Category Archives: Food

Tao Suan / Mung Beans Desert

Tao Suan or Mung beans desert is one of my favorite desert. This desert is served hot and with slices of fried fritters or You Tiao. It is commonly available in hawker centers, food courts and some Chinese restaurants in Singapore and Malaysia. Eating Tao Suan is quite similar to eating porridge as the beans are soaked in sticky liquid. You can eat this anytime of the day or even night.

 

A bowl of Tao Suan with fried fritters.

 

According to Chinese beliefs, Tao Suan is a cooling food, it helps to keep the body cool and it is nutritious too. Mung beans is low in saturated fats and it contains lots of protein, dietary fibers, magnesium and vitamins. When I am hungry in the mid afternoon, a bowl of Tao Suan would keep hunger away for a few hours; and gives me the energy to work throughout the day. I prefer to eat this desert with less sugar and more mung beans – so I go for desert stall selling it with less sugar and sometimes I would order extra fried fritters to top it up.

This peanut porridge is also a common food for breakfast. The texture of porridge is almost similar to Tao Suan.

 

The cost of a bowl of Tao Suan is quite cheap, normally less than US$2, unless you are having it in some fancy Chinese restaurant.It is nutritious and delicious; and I would order it 2 or 3 times every month.

 

5 in 1 Tongkat Ali and Ginseng Coffee

I saw this 5 in 1 coffee that was on sale while I was in Melaka, Malaysia. I have seen 4 in 1 coffee; but 5 in 1 coffee is something refreshing to me. The brand is Meet U and printed on the pack was that it contained  20 stick packs of 30gm coffee. The 5 ingredients that made up this coffee are 1) White Coffee 2) Tongkat Ali extract 3 ) Ginseng extract 4) Sugar 5) Non diary creamer. And the instruction was to pour all the contents into a cup and add 180ml to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee. This coffee is manufactured in Melaka, Malaysia.

5 in 1 Tongkat Ali & Ginseng Coffee

So I decided to buy this coffee and bring it back home to try out the taste. Tongkat Ali herbs is commonly consumed in Asia by men who want to enhance their sexual performance and to improve their health. It is almost perceived to be liked Viagra in Malaysia and Indonesia. And Ginseng is a health tonic that improves our health and vitality. But I guess the amount of Tongkat Ali and Ginseng added onto this coffee should be very marginal to have any significant impact on our body. So I don’t expect any enhancement in my overall well being after drinking this coffee.

5 in 1 Tongkat Ali & Ginseng Coffee

After adding hot boiling water into the coffee cup, I could smell the strong aroma of coffee emitting from the cup. I stirred it thoroughly to make sure that the contents are properly dissolved. My verdict is that the 5 in 1 Tongkat Ali with Ginseng coffee taste good. It is not too sweet nor was there any strange taste of herbs in it. In fact, it tasted just liked the normal instant coffee. But the taste and smell was nice and it is quite creamy too.

5 in 1 Tongkat Ali & Ginseng Coffee

I told my friend that I felt no special effect or POWER on my body after drinking it. No increased in sexual desire, no extra vitality or strength – just as I expected. But I do feel more alert and less sleepy. I normally take a short nap in the afternoon; but after drinking this coffee – I was alert throughout the whole afternoon. Anyway it is a nice cup of coffee, do buy a pack and try it out if it is available in your country.

Golden Pears Helps to Relieve Cough

Whenever I have a flu, the cough symptom would also accompany it. For most cases, the cough would disappear a few days after the flu is gone. However there would be a few occasions whereby the cough stayed on even when I have recovered from the flu. Sometimes I think it is the cold air from the air-conditioned office that makes it worse. The throat would be itchy and dry; and drinking lots of water does give temporary relief. Also I would avoid eating fried, barbecue, spicy and oily food and take lots of vegetables and fruits.

