Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Pig Trotters in Vinegar

I know this is not a soup recipe but it is something I promised you.

Actually I learnt this when I went home to my parents' place in September. And after that I went travelling for business (first to Kerala, India and then to Singapore) so I didn't manage to share the recipe.

The cool part is, I took snapshots of the process so you can see how easy the entire process is.

My mother is a good cook (but then again everyone says this of their own moms).

My mom makes very good Nyonya kuih like kuih talam, kuih lapis, abok-abok, onde-onde and kuih seri muka. She used to supply to school canteens and she stopped doing it when I reach secondary school as she found the work tiring. My sisters and I used to help her pinch the edges of curry puffs - we used to do this while watching Incredible Hulk on TV! Back in those days (in the 1980s), the only channels we had were TV1 (RTM1) and TV2 (RTM2) and the only good shows were series like Incredible Hulk.

Anyway, my mom knows that pig trotters in vinegar is my favourite dish so whenever I visit, she will make it a point to cook it for me. That's how moms are. Well, at least Asian moms. Food is a representation of love!

This is a Cantonese version. My mom told me of a Hokkien version which has more vinegary taste than sweet taste.

Here's what you need:

2 pig trotters (front legs of the pig*)
* The front legs are less fatty than the back legs. You sometimes need to order this in advance from some butchers. About 2 front trotters chopped into chunky pieces will do. You will include the skin too. That's the best part of eating vinegared trotters! They become gelatinous and gooey after simmering so that is the best part.

1 bottle of black vinegar (which you can get from any supermarket)
For this recipe, my mom bought Pearl River Bridge brand of sweetened vinegar.

6-7 pieces whole ginger (peeled, washed and smashed)
Mom used young ginger for this recipe as we were just eating it as a dish. She told me that if we are cooking it for women who have just delivered babies, they must use old ginger (to get rid of 'wind').

And some rock sugar and salt to taste.

First, Mom heated up the pot with sesame oil. This is a fairly huge amount of sesame oil. I think it was about 2 -3 tablespoons.

Next she put in the ginger. Fry it for 30 seconds.

Next add 500 ml of water. Close the pot. Let the water boil.

Once the water comes to a boil, add the pig trotters and the entire bottle of vinegar. Add a few cubes of rock sugar too. Close the lid and let it boil for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, bring the fire down to low and let it all simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours or until the pig trotters are tender. Dish up and serve hot with steamed white rice.

The beauty of this dish is the longer you keep, the better it tastes! The end result should be a dark soupy gravy with pieces of tender pork.

If you have drunk up the gravy, worry not. You can add in more vinegar and simmer the dish again. I can drink the gravy like soup! The ginger pieces will also be tender and can be eaten too with the pork.

A dish like this can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.

* My mom makes a version with chicken for my sister as she does not take pork. However, pork and chicken have different textures so chicken tends to be all meat and very little fat. The star quality of this dish lies in the fat content of the trotters. The fat content kind of 'glues' the whole dish into one truly yummy meal by itself. My favourite way of eating this dish is to scoop a bowl of it and eat it on its own, without rice.

I forgot to snap photos of the final result, excited as I was about the recipe!

You can view how a dish of pig trotters in vinegar looks like over at Audrey's blog (her version with eggs).

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Indian Borage for Curing Coughs

I have been travelling about so that is why the blog is a bit slow on the updates. Well I had gone home to Banting to visit my parents and to indulge in mom's homecooked food for a few days. I also learnt from her how to make vinegared pig trotters, a recipe I am going to share with you in the next few days.

Fresh vanilla pods!

After visiting my parents, I had come home for two weeks before I was packing again. This time, Nic and I were going to Kerala, India. This visit was with a client as he had wanted to visit some organic farms and farmers in the Wayanad region of Kerala.

The climate in Kerala is just like our Malaysian climate. We were lucky that when we were there, the rains didn't start yet. I heard that it is flooding now in Kerala and travel may be hindered.
Pepper, grown organically in Kerala

Kerala is famous for ayurvedic treatments and clinics. Health is a top priority for the people of Kerala. They pay a lot of attention to herbs and plants for medicinal purposes besides using yoga and other holistic treatments for health problems.

Lemongrass oil, camphor oil, castor oil and more in an Indian supermarket

In fact their supermarket sells a lot of oils, remedies and balms made with herbs and plants. Even their soaps are made with herbs!

