Mushroom Medley with Cabbage and Black Moss Stew

Mushroom Medley with Cabbage and Black Moss Stew

Mushroom Medley with Cabbage and Black Moss Stew

Soup Name:

Mushroom Medley with Cabbage and Black Moss Stew

Chinese Name:

冬菇髮菜 (dōng gū fa cai)

This dish is neutral in nature.

 

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

In an earlier video on “How to use mushrooms in Chinese cooking” I spoke of a fear of using mushrooms.  So what better way to tackle this than to make a mushroom medley (which my hubby actually loves) with black moss (which I was also scared to use).  However, honestly, this dish is SUPER EASY and tasty!  It was amazing served with rice!

You’ll notice that a lot of these are made from dried ingredients, which means it’s pretty easy to use.  You just need a bit of planning to pre-soak, but all of these have good soak life and don’t disintegrate so you can soak in the morning to use for evening or lunch!

You can follow a video on “How to use and prepare mushrooms in Chinese cooking“.

What’s involved?

Prep time: at least 2 hours to soak, 15 mins prep

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 45 mins

Serves: A whole happy family!

Ingredients

 

Cooking Instructions
  1. Wash in cool water and pre-soak your dried mushrooms in separate bowls.  Use just enough water to cover them.  The longer mushrooms will absorb most of the water since expand quite a bit, but not the shiitake mushrooms so much.
  2. Soak the black moss in water, ensuring it’s fully covered.  Black moss doesn’t expand that much.
  3. Soak the dried optional tangerine peel
  4. When the mushrooms are fully hydrated, in your cooking pan, add some oil and on medium heat, gently brown the ginger and garlic (more to bring out the flavours into the oil)
  5. Pan fry the shiitake mushrooms first, browning both sides
  6. Once that’s fragrant and looking lovely, you can drop in the whole bowl of the other mushrooms, including the water they were soaking in.  This will create part of the stew base.
  7. I’ll take out the tangerine peel at this time and thinly slice 2-3 pieces and drop them into my dish as well. 
  8. Let that cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, letting it come to a soft boil
  9. Here’s when I’ll add my soy sauce and oyster sauce and let that simmer for about 5 minutes
  10. Add in the fresh napa cabbage and also your black moss
  11. To mix up your corn starch thickener:  Add the corn starch to half of cup of cold water and mix until it’s fully dissolved.  Then you can add this to you stew.
  12. Let that simmer for 10 minutes, serve and enjoy!

Tips for this dish:

  • You can pre-soak a lot of these ingredients ahead of time (first thing in the morning or when you remember) as they need to be rehydrated anyways and can stay in the water with no risk
  • Always dissolve corn starch in cold water before adding it to stews.  This will ensure it’s fully dissolved and allows to thicken consistently
  • To make this a truly vegetarian dish, you can replace the oyster sauce with hoisin sauce.
  • Keep the mushroom water in which you hydrate the mushrooms in!  This is just as tasty and will help keep the fragrance of the mushrooms in the stew!
  • This dish is saucy and savory, so perfect to be served on top of rice or noodles.
  • You can follow a video on “How to use and prepare mushrooms in Chinese cooking“.

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White Radish with Mushrooms and Vermicelli in Chicken Soup

White Radish with Mushrooms and Vermicelli in Chicken Soup

White Radish with Mushrooms and Vermicelli in Chicken Soup

Soup Name:

White radish with mushrooms and vermicelli in Chicken Soup

Chinese Name:

白蘿蔔冬菇粉絲雞湯 (bái luóbo dōng gū fěn sī jī tāng)

 

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

Sometimes, I want something relatively easy and quick to whip up all in one-pot!  Make a bit of rice or noodles on the side and serve up this dish as a meal for your family.

This soup has got a healthy selection of protein and packs a volume of vegetables.  You can design the vegetable of your choice, and my family loves to eat siu choy (or napa cabbage), but normal cabbage, lettuce, also go well.

You can also be selective in your mushrooms.  I kind of just went with a whole bunch of fresh mushrooms from the supermarket such as fresh oyster, brown, and shiitake mushrooms.  Dried mushrooms also work well, but do need more time to rehydrate.   

What’s involved?

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 45 mins

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients
  • 3 chicken thighs
  • 1 whole white radish, peeled, cubed
  • mushroom selection (your choice, I went with fresh oyster mushrooms, fresh brown mushrooms, and fresh shiitake mushrooms)
  • 3 dried shiitake mushrooms (for flavour)
  • 1 pack of dried vermicelli
  • 2 small napa cabbage (or vegetable of choice) – something with a lighter taste (so the whiter / paler the vegetable is better)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried conpoys
  • 1 tablespoon of dried longans
  • 1 tablespoon of white miso paste
  • 3-4 L of water

 