One of the best fruit to eat for relieving a cough is to eat a golden pear. This is a method that I have learned from a colleague of mine. Most of the golden pear sold in the supermarkets originate either from Korea or China. The Korean golden pear taste nicer but it is more expensive. I would normally buy some golden pears and eat it in the office or at home. You can also turn them into pear juice and drink it straight from the cup. Golden pears does help to relieve the cough and also get rid of the irritating phlegm in your body. It is very cooling and refreshing and it helps to dispel the heat in the body. The golden pear is an alkaline fruit  and it contains lots of minerals, vitamins and fiber. Whenever I am thirsty, eating one golden pear would immediately quench my thirst as the fruit is very juicy and it contains lot of water. It is very suitable for those people having fever, as it is a cooling fruit.

 

Golden Pear

 

The golden pears are round in shape and are much larger than the European pears. Personally, I prefer to eat golden pears as it is much more juicer and sweeter. I have seen some people peeling the skin of the golden pear before eating it, this is just a personal preference. My friend also recommends another method to relieve cough – cut the pears into pieces and placed it in a pot of water; add some almonds and honey – boiled it for about 1 hour either using a double boiler or a slow cooker. When it is ready, simply serve it warm in a bowl. This is a remedy used by the Chinese traditional medicine to relieve cough and getting rid of the phlegm.

 

Golden Pear

 

Boh Camerion Tea from Malaysia

I always drink tea in the morning when I have my breakfast. I am not the guy that have traditional breakfast every morning – that is eating bread, eggs with cheese, butter or jam. I enjoy eating a different type of food in the morning.  In Malaysia and Singapore, I can enjoy having Chinese, Malay, Indian or Continental breakfast – so my breakfast can consists of Indian roti prata, Malay nasi lemak, Chinese century egg porridge or simply toast bread with kaya. One thing will always be consistent; and that is I will always have a cup of English tea every morning. A good cup of tea can really lift up my spirit for the day.

Most of the time when we think of tea, we would think Lipton or  Earl Grey tea. Both are good quality tea which I have them in my home. Recently while I was at the supermarket doing my shopping, I notice a tea which I have not tried before and it is the Boh Camerion Tea. So I decided to buy this pack of tea which consists of 25 tea bags; and each tea bag is packed individually in a sealed foil which will preserve the freshness of each tea bag. I have drank the normal Boh Cameron Highlands tea before and it is the tea that I drank when I was young. As I grew older and hopefully wiser, I switched to Lipton adn Earl Grey tea.

 

Boh Camerion Tea from Malaysia

 

On the box of the Boh Camerion Tea it states that “only the tender shoots of the Manipuri and Rajghur jats are picked to ensure excellence of quality.” I have no idea what this is all about but the real test is the taste. So I took out one foil, cut it open and took out the tea bag. I placed the tea bag close to my nose and smell it – it has the fragrance and fresh smell. I put the tea bag in a cup and add hot boiling water and let it brew for about 5 minutes. I did not add any sugar or milk in it as that will mask or change the taste and smell of the tea. My verdict after drinking it is that the Boh Camerion Tea is a great tea. It has a very nice aroma and smooth lingering feeling in my mouth. Then I add one sachet of sugar to the tea and the taste of Boh Camerion Tea is seems to be enhanced by this sachet of sugar.

Boh Camerion Tea - Each tea bag is packed in individual foil

 

I am a little surprised that Malaysia can produce such wonderful tea. The Boh Camerion Tea cost more and I think it is worth the price. It is a premium tea which I enjoy drinking and will definitely be a part of my morning cup of tea in the future.

 

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Sliced Fish Curry

When I asked my friend whether she would liked to join me to have a meal – the main course would be the Sliced Fish Curry, my friend have the impression that we would be going to an Indian restaurant. It is a common impression that Indians cook the best curry dish and generally I have to agree to it. I told her that we are going to a Chinese restaurant to try out the Sliced Fish in Curry gravy. Many Chinese restaurants who offer curry dishes in their menu would make it less spicy and hot. The most common curry dishes in the menu would be – curry fish head, curry chicken, curry beef and curry mixed vegetables.

