Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Brewing Hakka Medicinal Ointment

One of the things that Nic believes (and strongly too) is that he is a healer.

Perhaps it is a past life connection.

But it's not just wishful thinking.

He does seem to intuitively know which parts of the body to massage whenever I start saying my body aches.

He is quite attuned to healing, I must say. I used to scoff at him, thinking he was just pulling my leg when he really wasn't.

Over the years, we've both had our own thoughts about health and healing and conventional medicines.

His younger brother is a neurosurgeon by the way so this is quite an interesting topic. His brother is in mainstream medicine while Nic believes in natural healing.

I believe in natural healing too hence this blog. I believe that you can eat your way to good health. We prefer non-mainstream healing because we strongly believe the body knows best.

Here's an example.

Sometimes, I crave certain foods. It's not a woman-PMS thing.

Lately, I've been craving peanuts and sunflower seeds and lamb.

I didn't know why until I read in Lelord Kordel's book (a fabulous book by the way) that these foods contained Vitamin B5 and Vitamin D which helped with hair growth!

Remember my hair loss episodes?

I wonder if it's work or the change in weather but my hair did drop quite a bit. I figured my body was telling me I needed these vitamins from these foods.

So I always listen to my body.

After munching on sunflower seeds and peanuts, I did realise my hair loss decreased. I am not kidding because I always look at the drain cover in my bathroom each time I wash my hair.

Anyway, that's a sidetrack to what I wanted to talk about today.

Nic got a Hakka medicinal ointment recipe from Joe, who has been following my blog and whom I finally met this year.

See how amazing this blog is? One thing leads to another and he gives Nic a recipe for brewing liniment or in Cantonese, "thit thar zhaow".

A few weeks ago, we went shopping in Little India (Enrico's actually on Beach Street) to buy the cinnamon, star anise and cloves. I managed to find my stash of dried nutmeg seeds and we bought fresh lemongrass stalks.

Plus we bought Chinese cooking wine too.

I would've like to use vodka but hey, Chinese wine is a lot less expensive!

Anyway, this ointment is for external use so no point using vodka right? Might as well drink the vodka. (I use vodka to steep my dried vanilla pods and the results is a homemade vanilla essence of the best kind!)

First production of Hakka medicated oil or "thit that zhaow" - thanks to Joe's recipe! 

All the ingredients go into a glass jar (cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, smashed nutmeg seeds, fresh lemongrass stalks) and topped with Chinese wine. This sits in a dark corner for a good few weeks to get all the spicy goodness.

This is an intoxicating brew because it smells like fruitcake! It also reminds me of German mulled wine!

Nic is quite excited with the idea of producing his own medicated oil because he also wanted to design his own labels (he's also an artist) for the medicated oil bottles when they're ready.

We even managed to find a shop in George Town that sold all types of glass bottles - perfect for our oil when it is ready! (The universe works in mysterious ways. Nic was telling a friend that he wanted to get some bottles and this friend gave us this contact and we moseyed our way to the amazing shop of bottles and jars.)

He has always been keen on producing medicated oil ever since he recalled his grandfather (who came all the way from China and worked as a coolie in Kuching) had a special recipe. But as with all things, the recipe got thrown away when his grandfather passed away!

Apparently, this recipe required the fat of monitor lizards! The ointment or salve is used if one accidentally stepped on iron nails - the nail would be easily pulled out without any ensuing problems if one used this salve. I would think this would be useful for coolies back then who didn't have access to proper medical care or doctors.

But where the heck do we get monitor lizards' fat even if we did have the recipe?

Anyway, we decided to go with Joe's Hakka medicated oil recipe for now. Who knows, one day I might get some monitor lizard fat!

With all the ingredients costing quite a bit, this will be quite an expensive medicated oil. It can be used for painful joints and bruises and all manners of removing aches and pains. That's what Chinese medicated oils are used for.

According to Joe, we can keep topping up the jar with wine but the extraction will not be as concentrated as the first 'brew'.

I'll keep everyone posted on our Hakka medicated oil production. ;-)

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