Cooking Instructions
  1. Soak the vermicelli in cool water for at least 10 minutes
  2. Chop chicken into large pieces and in a shallow pan fry skin down (no oil as needed as a lot of the fat will be rendered out).  Fry on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, flipping as it browns.  The chicken doesn’t need to be thoroughly cooked as it will be going into the soup anyways, you just want the edges to be a nice golden brown with a crust.
  3. Boil your soup water.
  4. Peel and chop white radish into cubes.  Size is up to you depending on how much time you have.  The less time, the smaller the pieces should be.
  5. When the soup water boils, throw in the pan-fried chicken thighs and white radish and boil on high for 10 minutes
  6. You can drop in the dried mushrooms, conpoys, and dragon eyes (in this case, I don’t rehydrate the mushrooms as they need a good hour sometimes, so dropping them in directly is OK)
  7. Cut up your napa cabbage in small pieces and drop into your soup, along with your selection of mushrooms
  8. Continue to boil for 10 minutes on medium heat
  9. Drop in 1 tablespoon of white miso and stir it around to make sure it’s dissolved.
  10. Finally drop in the hydrated vermicelli and boil for another 10 minutes on medium heat, covered.
  11. Top with chopped green onions or cilantro for taste.
  12. Serve and enjoy!  You can add rice or noodles as part of the meal.

Some time saving tips!

  • You can pre-soak the vermicelli first thing in the morning.  This stuff stays pretty supple throughout the day and will only soften when boiled.  If you’re going to soak them, I’d suggest to also soak the dried shiitake mushrooms, too!
  • The quicker you want your soup to cook, especially the white radish, cut the pieces smaller.  I like larger pieces because you can fish them out, but smaller will help if you’ve got a time crunch!
  • You can replace the miso paste with a soy sauce soup base (with chicken broth) as well.  I don’t use any broth powder in this case as miso is perfect on it’s own!
  • Tofu is also a great quick cook ingredient to add if you want more variety.  All types of tofu!
  • Don’t be afraid to cook the chicken on HIGH heat.  Just make sure you monitor it and turn and rotate the chicken as it browns.  Remember, you don’t need to fully cook it, you just want enough of a beautiful crust and brown so it’s crispy and already bursting with flavours!

For videos, visit us on YouTube.

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How to Prepare for Sleep (with TCM Concepts)

How to Prepare for Sleep (with TCM Concepts)

HOW TO PREPARE FOR SLEEP

(USING TCM CONCEPTS)

Learn to prepare for better sleep and how you can transition your body and mind from a yang to a yin state as evenings nears and you’re preparing to go to bed. Learn some simply Traditional Chinese Medicine concepts and how to apply this to your lifestyle and life to create a healthier and more balanced life!

One guiding principle in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the yin yang theory.  In the natural world, there exists a balance between 2 opposing and co-existing forces and yet, they also exist in each other.  Our bodies, minds, and souls are designed the same way in that to be healthy, we need to be in harmony between these 2 bipolar states.  Yin is receptive and passive, calm and slow, embodying cold and damp qualities (when we are sleeping).  Yang is its exact opposite in aggressive and active, embodying heat, dryness, and movement (when we are awake).

One of our mission at The Chinese Soup Lady is to bring these principles into the foods and drinks we consume in order to support harmony.

 

How to use this guide:

 

  • Some tips and tricks to help replenish yin and increase yin while yang recedes as part of our evening and sleep routines.
  • Do see a Chinese medicine practitioner as this information is not a replacement for a doctor.

 

Some applied TCM concepts to help:

  • Avoid yang enhancing (or warming) foods right before sleeping. This includes: spicy and fried foods, caffeine, herbs such as garlic and ginger, dong quai, or red dates. These foods increase yang and get your blood flowing, which is not what we want!
  • Allow the body and mind to come into a yin state. This means being in that calm, steady, slower flow so that it can really slow down. Don’t exercise before sleep or this heightens the yang in your body. If your mind is very active, like you’ve just had an argument, you were studying, or doing some work, spend some time to help it transition into a yin state by doing some meditating, breathing, counting sheep (now we know why we count sheep!), or anything to slow down the yin in the mind is helpful.
  • Reduce the temperature to allow for our body to transition into yin as yang recedes. As Yin is the cooler, slower state, a lower thermostat will allow our body to be in more yin and supporting deeper sleep.  Read more here on “Using TCM concepts in our every day lives“.

 

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

For further reading, I’ve found some more scientific and published articles.  Here are some to read up on: 

 

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Sweet Chinese Almond Dessert Soup

Sweet Chinese Almond Dessert Soup

Sweet Chinese Almond Dessert Soup

This classic traditional Chinese dessert has been enjoyed throughout generations (even when I was little and when my parents were little). Common in most dessert houses and even served as dessert at the end of Cantonese meals, this almond packed dessert is smooth, slightly sweet, creamy and absolutely healthy! Almonds are known to reduce risk of heart problems and lowers LDL-cholesterol (the bad kind!). Actually, nuts.com has a very comprehensive review of the benefits of almonds. I need to think of more ways to incorporate almonds into my diet! For the Chinese, they say that this soup helps smooth the skin and keep it silky and white.