All sorts of herbal remedies for coughs

Anyway, while visiting an Indian farmer who planted pepper and vanilla, among other crops, I saw that he also planted a pot of Indian borage. I've had more than a mild interest in Indian borage because I was introduced to this plant/herb not too long ago by a friend here in Penang. She had given me a cutting and my Indian borage now thrives in my garden.

This herb is pungent and smells a bit like oregano. Therefore it also goes by the name Local Oregano. I believe the Filipinos call it Oregano.

It is an easy plant to grow as long as its cutting has taken root. I noticed it also loves the sun as it has bloomed really well in the morning sun.

Why do I like this plant so much? Like my TCM herbs, this herb is useful for coughs and for asthmatic conditions. It is also useful for clearing dandruff, encouraging lactation in breastfeeding moms and helps with sore throats.

As I had just come home from Kerala with a dry cough, I decided to cure myself with some of my own homegrown Indian borage.

I plucked 2 leaves off the plant, crushed them and put them into a small pot with 1 cup of water to boil for 5 minutes. Once cooled to touch, stir in 2 teaspoons of honey. Drink warm.

I believe it is helping my cough as I am coughing less as I type this now. I will drink another decoction later this evening.

If you want to know how the plant looks like and what else you can use it for, this helpful article is all you need.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Lil Diversion.....

Well this has nothing to do with food or soups but it has something to do with Orientalism and health and in a way, well-being.

I came upon this Oriental Tit Tar website when I went over (OK, OK, more like moseyed over) to a friend's blog. He had sprained his ankle so he went to see a Chinese Tit Tar.

How shall I translate Tit Tar?

It's a Cantonese word for the chiropractor who puts you right again.

It's very cool that this particular Tit Tar is smart enough to take hold of technology and use it for his own business.

After all, complementary medicine should be here as an option for people like you and me.

Particularly me as I love my Sin Seh (Chinese medicine man). Sure, the healing is not as fast as Western medicine. But asking for quick, fast relief isn't always the best way to cure the body.

So I like my medicine to work with my body to heal it, not work as a 'patch' and cover up the symptoms but not treat the root causes.

That is perhaps why I like going back to the basics - prevention through soups!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This Is For The Eyes

While I've gone ahead and got my eyes iLASIK-ed, my dear husband is doing it the natural way. He says he can train his eyes to see better with a combination of eye exercises, nutrition and Bates pinhole glasses.

I'm OK with whatever he chooses to do. He supported me when I told him I needed to laser my eyes and get back my vision before I turn 40 in 4 years' time. Supported me as in financially, he paid for my vision correction surgery.

So of course I am supporting him in his endeavour.

He diligently does his eye exercises and of late, he can actually sit at our living room sofa and read the time on our Astro decoder (which is like 7 feet away!).

I'm really happy for him because it will be so good when he does not need to rely on his glasses anymore.

On this note, I told him I'd make him nutritious stuff to help him improve his eyesight.

Wolfberry in soups is one of those methods. Wolfberries are great for the eyes and as any Chinese mom will tell you, it is one of those herbs you have to have in your kitchen. My neighbour, Vern, told me she thinks her good eyesight comes from her snacking on dried wolfberries like raisins when she was a kid!

Aside wolfberries, we've been taking cod liver oil capsules too. Cod liver oil contains Vitamin A so that again is perfect for the eyes.

Another cool thing I discovered lately is beetroot. I never knew how to cook or eat this root vegetable but I sure loved its purple colour. In fact I like any fruit that's magenta-purple like berries, red dragon fruit and plums. So it's no wonder I have taken to heart the humble but powerful beetroot.

Making Juice Out of Beetroot

On days when I go to the wet market, I buy beetroot. A small one will do.

I peel it and slice it up. Put it in a blender with 1 small carrot (also diced up) and 2 tablespoons honey. Add two glasses of water and blend for 10 seconds or until everything's gone pulpy!

Add some ice and serve chilled.

This recipe makes 4 regular mugs of deliciously dark and purple beetroot juice.

I was thinking of getting a juicer initially but after a while, it's rather fun to have bits of beetroot fibre to chew as you drink this vitamin-packed juice. It'd be such a waste to throw out the pulp!

Besides helping to lower blood pressure and helping with constipation (and a host of other health problems), beetroot juice is a natural liver cleanser. I read that if something is good for your liver, it is good for the eyes because in TCM, apparently the eyes and the liver are connected. So if your liver's not feeling too well, you can be sure your eyes won't feel their best either.

Accordingly, beetroot contains the compounds, betaine and methionine, which support liver detoxification.

(Can I tell you that it's also an aphrodisiac? Yes, it is!)

