Wednesday, 10 May 2006

Dang Gui, Huai Shan, Black Chicken Soup

Soups can actually be regarded as the source of health for any family. Due to the hot weather and hectic working schedule of most Singaporeans, it's good to have a bowl of nutritious soup at least 3 - 4 times a week. A bowl of good homemade soup will actually helps to replenish the lost of fluid, clear the body heat, uplifts the spirit and benefits Qi and etc.

Today's Soup for the dinner is "Dang Gui, Huai Shan With Black Chicken Soup"(当归淮山黑鸡汤). It moistening vtial essence, replenishing vitality and tuning up the functions of the body. As I had mention before:

Dang Gui 当归: It tastes sweet hot and of warm nature. It benefits and balances the blood, regulates menses, treats pain and soothes the intestines. But don't consume in large amount or too often as it's might be heaty for certain body type.

Huai Shan淮山: It tastes sweet and of neutral nature. It nourishes the lungs and kidneys, strengthens the spleens, stops diarrhea, uplifts the spirit and benefits Qi. Usually I used those Fresh Huai Shan instead of the dried type.

Black Chicken黑鸡: Being rich in protein, helps to supplement pneuma and enrich blood. Cooking it only after scalding ensures that the soup does not became murky.

1 Medium Size Of Fresh Huai Shan, 淮山
1 Tablespoon Guo Qi Zi, 枸杞子
1 Black Chicken(黑鸡), at 600g
2 Slices Ginger
4 - 5 Slices of Dang Gui(当归)
1.2 Litres Of Water
1 Tablespoon Rice Wine(米酒), optional

1. If using fresh huai shan, rinse and wash away the sand and dirt from the stem. Peel off the skin, wash and cut into thick 2" long Section.
2. Wash, trim and remove the skin and fats on the chicken the scald the black chicken in boiling water for a few minutes then rinse with water.
3. Place all the ingredients into the stewing pot, add rice wine and boiling water.
4. Place in a steamer or a pot to boil over high heat for 20 minutes, then switch to medium heat to boil for 2 hours.
5. Or you can put everything in a slow-cooker, cook on HIGH heat for 1 hours then switch to Low Heat for another 2 hours.
6. Season with some salt to your preference before serving.

Notes: If you can't find Fresh Huai Shan, replace it with 40g of Dried Huai Shan slices. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 7 May 2006

Chicken, Huai Shan & Cordyceps Soup

Sometime ago I went to this Chinese Restaurant in Marina called "店小二" and they had this "鳄鱼冬虫草药膳" which cost around S$10 for a small pot that serves 2. I remember one of the main ingredients which was claimed to be Dong Chong Xia Cao(冬虫夏草) is this Dried Cordyceps that I fond in one of the Chinese Medical Hall near my area. Although it looks different from the actual Dong Chong Xia Cao(冬虫夏草) that we used to know. But according to the shop assistant, this is the Stem part of the herbs which can be used with other ingredients to boil soup. It is so much cheaper then the original herbs which I bought for my dear son, the actual Dong Chong Xia Cao(冬虫夏草) cost about $20 for 3 pieces while a packet of this Dried Cordyceps cost only $2 and can be used for about 2 - 3 times. I also saw this herbs used widely in most of the vegetarian cookbooks. So next time when you go to the Chinese Medical Hall, maybe you can look around for this herbs which taste good for boiling chicken soup.

Although this cheap type of Dried Cordyceps can't compare much to those actual Dong Chong Xia Cao(冬虫夏草), but they do sever some of the purpose like the actual type. Cordyceps has many medicinal uses: it replenishes energy, alleviates cough, expels phlegm, relieves lower back pain and aching joints. It is truly a healthy supplement for all ages. No wonder it has always been highly valued by herbalists.

Huai Shan, Shanyao or Chinese Burdock, a totally different root known as Dioscoreae. When dried, it takes on a white chalky appearance, and is most often used in Chinese Herbal tonic soups.

1 Chinese Burdock Root(Huai Shan, 淮山)
1 Tablespoon Wolfberries(枸杞子)
6 Red Dates (红枣)
2 Chicken Drumsticks/2 Chicken Breast
1 Small Carrot
1 Small Handful Of Dried Cordyceps Stems,干冬虫草(about 10-15 pieces)

1. Peel the Chinese Burdock root and cut into thick section.
2. Peel and slice carrots into small section.
3. Blanch the chicken quickly in hot water to remove surface fat, rinse and set a side.
4. Rinse the Woldberries, Red Date and Cordyceps with water and set aside.
5. Place all the ingredients in a pot with about 1.5 litres of water and bring to boil.
6. Simmer on medium heat for about 15 minutes then transfer to a slow-cooker and simmer on High Heat 1 hour and switch to Low Heat for another 2-3 hours.
7. Ladle soup into a big bowl and serve hot with some salt if u prefer.

Notes: You will find that peeling the Huai Shan is a slippery business but once the skin is off, the root secretes a healing enzyme and it is this which makes this root so good for health. Posted by Picasa

Friday, 5 May 2006

Mango & Strawberries Charlotte

If you love Tiramisu, and you can't let the whole family especially the kids to have it because of the coffee, liquor or raw eggs contents. Then I am sure this yoghurt fruity Charlotte will be the right choice for you, it is very easy to make and most important it contain fresh fruit puree and yoghurt. I come across this recipe from one of my blogger's friend Tracy, she had inspired me to make this because of her Strawberries Favour Charlotte.