 

Sliced Fish Curry

 

I ordered this Sliced Fish Curry when I was in a Malaysia and the taste was really good. The sliced fish and vegetables that goes into the curry was very fresh and the curry gravy was thick and not too spicy and hot. I am thinking that I want to try cooking this curry dish at home. Nowadays I could buy read mixed curry paste from the local supermarket. All you need to do is to add water and coconut milk to the ready mixed curry mixture. Then you add in all your ingredients liked sliced fish and vegetables. I enjoy eating curry especially during the cold weather months or raining day as this meal will keep my body warm. Besides that, eating curry is also beneficial to health – as tumeric which belongs to the ginger family and used in the making of curry has antioxidant properties. It helps to prevent cancer and gives relief to the inflammation of joints.

 

Sliced Fish Curry. Add vegetables and potatoes for great tasting Curry dish.

 

My friend told me that the Sliced Fish Curry tasted very good and she would tried to cook it at home. The cost of this Sliced Fish Curry was US$8 for a serving of 2 persons – very reasonable in price. I think what makes it stand out is the fresh fish and vegetables – well cooked but not overcooked and the thick curry gravy. If you are going to try preparing this dish, remember not to overcooked the fish; otherwise the sliced fish would taste hard and dry. Adding in potatoes and lady fingers can make the Sliced Fish Curry taste better.

How Effective is Slimming Tea for Weigh Loss

I have seen many variety of slimming tea being sold in the retail stores, supermarkets and in pharmacies.  Even in the newspapers and magazines, it is common to see an advertisement on slimming tea – proclaiming how effective it is in helping people to lose weight. I think it is important to take all these claims with a pinch of salt and be more conservative in our approach on this matter. Some of the slimming tea contains different herbs combined together in a tea bag for consumption. The issue I have with herbs is that we may have an adverse effect if we consumed it excessively. Normally the side effects are hunger spams, allergy, constipation, diarrhea, headache, etc.

Personally I do take 2 types of Chinese tea which have traditionally known to assist people in weight loss; and they are Oolong and Iron Buddha tea. Both of these Chinese tea have been known to be beneficial for our body as it contains Polyphenol which helps to remove free radicals and prevent cancer. Studies have also shown that Oolong tea helps to burn calories in our body faster than drinking green tea. There are companies which sell slimming tea and they claimed that their tea would helped to reduce your craving for carbohydrates; and would also prevent you from constant snacking. Personally I think carbohydrates are important to us, it is however important to choose the right food – whole grains, fruits and vegetables are good source of carbohydrates. We should avoid carbohydrates derived from unhealthy food such as white rice, pastries, sugared sodas, etc as these food would contribute to weight gain.

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Iron Buddha and Oolong Tea

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I have been drinking both Oolong and Iron Buddha tea for more than 20 years – as I started drinking Chinese tea when I was just a young kid. My parents would normally brewed either Oolong or Iron Buddha in a big traditional Chinese tea pot; and you just add hot water to top it up when the pot was empty. Let me also explain the difference between Oolong and Iron Buddha tea. Both are similar in the sense that they are Oolong tea. Many tea analyst would rank Iron Buddha as the No. 1 Oolong tea as it has a unique fresh aroma. Iron Buddha tea are much darker in color; whereas Oolong tea is lighter in color and also in taste. Does Oolong and Iron Buddha tea helped me in maintaining my weight or effective in weigh loss? Yes I believe it does, because my body weight has been quite consistent most of the time. The problem of weight gain for me is when I started to eat much more for about one month or more. So if I overeat, then drinking Chinese tea would not help me to reduce my weight at all. In fact the most effective method for me to lose weight is a combination of actions which I would do daily – exercise, eat less, sleep more, drink more Oolong and Iron Buddha tea and less stress.

