweet and sour snow fungus and cucumber salad

Sweet and sour snow fungus and cucumber salad

Sweet and sour snow fungus and cucumber salad

Tea Name:

Sweet and sour snow fungus and cucumber salad (with garlic and red dates and goji berries) in a tart delightful mirin vinegrette dressing

Nature:  Slightly warming (due to the garlic, red dates, and vinegar)

Taste: Sweet and sour

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Making snow fungus 2-ways the other day for dinner.  Since I was soaking one for my soup, I decided to economize my efforts and soak another to make a delicious, tart and sweet appetizer.

Why not more snow fungus?  This powerhouse Chinese herb is amazing at nourishing the yin in the lungs and helps retain moisture and collagen!  (YEAH, did someone say COLLAGEN?).  LOL.  Yah, it’s known to be the “poor man’s” version of bird’s nest, which helps to keep the skin firm and glowing.  In the end, snow fungus is just a mushroom.

I always keep a stash of these in my pantry now because they are perfect for soups, stews, salads, desserts, and even stir fried!  Seriously, get experimental and try it!

 

What’s involved?
 Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: No cooking needed

Total time: 15 mins

Serves: 5 cups (or servings)

Ingredients

The sauce:

 

  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of mirin
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons of white sugar
Cooking Instructions
  1. Soak the snow fungus in cool water for at least 10 minutes, ensuring it’s fully covered.  You can check out this video on how to prepare snow fungus.
  2. Wash and dice half a cucumber, keeping the skin on
  3. Dice all the garlic
  4. Once the snow fungus is fully bloomed and relatively soft and squishy, using scissors or a knife, remove the hard orange middle (cut as best as you can as this part is tougher to eat)
  5. Dice the snow fungus into bite-sized pieces
  6. Add in all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl and give it a good mix, ensuring all the sauce covers all parts of the salad
  7. Chill and serve.  Enjoy!

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Double-boiled Apple and Pear Chinese Herbal Soup

Double-boiled Apple and Pear Chinese Herbal Soup

Double-boiled Apple and Pear Chinese Herbal Soup

Soup Name

Double-boiled Apple and Pear Chinese Herbal Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:  

蘋果雪梨燉雞湯 (píng guǒ xuě lí dùn jī tāng)

 

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My second project using the new double-boiler! I found a very simple, but delicious apple and pear Chinese soup with pork and chicken and Chinese herbs. This is a pretty traditional Chinese soup and can be made both with or without double-boiling. The purpose of double-boiling is really to maintain density of the flavours and lock in (better than regular boiling) all that goodness. I’d almost argue that using a thermal pot is similar to double-boiling. Double-boiled soups are normally made in the winter because they can be more potent and provide extra punch and warmth. This soup is awesomely yummy! It is designed to help soothe and moisten the throat and lungs. Most Chinese double-boiled soups use both chicken and pork. Even if you use a silkie chicken, the Chinese will throw in a small piece of pork shank. This makes the soup very sweet and rich in flavours.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 3 hours and 30 minutes in double boiler

Total time: 4 hours 

Serves: 4-6 bowls

Ingredients

To start, soak you herbs in warm water to soften. You can also scrub the Chinese Yam in running water before soaking to rinse off the sulphur that is sometimes used to process it. I just eyeball the amount of each herbs depending on the size of the pot, so it’s literally a handful of this and handful of that.

Prepare your meats by removing as much fat as possible. This means, going with lean pork shank and removing all the skin and fat from the chicken. I tried to get as small as a chicken as possible because my pot isn’t that big – in a previous post, I used chicken drumsticks – which work perfectly because of their size, portions and you get both bone and meat. In a separate pot, blanch the meats in boiling hot water for 5 minutes to remove scum, oil, dirt, blood and any extras that like to make their way out of the bones and meat and into your soup. Once blanched, remove the meat from the soup and set aside to cool and to add to your soup later.

Keep the skin on the apples and snow pears. Firstly, this will help keep them intact and not disintegrate too much into the soup and secondly, it will help you scoop it out when you need to. Plus, the skin has its own unique flavour too – just be sure to rinse really well!
Start boiling your double-boiler (inner pot) outside on the stove with half the volume of water that the container will hold. It’s easier to add more water later if you need to top up. When the water more or less boils, throw all the ingredients into the pot. In my case, I can say OOPS! I was still missing one snow pear and 1 apple and ended up removing the ends of the drumsticks to make it all squeeze in. See, it’s all sticking out!

Cover (if you can) and set to let it boil on medium heat for about 30 minutes. Do note that snow pears actually RELEASE more water as it boils, so the risk that it spills over is almost certain!

After 30 minutes of medium boil, turn off the heat and let the pot cool. Once it cools sufficiently for you to put into its outer double-boiler, add the inner pot into the larger outer pot. You can add water later – but when you add water to the outer pot – add hot water! This will reduce the temperature flux of your inner pot. Fill it with enough water so that you can cover the inner double-boiler and this outer pot water won’t spill into the double-boiler. Cover and set on a low boil (you can still see small bubbles) for about 3 hours.

 

You’ll know your soup is progressing well when you see the pears and apples and colour of the soup turn into a rich golden liquid. Most double-boiled soups some in this golden colour and you’ll know that the flavours are intense and rich.