So while I continue feeding my husband with all those stuff that's good for his eyes, you just might want to add beetroot to your shopping basket the next time you see this vegetable. Tastewise, it's like jicama that's tinged purple.

I find that adding carrots sweeten the beetroot juice evenly - some people can't stand its raw taste but hey it's good for you! (And carrots as anyone knows is superb for eye health!)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Remarkable Nut of Nuts

In this recipe, walnuts and dried red dates are combined to make a healthy and life-giving dessert. And with honey added, it packs a punch.

A truly simple dessert which is used to prevent the usual flu magnets - colds and coughs. It helps too with your kidneys and with bowel movement.

Walnuts are much revered in Chinese medicine, not least because the nut resembles the brain! Again, the Chinese believe that walnuts are good snacks for children as they help boost brain power which is true because of the high amounts of Omega 3 fats (good for the brain).

Walnuts are of course a good source of essential omega-3 fatty acids and in Roman times, considered the food of the gods.

Walnuts are a 'yang' tonic and useful for toning up weak kidneys. It also warms lung Qi while acting as a laxative, moistening the intestines (hence encouraging bowel movement if you are constipated).

Walnuts are called Hu Tao Ren (juglans regia) in Chinese medicine.

Walnut & Red Date Dessert

150 gm walnuts
150 gm dried red dates, remove pits
3 tbsp honey
5 cups water

Bring to boil all ingredients except honey. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Add honey just before serving. Remember to serve warm!

Some walnut trivia:

Did you know that walnuts soaked in vodka for a month can be used as an energizing tonic for strengthening your kidneys?

Aside these, walnuts pack a punch because they are great for people with hypertension. They contain relatively high levels of l-arginine, an essential amino acid which inside the body is converted into nitric oxide, a chemical that helps keep the inner walls of blood vessels smooth and allows blood vessels to relax.

It is a remarkable nut for its helpful cardio properties! Recommended eating is about a handful of walnuts about 3-4 times a week. Or just 4 walnuts a day is all you need.

And if you want to sleep well at night, eat walnuts!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Spare Ribs with Herb Trio

This is an easy soup but it is a warming soup (good for women in confinement). I read that spare ribs or pork are neutral in nature. It is how you cook the soup and with what sort of herbs which turn the nature of the dish.

In this soup, you need only 3 herbs:

Chinese yam (which I've written about before) - 8 gm, rinsed, drained
Chinese angelica or Dong Quai - 8 gm, rinsed, drained
Wolfberries or Kei Chi - 2 tbsp, rinsed and drained

1 liter water
2 tsp salt
500 gm spare ribs, blanched in boling hot water

Combine all ingredients into a slow cooker. If you are using a slow cooker, the 1 liter water must be boiling hot. Cook on Automatic for 2 hours. Add salt at the end of the process. Serve hot (with or without rice).

Absolutely deliciousness in a pot! And hearty too.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Spinach & Bean Thread Soup

For this recipe (again a quick soup!), you will need the simplest of ingredients. Bean thread is what we call over here "tung hoon" or "tung fan". Basically they are clear vermicelli made from mung beans. With a springy texture, it can be used in soups as well as stir-fry with vegetables or in some cases, used as a major ingredient and eaten like one would eat vermicelli or "bee hoon".

Anyway, this is a homely dish and most of the ingredients are found easily in the market.

Here is what you need:

1 packet of mung bean threads, soaked in hot water and drained
3 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked, washed and drained
8 cups water
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
fresh spinach (as much as you like), washed and drained
2 tbsp peanut oil
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
5 cups chicken stock
1 tsp Shao Hsing wine or sherry

In a pot, place the 8 cups of water, salt and baking soda. Bring to a boil and blanch spinach. Lift and drain spinach when it turns a bright green.

Heat another pot over high heat and add peanut oil. Add ginger, garlic and dried shrimp. Stir, then add chicken broth and wine. Cover pot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow soup to simmer for another 10 minutes.

Turn the heat up and add spinach and bean thread. Boil again before turning off heat. Serve hot.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tomato, Potato & Beef Soup

This is a soup good for warming up on cold days. We don't get very many cold days in Malaysia. I was in Hong Kong in March and at 14C, it felt quite cold to me. If I were in HK, I'd make this warming soup!

You'll need:
1 slice ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups fresh tomatoes, blanched, de-skinned and cubed
2 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil

6 oz ground beef

Marinate ground beef with:
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp light soya sauce
3/4 tsp sugar
1/2 salt
1/2 tsp whiskey
3/4 tsp cornstarch

Allow the ground beef to marinate up to 1 hour.