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Iron Buddha and Oolong Tea

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My view of Oolong and Iron Buddha as a slimming tea is that they does help you to keep your weight in check to a certain level. But you still need to moderate on food consumption and go for daily exercise. Both of these teas are good for health and definitely I can attest that there are no side effects at all even if you drink it daily for many years. I have been drinking Oolong and Iron Buddha tea daily for more than 20 years. The photo in this blog show the exact brand of Oolong and Iron Buddha tea which I am drinking right now. On the left is Iron Buddha Tea ( Ti Kuan Yin ) and on the right is Oolong Tea. The brand name is Ten Ren and it is made in Taiwan. There are 20 teabags in each box and each tea bag is individually sealed in a small packaging bag. I liked the quality and the taste of Ten Ren brand of Chinese tea. The price is higher than some other brands of similar tea, but to me it is worth it.

 

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Bananas is a Slimming Fruit

I have been trying to lose some weight for the past few months.  If you have read my previous blog – Lose Weight By Walking, I am targeting a weight reduction of about 7 to10 kg in 3 months. Now that I have started on a exercise program of walking about 4 km everyday, I have also change my diet to complement this weight loss program than I have started. During lunchtime, I have switch from the normal meal of rice, meat and vegetables to bananas, plain biscuits and oranges.

Bananas is a tropical fruit that is easily available in the supermarkets. I would normally buy the green unripe bananas from the supermarket and it will be good for eating the next day. I would normally leave the bananas hanging on the window frame of the kitchen window. I try not to eat fully ripe yellow bananas as it is too soft and taste very sweet. A bunch of six bananas would normally last 2 days – eating 3 bananas per day. Some people says that bananas will make you fat because of the carbohydrate / starch content in this fruit. That is why when you eat bananas you will feel full and not feel hungry for hours. But bananas contains less carbohydrate and fats compared to rice, beef burgers and pizza. Also bananas has very little fat content – in fact it is almost fat free. There are lots of minerals and potassium found in bananas which helps to maintain healthy blood pressure. When I eat bananas daily, I noticed that I have good regular bowel movements due to the high fiber content in this fruit.

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Bananas is a Slimming Fruit

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Eating bananas, plain biscuits and an orange for lunch has helped me to cut down on the heavy lunch that I normally take – such as rice, noodles or fast food meals. My stomach does not feel so heavy and I don’t have the sleepy feeling that is associated after taking a heavy meal. Though my lunch is lighter, I feel more energetic and continue with my daily walking exercise in the evening – without the feeling of hunger or tiredness. Of course it is not easy to replace your normal lunch meal with bananas everyday. There are days when I just feel like having a normal lunch and I just proceed with having my meal at the food courts or restaurant. Bananas is also good as a healthy snack whenever I feel hungry in between meals.  Previously, I used to eat potato chips or peanut butter bread during snack; but now it is bananas and fruits.

Tongkat Ali for Men

I have just met up with an old friend of mine in Malaysia; and he had told me that he feels more energetic and stronger these days. He revealed his secret – he had started takes Tongkat Ali supplement regularly. My friend is in his forties, slightly bald and overweight. He told me that he had been taking this health supplement for the past 2 months and he did not experience any side effects. In fact, he said that Tongkat Ali had helped him to build up more muscles, it gives him more energy to do exercise, better mental focus on his daily work and his sex life had also improved slightly. He said that he suffered from mild erectile dysfunction just liked so many men in his age group. He said that his erectile strength is now much stronger than before.

I read many reviews on the internet that Tongkat Ali helps in production of more testosterone in men. Typically men in their forties onwards will have low testosterone level. An increase of testosterone level will assist these middle age men to build up muscle mass, reduce weight, decrease body fat and improve in sexual performance. I heard from quite a number of my male friends in Malaysia and Indonesia that Tongkat Ali in fact does work; but you have to consume it for a considerable period of time for it to be effective. I think that before taking any health supplement, it would be advisable to consult your doctor first; especially if you are suffering from illness such as high blood pressure, diabetics, high cholesterol level, hypertension, etc. Because all these herbs can also have a negative effect or cause damage to our health if we consume them without proper supervision.

