Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Steamed Green Apple With American Ginseng To Cure Headaches Forever

I know. It sounds unbelievable right?

Steamed green apple with American ginseng will cure your headaches forever? Isn't it such an audacious claim? Really? Does it work?

Actually, these were my reactions too when I heard it from - of all people - my mum!

As I live in Penang and my mum lives in Selangor (Banting, to be specific, which is a little town near Morib and one that's well-known for its seafood), we have regular phone conversations. These days it's much easier because calls are free - we use Viber a lot. So we have long conversations.

About food. About life. Mostly food. She knows I love my food. And I like taking good care of myself. I am a hedonist. I probably learnt that from her. She's always telling me how we should all eat better. It is true though. With better nutrition, you do feel immensely better. That is why SoupQueen exists, right? ;-)

Here's how the story goes.

My mum often goes to the Sunday market in Banting where there's lots of interesting food vendors and vegetable sellers. It's not like a market with a roof and structure. The Sunday market is just a place where sellers and hawkers of all types congregate to sell their wares.

The day she went she met a man hawking his plastic fruit peeler - you know those lively market sales people who snap on a portable microphone and start doing demos with the fruit peeler. Mum didn't buy as she already had a fruit peeler but this guy dispensed a recipe - which is the one I am going to tell you about.

I don't know if it's a marketing spiel but he says this recipe came from his grandmother.

After 3 days of taking this dessert consecutively, you will never have another bad headache again!

Bold claim huh?

So my mum tells me I have to try this recipe. I haven't yet because I've been rather busy. I did buy green apples which is uncommon for me. I don't like apples or oranges much. I prefer local fruits.

Perhaps you can try it and let me know?

You will need:

1 green apple
a few slices of American ginseng
2 dried red dates, pitted
a few pieces rock sugar

You have to core the apple but you can keep the peel on. Into the cored apple, place the American ginseng, red dates and rock sugar. Put this entire apple into a crockpot. Pour over a cup of water. Set your crockpot to simmer for 2 hours.

Drink while warm and eat up the apple, ginseng, red dates and all. Best drunk just before you go to bed.

Continue to brew this again for the next two nights and drink before going to bed.

This, says my mum or rather the fruit peeler guy, will cure your headaches for good.

Do I believe it? I don't know. I don't have (touch wood) massive headaches.

But it sounds do-able and something that probably tastes better than eating paracetamol!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Mulberries - Not Just Food For Silkworms?

Do you like mulberries?

I find them rather fascinating fruits because they're a cross between raspberries (in look) yet with the tartness of lemons.

My friend, Don, once offered me a tiny mulberry that he plucked off his mulberry plant. As we live in Malaysia where the weather is hot, the mulberry was prized indeed. It was barely red enough.

It tasted tart. But I like tart fruits so that was all right. 

When I was in Hong Kong last year, I managed to buy some fresh ones and they were much larger than the tiny one grown by Don. For about HK$15, I bought a box (see below) at the local Hong Kong evening market. Looks like a lot of fruits right? 

Mulberry fruits or mulberry berries? Bought these from a market in Hong Kong. Don't be fooled
by the overflowing basket. The berries are propped up by lots of foam!

Sneaky HK fruit sellers prop their baskets with foam so that you just get a handful but it seems like a lot! I think that is really cheating. I'd prefer if they put them in a plastic bag and you can see how much you are getting.

These mulberries are probably grown in China. They were sweetish but still had a tartness about them. I polished off this entire basket (not very big basket mind you) after dinner while eating blue cheese and drinking sake in my friend's apartment in Tseung Kwan O. The thing is, the tartness of these berries complimented the blue cheese! Strange bed fellows indeed.

Back in Malaysia, a lot of people have been planting mulberry trees as it is supposed to be super easy to grow. Just cut off a branch of mulberry and poke this into the ground and in no time, it will grow.

That's what I did.

But it didn't grow as easily as I thought!

Mulberry is also called Sang Shen and it is actually very good for health - healing a variety of ills from anemia to premature hair greying.

It is also a fruit that affects the Lung and Liver meridians.

As it is cooling, it clears Liver fire and is a remedy for coughs, colds and fevers. As you can use it for your Liver, it assists in giving you better vision and hearing. It is also useful in cases of constipation (used together with other herbs as seen here). All the more reason to eat mulberries by the handful.

Fresh mulberry leaves can be steeped in hot water and sipped as a tea (here's how you make the mulberry leaf tea).

To discover more about this wonderful fruit/leaf/herb, take a look at this site which details everything about mulberry.