Once your soup is ready, scoop out whatever you’d like and serve HOT! NO SALT NEEDED! That’s how sweet it is! Some people will like to eat the meats, dipped on soy sauce – by all means, do it! The meat is delicious as well. In my situation, I had leftover fruit, so I simply drank 2 bowls the size of rice bowls, threw in the rest of the fruit and added some more water and continued to double-boil it for another hour until dinner. Enjoy! I certainly did!

Cooking Instructions

  1. Soak all the Chinese herbs in warm water. You can rinse the dried Chinese yams under running water and rub them to remove any sulphur from the drying process.
  2. Prepare the meat by cutting in to large bite-size, removing all skin and fat.
  3. In a separate pot of boiling water, blanch all the meat in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Set aside when finished.
  4. Cut, core, remove seeds and cut the apples and pears into large bite-sizes, keeping on the skin.
  5. Boil you soup water at half capacity in the double-boiler.
  6. When the water boils, add all the ingredients into it and top up with hot water (or boiling water from a kettle).
  7. Boil on medium heat for 30 minutes.
  8. Turn off heat and set to cool enough that you can move the pot into the outer double-boiler pot.
  9. Put inner pot into outer pot and fill with enough water to cover up to at least 3/4 of the inner pot.
  10. Boil on low heat (minimal bubbles) for 3 hours.
  11. Serve and enjoy – soup stuff included!

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American Ginseng Heat Reducing Soup

Soup Name: American Ginseng Heat Reducing Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 旗參海底椰理氣降火湯 (Qí cān hǎi dǐ yē lǐ qì jiàng huǒ tāng)

Introduction:

This soup is great for reducing internal heat where you may have sore throat, canker/cold sores, sore muscles (from the fire in your bones) and overall heatiness in your body.  It’s not actually particular to any season, but more to a condition of the body caused by illness or circumstances.  It is healing for the throat, lungs and respiratory system and eliminates unwanted heat.

What ingredients are required?

chicken (whole), skinned and quartered
2 g of dried American ginseng, sliced
10 g of dried lady bell root
15 g of lucid asparagus root
2 g of mulberry root
15 g of malt
80 g of pearl barley
5 honey dates
30 g dried mussels
1 large piece of dried tangerine peel
20 g of soloman’s seal
2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Rinse and soak for 10 minutes all the herbs (everything except the Chicken)
  2. Boil your soup water
  3. Prepare chicken and in a separate pot of boiling water, blanch your chicken for 5 minutes
  4. Rinse again the herbs in cool water
  5. When soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
  6. Boil on high heat for 30 minutes and reduce to a medium boil for another 1.5 hours
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Helps reduce heatiness and internal fire from the body
  • Excellent for the respiratory system
  • Helps nourish the lungs, assist with cough and soothe the throat (especially sore throats)

Any precautions?

  • It is a slightly cooling soup, so take with precaution when in your first trimester of pregnancy
  • Be sure to purchase herbs from a reputable source

 

Heat Clearing Herbal Tea

Heat Clearing Herbal Tea

Heat Clearing Herbal Tea

Herbal Tea Name: Heat Clearing Herbal Tea

Traditional Chinese Name: 清肝火茶 (qīng gān huǒ chá)

This herbal tea is cooling in nature and sweet to taste.

For more videos on soups and teas, you can follow us on YouTube.

 

The literal translation of “qīng gān huǒ chá” is clear liver heat, however this tea has various uses and is meant for people with extreme heat or fiery feeling in their bodies.  Symptoms includes a dry, sore throat (not from screaming or shouting), dry eyes (so when wind blows against it, there is a stingy sensation), cold sores inside or out of the mouth, a sore and or painful rib feeling and or overall feeling of heatiness.  It was recommended to me by my herbalist when I developed an extremely sore throat with no associated cough (as cooling teas should be avoided if there is a cough).  As ugly as this drink looks or even tastes without added sugar, it helped relieve the heatiness in my body and in a few days, helped “cool” my throat.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 60 mins

Total time: 65 mins

Serves: 4 bowls

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. Boil water
  2. Rinse ingredients in warm water briefly (except rock sugar)
  3. When water boils, add all ingredients together
  4. Boil for an hour on medium heat
  5. Strain ingredients from liquid
  6. Add rock sugar and let dissolve
  7. Cool in fridge or with ice (optional)
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Herbal teas is an amazing category of Chinese drinks that are more purposeful and intentional in its creation and consumption.  They aren’t always medicinal and have some more common ingredients that we always drink because they taste so good!

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Blue Dates Water

Soup Name:  Blue Dates Water

Traditional Chinese Name: 藍枣水(lán zǎo shuǐ)

Introduction:
An easy to make drink that is healing in nature.  It helps blood circulation and improve moisture to the body and air to the lungs.  It is commonly used for headaches, dizziness and fatigue.  Sweet and slightly tangy, it is easy to make and requires minimal ingredients.

What Ingredients are required?

Per serving (1 cup):

How do I prepare it? 

5-6 dried blue dates
2-3 Codonopsis Pilosula Root
2 cups of water

  1. Soak and rinse ingredients in warm water
  2. Start water boiling and once boiling, add ingredients
  3. Boil covered for an hour
  4. Serve and enjoy!

 Any benefits?

  • Excellent warming drink for cold days
  • Good to increase blood circulation and blood flow
  • Ideal for conditions of headaches, migraines, dizziness and fatigue

Any precautions?

  • If using red dates, be sure to pit them first (remove seeds)
  • Not ideal for women who are menstruating as blood circulation may increase blood flow