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Tongkat Ali for Men

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My friend told me that he does not consume the Tongkat Ali daily. In fact he take them on a one day on/one day off basis, that is on alternative day. Even though the recommended dosage on the bottle was to take 2 pills in the morning and 2 pills in the night, he said that he only takes one pill in the morning and one pill at night. He bought the Rainforest brand of Tongkat Ali as he felt that it is safer; as it has been approved by the Malaysia Health Authority. Anyway, you can buy this supplement from any pharmacy such as Guardian or Watsons store in Malaysia. I am glad that he takes general precaution to prevent overdose of this herbal supplement. In fact I saw Tongkat Ali coffee bags being sold in supermarket, which I think would not have much effect due to its low herbal content.

From what I gathered from my male friends in Malaysia and Indonesia, Tongkat Ali does in fact helps men to regain their energy and sexual desire and performance. I understand that quite a number of bodybuilders consume this herbal supplement to gain muscle mass. But we must not see it as a miracle or performance herbal supplement. I always hold the view that any herbs or drugs will definitely have side effects and so Tongkat Ali is of no exception. So long as we buy reputable brand of Tongkat Ali and consume it with the advice from our doctors, we should have a piece of mind.

 

 

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Food Poisoning and Diarrhoea Prevention When Travelling

The recent outbreak of E.coli in Germany, UK, Denmark, Sweden and now moving to United States is a concern especially for those who travel frequently. Food poisoning and diarrhoea are quite common illness that could happened to anyone when traveling. I feel that having this sickness is even worse than having flu. Because if I am having flu, I still could go about doing my normal activities; though there will be so discomfort such as coughing or breathing. When we are on holidays normally we are in a relaxed and off guard mood; and would liked to eat different exotic food or food prepared in many different ways.  But there are steps that we can take to prevent food poisoning and diarrhoea from happening to us when traveling in a foreign country.

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Fried Noodles with seafood that is well cooked

 

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I remembered vividly an incident of bad food poisoning happened to me.  I was down and out with vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea when I was in Jakarta. I remembered passing out liquid stools 3 times within one hour and vomiting till I have nothing left in my stomach. It was hell and at that time I thought I would collapsed from exhaustion in the hotel room. But I knew what to do as I had previous experience of food poisoning and diarrhoea before. I took the medication which is Smecta and replacement fluid – Pocari which is an isotonic drink throughout the day and night and it worked again. I was well again the next day though still in recovery mode.

Since then, I have stick to a process or best practises with regard to eating food whenever I travel; whether it is for work or leisure.  I have listed the important ones here.

a)  never to eat raw food – whether it is meat, seafood or vegetables ( salad ).

b) not to drink water from the tap.

c) buy bottled water or beverages only from established supermarkets and never buy water from street vendors.

d) eat food that is hot and cooked on the spot when ordered. If I am eating steak or meat, it must be well done.

f) when eating fruits, I would normally choose fruits with skin which I have to peel or cut off like bananas, oranges, mangoes, mangosteen or even durians. I would avoid eating water melons and papayas.

g) always wash you hands and cutlery especially when handling and eating fruits.

h) if I have a feeling that the food or drink that I am about to consume is unclean, I will not eat it – period. I would not compromise even if I have to offend that person who offered this food to me for free.

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Well cooked Fried Eggs added with prawns, mushrooms and vegetables.

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Some of my friends told me that eating fresh vegetables is safe so long as you take the steps to wash and rinse it properly. They recommended that the raw vegetables should be wash and then soak in a water added with white vinegar and salt for at least 30 minutes. Thereafter simply rinse the vegetables again with clean water. This would killed the bacteria that are in the raw vegetables. I have not tried this method yet and I am not sure whether it works. But I know that white vinegar and salt can kill bacteria – but can vinegar and salt eliminate all types of bacteria found in the vegetables – that is still questionable. Well, since this is how my friends prepare their vegetables salads all the time – I think this method should work and the raw vegetables should be safe to eat.