Almonds are a very common ingredient found in both Chinese soups, desserts, foods – especially the South and North kinds that are commonly used in soups. For this one, I went with western almonds bought in a supermarket already peeled. This sweet soup was far easier to make than I thought and can be consumed both warm or cold.

Soup Name

Sweet Chinese Almond Dessert Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:  

杏仁茶 (xìng rén chá)

For the whole recipe and to skip my commentary, scroll down.

To start, all you need is: raw almonds, rock sugar, raw rice, water and egg whites. What? That’s it? Haha… yes.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 4 bowls

Ingredients

  • 200 g of raw almonds
  • 800 mL of water
  • 30 g of white rice
  • 40 g of rock sugar
  • 1 egg white

Cooking Instructions

  1. Soak your almonds in cool water for 4-5 hours to soften
  2. Drain water and in a blender, add about 600 mL of cool water, the almonds and 30 g of white rice
  3. Blend until smooth or very fine (liquefied as much as possible) – you can add more water to bring the level up to 800 mL at this point (or just start with 800 mL of water)
  4. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh bag into a pot
  5. Bring to a medium boil and boil for 10 minutes, while continuously stirring – you can throw in the rock sugar as it comes to boil and ensure it completely dissolves
  6. Add in an egg white and continuously stir for another 5 minutes
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Start soaking your almonds in cool water for about 3-4 hours. This will soften them, especially if you still have the skin on them, this will help you peel them so much easier. About 200 g of almonds will make 2 bowls, so what you see here is enough for 4 bowls.

Drain the water and refill with cool water into the bowl. This water and almonds will be the base of the dessert. I then throw this into a blender with 30g of white rice (I personally will use whatever is in the pantry, which was Thai long grained white rice at the time). Do note that I actually add more water later to make 800 mL worth total. This will significantly reduce when you strain the almonds through a fine mesh.

It takes a bit of grinding, but do work to grind as much and as fine as you can the almond mixture.  Here, you can see that it’s not yet quite as fine as it could be, so it took a bit of maneuvering up and down and sideways to get as much of the bulk to the bottom to grind further. Helps work your forearms and biceps. Keep going!

When you hear the blend spin pretty consistently and you can move the blender around, the mixture should be fine enough to strain and cook. It’s so beautiful that it almost looks like snow!

Push it ALL through a very fine mesh bag. This will separate the almond milk dessert from the grains. Some people like a little bit of the grainy parts, so add that if you’d like to your dessert. It’s completely up to you!

 

You should now have a very smooth, creamy almond milk-like liquid. Turn on the heat to a medium heat and bring the almond milk to a slow boil for about 10 minutes, continuously stirring the mixture.

Once it boils, add in the rock sugar. I used about 40 g, which isn’t too sweet – just perfect. Adjust accordingly depending on your taste. Don’t forget to continuously stir as well and boil for another 5 minutes or until the rock sugar dissolves completely. As tradition calls, slowly stream in 1 egg white while stirring to ensure consistency and then turn off heat and serve!

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Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

Soup Name:

Pork and Conch Herbal Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

清豬骨海螺湯 (Qīng zhū gǔ hǎiluó tāng)

This soup is neutral and sweet to taste.

 

 

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

 

This soup is ideal for colds, flus and cough. If you’ve got a sore or scratchy throat, achy body, tiredness and/or headache – this soup is for you!  From an Eastern perspective, the Chinese don’t recommend drinking chicken soup when you’re sick, which to me, sounds off, but you can’t argue thousands years of tradition through Chinese medicine.  My herbalist recommended this relatively “neutral” soup for me and is considered 滋陰 (zī yīn), which means treating yin deficiency by reinforcing body fluid and nourishing the blood.  If you look at the herb base, it’s pretty basic and ideal for most soups – the kicker is to add sea whelk (or conch or sea snail). You don’t need to add fresh sea snail (they can get pretty expensive if you buy them live from the wet mart), but definitely add pork. This soup ended up tasting delicious and sets a great base for adding vegetables of your choice – like corn, onions, or chayotes – all neutral vegetables.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 2 hours

Total time: 2 hours 15 mins

Serves: 8 bowls

Ingredients

Cooking Instructions

  1. In a separate pot, blanch both the sea snails and pork in a pot of boiling hot water for at least 5 minute (to remove impurities, fat and scum), remove and set aside
    2. Soak all the herbs in warm water for at least 10 minutes and rinse in warm water
    3. Boil your soup water
    4. When you soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
    5. Boil on high for 30 minute and then reduce boil to a medium boil for another 1.5 hours
    6. Serve and enjoy!

One of the more affordable seafood you can use for soups is dried sea snail. They come in thin, hard slices and add a sweet, sea-salt taste to the soup (similar to dried conpoys). Plus, these things are storage friendly and can be stored in your freezer or fridge for up to 6 months.

 

A typical neutral soup base for Chinese soups. The dried sea snails are interchangeable with dried conpoys, which is a great substitute if you can’t find sea snails.  The dried versions produce similar tastes to the soup as they are both seafood and go through similar drying processes.

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