Heat wok and add oil, salt, ginger and garlic. Add tomatoes and potatoes and fry for 1 minute. Remove and place this into a pot. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover pot, simmering over low heat for 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

Raise heat and add the beef with its marinade, breaking up beef with fork. Boil the soup again and turn off heat. Serve hot.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Red Bean Dessert Soup

This is one of those famously simple and easy to make dessert soups to round off a meal.

Every Chinese would have grown up imbibing this nutritious red bean dessert. Red beans are like mung beans - full of goodness. What we call red beans is really Adzuki beans. They are also the most "yang" of all beans. They're tiny and hard red beans which when cooked, turns soft and delicious!

Adzuki beans (Paseolus angularis) are rich in soluble fibre which, like oats, help eliminate cholesterol from your body. They contain magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc copper, manganese and vitamin B3. And the good news is, they also reduce blood pressure. Accordingly, these powerful beans possess inhibitors which disturb the development of cancer cells.

It is no wonder that Adzuki beans are the "Mercedes" of beans.

Here's how you cook Adzuki beans.

1/2 pound Adzuki beans
7 cups cold water
rock sugar to taste

(optional: 1/2 cup dried longan flesh)

Wash beans and drain. Put them into a pot and add water. Turn to high heat, cover pot and bring to a boil.

Allow to simmer on low heat for 2 hours or until beans are tender. (You can add dried longans at this stage). Do not cover pot too tightly - allow some steam to escape. Stir from time to time. Simmer for another 30 minutes.

Add rock sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves approximately 10 minutes. Turn off heat and serve.

This is a dessert soup so you can make it as thick or as thin as you wish. You can also serve it warm or cool. It is not advisable to refrigerate this dessert as it becomes really yucky then, all mushy and soft. But then again, some people like cold desserts so it's really up to you. Just like some people like cold durians!

Note: If you add dried longan (which are sweet by nature), reduce the amount of rock sugar. Dried longans rehydrate when they are simmered and give a nice bite to the pulpy red bean dessert.

You may also add dried tangerine peel (4 pieces or so) if you want to add a zing of flavour to the dessert. Tangerine peel is also good at reducing phlegm. During Chinese New Year, we'd eat a lot of Chinese (mandarin) oranges. My grandmother would carefully peel the mandarin oranges and keep the peel. She'd dry the peel under the hot sun and keep for times like this!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fish & Lettuce Soup

I got this recipe from an old recipe book.

It's a Cantonese soup called "Sang Choi Yue Pin Tong". According to the writer, she uses fresh carp but it's equally OK to use sole, flounder or sea bass.

1/2 pound fresh fish, sliced thinly

Marinate fish with 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/4 tsp cornstarch, 1 tsp ginger juice mixed with 1 tsp white wine, some pepper and 1 tsp light soya sauce. Let it sit in the marinade for 10 minutes.

In a pot, bring to boil 3 cups water. If you have fish stock, even better. It will be tastier, says the writer. Add to this pot 1 slice of ginger and 1 clove garlic. Add lettuce, stir and add in fish slices (together with marinade). Bring to boil. Turn off heat and stir in some scallion oil. Serve hot.

How to make scallion oil:
In 2 cups peanut oil, add 1 cup of the whisker/root ends of scallions and 2 cups of scallions (spring onions). Heat wok. Pour this into wok and heat until scallions brown. Strain oil and discard scallions. Allow to cool completely before storing in a jar. Use as needed. Scallion oil is delicious when a teaspoon or so is stirred into dishes.

So there you have it. A quick soup you can make in less than 15 minutes. My kind of soup!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

GreenLove Bean Soup

I bought a packet of GreenLove Mixed Beans the other day at the supermarket. It's a small packet (250 gm) of mixed dried beans - pinto beans, red kidney beans, chickpeas etc which you can use to make either a sweet soup or a savoury one. I prefer savoury soups so that is what I made today.

If you cannot get this particular brand in your supermarket, you can easily buy different varieties of dried beans and mix them together. I could have done that but I was feeling particularly lazy and not in the mood to buy various types of beans. So I opted to buy GreenLove's pre-packed version.