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Smecta Medicine

 

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I understand that there is no 100% fool proof way to prevent food poisoning and diarrhoea; which is why I always bring along medicine with me when I traveling. In case of acute diarrhoea, I would opened up 2 sachets of Smecta, mixed it with mineral water and consumed it.  If the diarrhoea still persist after 4 hours, I would consumed another 2 sachets of Smecta medicine again; otherwise I would normally take this medicine in a 6 hours interval throughout the day. Then I would drink Pocari or any isotonic drink throughout the day/night and take only small amount of dry food such as biscuits – strictly no milk, alcohol or spicy food. Drinking lots of isotonic drink would helped to prevent dehydration in our body. Taking hot rice porridge can also helped to relieve the aching pain in the stomach. Normally this method would work for me and I would recovered the next day. However, if the condition get worse, then the best option is to see the doctor. For those who are less frequent travelers or traveling with kids, it is best to consult your doctor before the overseas trips; they would normally give you the necessary advice and medicine to bring along.

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Smecta Medicine - Effective Relief of Diarrhoea

 

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Pizza Hut – Hut’s Platter

For most of my friends who goes to Pizza Hut for lunch or dinner, the main course that they would have are pizza, chicken wings or baked rice.  I think this is the norm, I mean Pizza Hut is famous for its pizza. Sometimes I do get bored eating pizza all the time and I would looked into the other type of food that are available there.  When I am eating at Pizza Hut in Malaysia, I will normally browse the Appetizers section of the menu.  They have many selection of food at this section – garlic bread, chicken wings, cheese baked meatballs, masala spin roll and also one of my favorite which is the Hut’s Platter.

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Pizza Hut - Hut's Platter

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The Hut’s Platter is a meal consisting of Tempura King Prawns, Tempura Calamari Rings and Criss-cut Fries served with Cool Lime Mayo sauce. The cost of this meal is approx US$4.90 which I think is very reasonable.  If I would to eat the Hut’s Platter by myself, then this would be my main course because it is quite a lot of food in that platter. The Hut’s Platter would be deemed to be a unhealthy food as it is deep fried and with salt content in the prawns, fries, calamari rings and also the mayo sauce. So I make it a point not to eat it too frequently. The only complaint I have about this Hut’s Platter is the Tempura King prawns. I felt that the King prawns should be bigger in size; after all that is what been stated in the menu – KING Prawn. I noted that the size of the prawns being served were that of medium size and not King size – so it quite a disappointment in this regard. Overall I love the Hut’s Platter and I would shared it with my friends when I ordered it  – because I would not want to miss eating the delicious pizzas as well.

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Pizza Hut Malaysia - Hut Platter Meal

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Chinese Seafood Claypot

I enjoy eating Chinese Seafood claypot for dinner as it is a wholesome and delicious meal. Food that is cook using clay-pot taste better as it requires very little oil and the flavor of the food is seal inside the clay pot. Remember to soak the clay pot in water for about one hour before you start using it to prevent it from cracking during cooking. To wash up the clay pot, there is no need to use any liquid detergent, just scrub some salt  on the clay pot, rinse it and then soak it in hot water. Thereafter, make sure you let it dry before storing it away – this is to prevent mold from growing in the clay pot.

Now back to the Chinese Seafood clay pot – it is an easy food to prepare for the family. The ingredients that you want to add is totally flexible. I will give you my style of cooking Chinese Seafood clay pot. You can serve 5 to 6  persons which makes it a family dinner meal. You need to use a large size clay pot for this recipe.

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Chinese Seafood Claypot

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Ingredients

1)  16 large prawns, removed the shelled and de-veined.

2)  200 grams of broccoli – wash and sliced.

3)  12 button mushroom – sliced halved.

4)  10 dried mushroom – soak in water to soften.

5)  8 pieces of black fungus – wash and cut into halve

6)  carrots, snow peas, Chinese cabbage – just add in accordance to preference.

7)  200 gm of chicken meat – sliced into pieces

8)  ginger slices, chopped garlic and chopped spring onions.

9) 2 tablespoon Chinese rice wine and 1 or 2 tablespoon corn starch

10)  pepper, light and dark soy sauce and sesame oil.