So instead of making only the Strawberry favour, I also come out with the Mango favour Charlotte. What you need is some Lady/Sponge Finger, any kind of fresh fruits that you prefer and a tub of good creamy Greek's Yoghurt. Em... for those who loves Durian, maybe you can try making some Durian Charlotte.... I am sure it will taste great too......

So instead of putting the charlotte in the usual mould, I used those two divider container to make two different favour in one tub. This will made a great gifts or party dessert if you make it in small container.

When you make this charlotte, it's great that you can find those fresh, juicy and sweet fruits so that you won't need to add too much sugar to make it sweet. Because as you know, there won't be much taste in the plain yoghurt so all the taste and sweetness will come from the fruits itself.

Ingredients For Sugar Syrup:
250ml Water
150g Caster Sugar
Peels Of 1 Fresh Lemon

1. Put all the ingredients in a small pot and bring to boil and stir until the sugar dissolved.
2. Set aside to cool and leave it for later used in coating the lady fingers.

Ingredients For Strawberries Cream Fillings:
About 20 Lady Finger
2.5 Teaspoons Of Gelatine
40ml Warm Water
150g Fresh Strawberries
35g Caster Sugar/40g Icing Sugar
250ml Fromage Blanc/Creamy Greek Yogurt

1. Dissolve the gelatine powder in 40ml of warm water in a small saucer over some hot water stir until it's completely melted and clear in colour.
2. Blend the strawberries and sugar then mix in the melted gelatine.
3. Pour the fruit puree in a big mixing bowl and add the fromage blanc/yoghurt and mix well.
4. Soak 2 - 3 of the lady fingers at a time in the lemon sugar syrup and arrange them on the bottom of the dish or container.(you may need to trim the lady fingers to fix the size of the container)
5. Spread a layer of the strawberries yoghurt cream ontop of the prepared lady finger. Then soak another layer of lady fingers in the syrup and arrange on top of the cream.
6. Repeat the process so that you have 3 layers of lady finger and the final layer is the strawberries cream on top.
7. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight to firm before serve with some extra fresh fruits or whipped cream.

Notes: If you want to make Mango Favour just replace the strawberries with 1 Mango Flesh and follow the above instructions as the strawberries cream filling. When soak or coating the lady finger with the sugar syrup, remember not to soak for too long, just roughly roll it in the syrup. Or else the lady finger will absorb too much water and became soggy.

Note: I used this FARMERS UNION GREEK STYLE Yoghurt which can be found is most NTUC or Cold Storage Supermarket. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 2 May 2006

Moroccan Apricot Chicken

This is an easy chicken dish that won't ruffle your feather, it's plump fruit and rich nectar make it a family favourite. Dried Apricot Pieces are rich source of beta carotene (which the body converts into vitamin A for healthy skin, cell development, immune function and vision); good source of iron and fibre; excellent source of potassium (helps reduce blood pressure).

The cuisine of Morocco is rated among the best in the world, and rightly so. There are few places where food is more carefully and artistically prepared, more delightfully served, and more enjoyed than in this country. So this Moroccan Apricot Chicken is of a mixture of sweet, sour and hot taste you had to give it a try before you can understand that kind of middle east cooking.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
1/2 Cup Cornflour
8 Pieces Skinless Chicken Cutlets, trimmed
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Large Brown Onion, peeled, cut into thin wedges
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
1 Tablespoon Moroccan Seasoning
400ml Can Apricot Nectar
1/2 Cup Dried Apricots
1/3 Cup Flat-leaf Parsley Leaves, chopped
1/4 Cup Roasted Cashew Nut(optional)

1. Place flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag and mixed well. Lightly coat chicken pieces in seasoned flour, shaking off excess.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a deep, large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat.
3. Cook chicken, in batches for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate, repeat with remaining chicken and oil, cover and set aside.
4. Add onion and garlic to frying pan, cook and stir occasionally for 3-4 minutes or until tender.
5. Sprinkle Moroccan seasoning over onion and stir until well combined.
6. Stir in apricot nectar, bring to the boil and reduce heat to low. Return the chicken to frying pan.
7. Add apricot and cover and cook for 20 minutes in low heat. Stir on and off to prevent the sauce from drying out. If the sauce dry up too fast before the chicken is done, add 50ml more of water.
8. Cook until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened.
9. Next sprinkle some chopped parsley and roasted cashew nut on top before sever.

Notes: If you don't have Apricot Nectar and Moroccan Seasoning, please refer to the recipe below.

Apricot Nectar
1 Can Of Apricot In syrup(about 825g)

1. Blend the apricot with some of it's syrup in a blend until smooth to produce about 450ml of apricot puree.

Moroccan Seasoning Mix
Ingredients:(make 8 tablespoons)
5 Teaspoons Nutmeg
5 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
5 Teaspoons Ground Coriander
2 1/2 Teaspoons Ground All Spice
2 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
1 1/4 Teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
1 1/4 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

1. Place all the spices in a food processor and blend well.
2. You can store the blended spice in an air-tigh container in the fridge.

Notes: You can used either Drumsticks, Chicken Thigh on Bone or Marylands for this recipe. Posted by Picasa