For this soup, you will need additional ingredients such as:

2 tablespoons of wolfberries ("kei chi") - soaked and drained
2 slices of young ginger
8 to 10 dried red dates (soaked in water, remove pits)
200 gm pork or chicken (blanched in boiling water)

Bring to boil a pot of 1.5 to 2 liters water. Once water is boiling, add all ingredients. Again, bring it to a rapid boil for 10 minutes before placing lid on the pot and reducing fire to a mere simmer. Let it simmer for 2 hours. Season with salt about 10 minutes before you turn off the fire. Let the soup sit for 10 minutes before you serve.

Beans are really good for everyone so these days I try to reduce the amount of meat used in the soups. As it stands, beans are a great source of protein so it is always best to eat up the beans in the soup.

Some people recommend soaking the beans overnight before boiling them as this reduces the gassiness caused by eating beans.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Toi Shan Dishes Anyone?

I am Cantonese of Toi Shan origin. We speak a dialect that's similar to Cantonese but it's not really Cantonese. I suppose you could say it is an offshoot of Cantonese, perhaps even a deeply skewed version.

Not many people speak Toi Shan dialect these days. The ones who do speak it are as old as mountains. Most are in their 60s and 70s.

I call it a Dinosaur Dialect as it seems that old to me. The younger Toi Shan generation either do not bother to learn it or find it hard to speak (after all, you can't practice if you have no one to speak it with!). Or maybe it just sounds funny to the ears and Cantonese sounds much better. I've promised myself that if I have kids, I will teach them this language.

I speak Toi Shan because my Dad is Toi Shan. I speak it with him and my second sis. With my youngest sis, I revert to Cantonese. With mum, I speak Cantonese as she's Cantonese through and through.

One of the best memories of being of a small, select dialect group is we get to bitch about others without them knowing it. It's a bit like speaking Foo Chow dialect. The Foo Chows are also talking in a lingo only a fellow Foo Chow can understand. And so it is with Toi Shan.

But a Toi Shan uncle I met in Hong Kong told me this - many Toi Shan are wealthy particularly if they are living overseas (such as USA). They were the first people to go in search of gold!

I should have gone looking for gold in San Francisco, hah!

Anyway, this little post will come in many parts as I am reminiscing about the dishes my Grandma cooked for us. She was Toi Shan and her dishes are particularly appealing now that I am all grown up!

Come back for more...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Quick Way For Nourishing Myself

Taking care of myself has been a philosophy that Mum drummed into me since I was a young girl.

Taking care of myself meant eating healthy and in my case, I'm the only daughter who dares to drink the darkest of brews just so I can look my prettiest best. Ah yes. I also believed in no pain, no gain.

So if I had to drink some herbal soup with strange ingredients (and they usually smelled very strong), I told myself, it's for my own good. I'm nourishing my body. I'm keeping alive centuries of knowledge and practise.

Until today, I find the best places to remind me of my childhood is to walk into a Chinese herbal shop and inhale the fragrance of herbs! To me, that is the best smell in the world.

Anyway, for Chinese women, replenishing our blood and reviving our bodies is a must after each menstruation. I've learnt this since young whereby Mum would brew for us Dang Gui or Ba Zheng Tang a few days after we were done with our periods.

Usually boiled with chicken thighs (minus chicken skin as the skin tends to make the soup oily), slurping these soups warm at night just before going to bed was a treat. I loved eating the tender chicken meat, dipped in soya sauce while I slurped spoonfuls of the dark brew (if it was Ba Zheng Tang). We had to drink the soup while it was still warm.

Now that I'm an adult, I still take care of myself. It's very telling that when I was studying in university back in the mid-90s that Dad bought for me a mini slow cooker! I was to remember to brew for myself nourishing soups because more than ever I was not living at home then and didn't get the benefit of drinking homecooked soup!
(By the way, I still have the mini slow cooker - after countless house moves and such. It's still something I cherish!)

Although I now have my own kitchen, sometimes I just want a bit of convenience even when I am supposed to be eating healthy.

My key secret is Eu Yan Sang's Bak Foong Pills. Yup, instead of brewing soup, I can now pop pills each month. It's priced at RM88 for a box of 6 bottles (14 gm each).

I am supposed to take 1 bottle of these pills with warm water once a week but I usually take 1 bottle each time my menstruation ends. Maybe I should follow Eu Yan Sang's instructions. The only thing I worry is that taking too much of these pills will be heaty as it does contain blood-building herbs.

I used to buy Bak Foong Pills of the non-branded variety but these days, I think I should be careful what I eat. That's why I trust Eu Yan Sang a lot more than a no-name bottle of pills. Knowing what I know of things and stuff made in China, I best put my trust in a brand that's known for generations. My rationale is, in case there's any issue, I can always go back to the brand and get some answers.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Essential Buddha Fruit Tea

I've taken to keeping a bottle of Buddha Fruit Tea in my fridge these days after I realized how a simple tea like this can keep me in tip top condition even as I run about with my busiest of business days.