1.  Season the chicken pieces with light soy sauce and small amount of pepper and let it marinate.

2.  Put some cooking oil in the clay pot and put in the ginger, chopped garlic, chopped spring onions – saute it till it is fragrant.

3.  Put in the marinate chicken and some rice wine and stir fry it for 1 to 2 minutes.

4.  Add in the rest of the ingredients – that is prawns, vegetables and mushrooms, toss and stir fry briefly.

5.  Pour in the chicken broth or just plain water and let it boil for about 15 to 20 minutes. Once it is boiling you can add the corn starch to make the broth thicken.

6.  Add some light soy sauce and pepper. If you want the broth to look darker, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of dark soy sauce.

7.  If you do not want your prawns to be overcooked. you could put in the prawns after the broth starts to boil – so that it is cooked for about 5 minutes.

8.  Add in one or 2 drop of sesame oil and it is ready to serve.

Try this recipe out and you can later improved upon it based your taste and preferences. Some people like to add slices of fish meat and squids, while others prefer more vegetables – the choice is yours. I am very sure that you will enjoy eating this meal as it is very delicious and nutritious; and you can taste that the flavors of this food is being locked in by the clay pot.

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Chinese Seafood Claypot

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Chinese Boiled Peanuts

One of the common food that you can find in a Chinese restaurant is the boiled peanuts. It is normally served as a starter dish when you eat in the Chinese restaurant. The taste of the boiled peanuts is sweet with a little salty flavor; and the texture of the peanuts is soft as it as been boiled for a couple of hours. The Chinese boiled peanuts goes well with porridge; and in fact if you go to any Chinese porridge stall, you can order this food separately. I enjoy eating boiled peanuts as it is delicious and easy on the stomach. There is no excessive oil or spices needed to enhance the flavor of this simple food and yet it has it own unique aroma and taste. Many of my friends including myself can eat this food almost non stop; casually chewing the sweet and soft peanuts with a couple of beers.

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Chinese Boiled Peanuts

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I understand from a friend that to make the Chinese boiled peanuts, you need to soak the peanuts for about 6 hours or more. Thereafter, you rinse it and put it in a cooker, pot or a pressure cooker. Add water, sugar and salt and start the cooking process. I think using the pressure cooker will make the peanut softer and reduce cooking time. If you taste the gravy of the peanut, it is light brown in color and it taste sweet and slightly salty. I think the longer you cook the peanut, the tastier it will become; as the peanut will absorb the flavors of the sugar and salt.Unlike the roasted peanuts, the Chinese boiled peanuts is not a heaty food and will not give you a sore throat if you consume too many. I saw boiled peanuts being sold in cans at many supermarkets. But those sold in the supermarkets are either too sweet or salty in taste. Normally I would drain away the light gravy and then rinse the peanuts with hot water; thereafter the peanuts will not taste too salty or sweet.

Simple Plain Porridge

Porridge is a food that can be eaten at any time of the day. To millions of Chinese, porridge is as important as eating rice.  When we eat plain porridge, it is normally served together with either sweet peanuts, salted egg, salted dried fish, pickled lettuce or century egg. There are also other variation of Chinese porridge. The commonly types available in food stalls are chicken porridge, fish porridge, pork porridge, century egg porridge and peanut porridge.  I think one of the reason why popular is so popular among the Chinese is that it is a light meal that is easy to prepare, eat and nutritious. In fact many people who are sick, especially the old folks prefer to eat porridge rather than rice.

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Simple Porridge or Congee

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When I prepare porridge, I will use Thailand white fragrance rice and wash the rice thoroughly in water. I will stir the grains with my hands until the water turns murky white in color and will rinse the water away. When the uncooked rice has been thoroughly clean, I will add water into the rice cooker pot. I use the Japanese rice cooker with a porridge function. It is very easy to use as the rice cooker is programmed to cook porridge or rice congee without any fuss. You can of course prepare porridge using the traditional stove pot or slow cooker, but you need to check on the progress to ensure that it is cook properly. There is no perfect way to cook porridge and you can actually change the texture of the porridge by the amount of water that you add ( start with less and you can later add more if you want ) and the time duration. Anyway, you simply experiment it until you get the ideal porridge that you think is right for you.

