Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Moringa or Malunggay Vegetable/ Plant 辣木

I first heard about this wonder plant in a not-so-pleasant encounter, and it happened to someone. My parents' helper fell, inflicted a deep cut on her leg, and bled profusely. Instead of off-the-counter medication on the wound, she applied a natural green paste which she told me will be sufficient to clean the wound, stop the bleeding and gradually heal the wound.

I did not ask her how the paste was formed but malunggay leaves was the answer. She said the leaves are very common in Philippines - as cooking ingredient; and times in need like this - to clean sores, and wounds.

I got a few pointers from her on how to use malunggay leaves in cooking, and she say "easy!". Soups, curries, stir-fries. Rice, noodles, even egg omelettes! The key is not to over-cook them. Simply add them to the dishes towards the end of cooking, and they will just "meld" in the dish, fast.

You might be unfamiliar with this word "malunggay" but in the US, you may have heard moringa more often. Moringa - the superfood, that has risen fast in the US, and more often marketed and sold as moringa powder.

I bought a packet of malunggay when I saw them in Lion Supermarket, San Jose; and have since cooked them in several ways (below). Meantime, perhaps you can share how you have used malunggay vegetable/plant in cooking.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Apple, Blueberry, Bean, Cucumber Salad with Feta Cheese 苹果蓝莓黄瓜杂豆沙拉

This summer, I made more salads than any other last summer(s). Not because it was unusually hot (it is always hot in summer); but because I was unusually "lazy" - looking for ways to make quick and easy meals out of salads.  The type of salad which is "made-ahead-instant-the-next" and importantly, able to stand alone as a meal.

With a basic bean salad, build on it by adding more greens (e.g. broccoli, lettuce, arugula, cucumber, avocado) whenever possible, and throwing in seasonal fruits such as blueberries and stone-fruits e.g. nectarines and peaches. Towards end of summer, start thinking about organic apples for the added crunch (and its health benefits of course!). Call it shoulder-season salad, or summer-fall salad.

Look at these other fruit-inspired side-salads e.g. Blackberry, Cucumber, Radish, Orange Salad and Cucumber, Carrot, Dried Mulberry Salad-Pickle.

Why "made-ahead and instant the next"? The bean salad can be prepared the night before, store/chill in the fridge and the next day, add the freshly prepared greens, and carbs (the fastest one for me is whole-wheat couscous).

An instant healthy lunch can be put together in no time. It is also a balanced meal with vegetables (fiber), beans, egg and cheese (protein) and pasta/couscous (carbs).

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Pesto Salmon 青酱三文鱼/鲑鱼

With salmon in season, I have been making roasted salmon quite regularly. It is an easy and healthy meal to put together - roast the salmon and steam some vegetables.

I usually marinate the salmon with spices - curry powder, ground turmeric, ground coriander, cumin, and black pepper. But since there is homemade pesto available, why not use it as the marinade?

Today, we will have Pesto Salmon, packed with Omega-3s as found in the fish itself and the walnuts in the pesto. Such a fuss-free recipe is a perfect weekday savior, as 30 minutes or less is what it takes for this healthy and delicious dish. It is also a good way to give salmon a quick make-over when the regular grilled/oven-roasted salmon occasionally becomes boring.