Buddha Fruit or Lo Han Guo (Momordica grosvenori) is one of those herbs I have stashed in my kitchen cupboard. It's a dried fruit, the size of a tennis ball, the colour of greenish gold. It's lightweight with a delicate taste that makes it a versatile herb used in sweet and savoury soups. (For savoury soups, you can boil Lo Han Guo with pork to cure pneumonia and cough. But it has a taste which some people cannot stomach. If you belong to the category of people who are used to drinking Lo Han Guo as a sweet tea, then stick to it.)

In the past I used to boil Lo Han Guo fruit (1 fruit per 1 - 2 liters water) with dried longan, dried red dates and dried lotus seeds. This made a good dessert when served warm or chilled.

Now I just boil 1 Lo Han Guo fruit (wash the fruit first then break it up into smaller pieces - the skin cracks open to reveal dried seeds and dried flesh) in 2 liters of water for 20 minutes on a medium fire. Once the water has turned the colour of tea, I add in 2 small pieces of brown stick sugar, which you can buy from any good Chinese herbal shop. Let it simmer for 10 minutes until the sugar melts. Then you can either drink it warm or store it in the fridge, to be drunk as regularly as you would drink water.

Here are 3 tips on choosing a good Lo Han Guo.

1. Colour - the colour of dried Lo Han Guo must be of a light greenish-gold. The skin must not be too dark. It should NOT look like black or almost black.

2. Bounce - Yes, bounce the Lo Han Guo fruit your kitchen counter top. If it bounces gently like a soft ball, it's fresh.

3. Shake - Finally, shake the Lo Han Guo fruit. You should not hear the seeds moving about inside the dried fruit. If you do, the fruit is not fresh.

Lo Han Guo helps with coughs and sore throats so everyone in the family should drink Lo Han Guo tea weekly.

It is tremendously useful for keeping lungs healthy and keeping your bowels in good shape (so it is good for those suffering from constipation).

What's more, it's also a longevity cure so more reason to make lots of this for essential daily imbibing. If you have a heaty body (due to too many late nights, or eating too much curry or fried foods) taking Lo Han Gua tea will help cool your body down.

Like I said, I've simplified the tea by just boiling it with brown sugar and the taste is just as good if not better. You can keep the tea chilled in the fridge for a week. Drink it daily and you'll never have a cold or cough problem. Plus it's safe for the whole family, from kids to adults.

And did I tell you the fruit is cheap? I get 3 Lo Han Gua fruit (medium-size, the size of small tennis balls) for RM2.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Herbal Teas for Good Health

I was in Hong Kong in March and I was blown away by the easy accessibility of herbs, herbal drinks, herbal soups and healthy practices of the people of Hong Kong. I will share more of that with you once my business schedule has toned down a bit. Right now, I am stealing a bit of time out (from working on a client's website) to post this.

I saw this and thought it fantastic to share with all of you here.

As an aside, I've hardly been making soups. Sigh. What a pity huh. I've been involved in lots of committee work (from my own businesswomen group committee to my residential committee) and that plus business has taken me away from my fave pastime, making soups.

OK, enough of that.

This link is about Chinese herbal teas which promote sleep. Without proper sleep, one gets grouchy and ill-tempered. Sleep also allows your body to repair itself.

Lots of easy tea recipes on this Chinese herbal tea page. Do take a look and try them out!

Monday, January 04, 2010

New Year for New Soups

Happy New Year to you, if you've just arrived at this blog. I call myself the Soup Queen, tongue-in-cheek style. I think this name has really stuck well. When I first got the idea for a soup blog, I was just planning on compiling soup recipes for myself. I figured, if I write them down in notebooks, I might never find them again (knowing how easy it is to lose papers and such). And I like the idea of a quick search to get my recipes. That's how the Soup Queen got started.

My niche is really Chinese style soups which to the Cantonese, is a big deal.

As Cantonese, we're especially proud of our elegant cuisine. Soups feature a lot in our cuisine too. A good soup is always flavourful, delicate and robust. It nourishes. It replenishes.

I'm still surprised I have lots of soup recipes despite blogging for so long about soups. I guess the more one learns, the more one needs to learn.

I'll try to share more this year as I was a bit slack last year due to business, moving home etc.

And if you've been a reader, thank you for sharing your comments and love!