Sometimes I enjoy eating porridge with a plate of sardine, fried onion eggs and Chinese bread stick called youtiao ( you char kway). Porridge can also be a very nutritious meal for the sick and weak. I would recommend cooking porridge with mushrooms, ginger slices and chicken or fish porridge with slices of fresh fish, ginger and mushrooms. I have also seen  porridge cook with ginseng and chicken for those who needs vitality and strength.

Eating Fruits for Weight Loss

A friend of mine who is overweight had told me that he wanted to try a new diet to reduce his weight. He says that he will eat only fruits for lunch everyday. His daily meal will consists of a light breakfast, a selection of fruits for lunch and a normal dinner. Normal dinner for him consists of chicken, fish, vegetables and soup. Due to the long hours of work, he has hardly time for exercise. So does eating fruits only during lunch time for purpose of weight loss work?

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Eating Fruits for Weight Loss

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I think that eating fruits as a replacement meal may not work for the purpose of weight loss.  My reason is because many fruits contains a high level of sugar content Even though some people may argue that the sugar found in fruits are natural sugar, it is still basically sugar. Common fruits like water melon, papayas, honey dew, durians, etc have a high level of sugar content. My method will be to have a vegetable soup and a small slices of fruits for lunch if I want to lose weight. Of course, I believe that it is important to exercise everyday for at least 3 times a week. In our quest to reduce weight, we should not go overboard with one particular type of food but to look at variety of food that can bring a wholesome benefit to our overall health.

Anyway, after one month of experiment with his new method of dieting, there is hardly any reduction in weight loss, even though he claimed that he is now more healthy. Perhaps it will take many more months before he can see progress in his weight loss program; but eating fruits does bring benefits to his health so long as it is done in moderation. I did advice him to eat more vegetables, mushrooms and nuts; and eat less of fried chicken and curry. One thing I am sure is that eating too much of chicken rice, fried chicken and curry does make us fat and put on more weight. Because it happen to me about a year, and my weight increase by 5 kg because of all these delicious food. Daily exercise has helped me tremendously to maintain my optimal weight and also strengthen my muscles and body. In fact, I have found that daily exercise had helped me to become more alert and less fatigue.

Mulberry Jam

There are so many variety of jams in the market. Most common types of jams are Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Raspberry, Black current,  Traditional Kaya and so on. Normally I will buy different types of jams each month; but I will always have the peanut butter and tradtional kaya jams in my fridge. These 2 types of jams are what I describe as ‘core’ or essential jams that I must have.  I was pleasantly surprised to find Mulberry jam being sold in a health exhibition and I bought it straight away. It is hard to find Mulberry jam being sold in even large supermarkets or even bakery stores.

The sales staff who sold this Mulberry jam told me that the Mulberry jam  is from Taiwan He has made a Mulberry drink from the jam and it taste very delicious. The taste is somewhat similar to Ribena drink. The selling price for one glass jar of Mulberry jam is RM29 which is quite close to US$9.50 for a net weight of 600gm. It is quite expensive for a fruit jam but it is worth the price. Once the glass jar is open, the jam needs to be stored in the refrigerator. I told the staff at the booth that they should look into selling this jam through supermarkets and bread chain stores.  The price of this jam should also be lower by 20% so that more consumers can afford to buy this jam.

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Mulberry is used in Chinese medicine as a tonic for the blood. The Mulberry fruit is good for the treatment of weakness, fatigue, anemia, and act as a tonic to nourish the blood.  I understand from my friend that Mulberry fruit is good for the maintenance of healthy hairs and it contains of Vitamin C and minerals. After eating Mulberry jams,  my appetite has improved tremendously; and I feel more energetic too. So this is one jam that I like to stock up in my fridge everyday but the problem is of course the difficulty in getting it, as it is not commonly available in major supermarkets.