One has probably heard about bone broth (made from beef, pork, chicken, fish) and veggie broth, but Heather Dane really explained well why we need bone broth, especially after age 40! The star in bone broth – collagen – supports, strengthens, cushions, provides structure, and holds the body together like glue, according to Heather. If your body starts to lose collagen, no wonder you can feel more aches and pains, have wrinkles, thinner hair, and eye problems, experience loss of muscle tone, have digestive issues, etc. Bone broth is also the key ingredient to many tasty Chinese soups such as this wonton soup (Hong Kong-style) and this 5-minute veggie soup (add animal protein if you like). I have personally experienced really really tasty Shanghainese wonton soup in the streets of Shanghai – the secret is no doubt their long and well-simmered bone broth!
I love to eat tempeh, which is the less processed form of tofu. It has a nutty taste and a firm texture, produced by cooking and fermenting whole soybeans and then pressing them into a dense patty (source: Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen). Since tempeh does not have a whole lot of flavour, I scratch my head sometimes to make them tasty until I read Kris Carr’s recipe of Madeira Peppercorn Tempeh in her latest cookbook. The recipe uses ginger, kombu, sea salt and sliced garlic to make a soup base to simmer the tempeh before frying the tempeh.
Kombu! It is an edible kelp, a large seaweed (the green algae family), and contains an abundance of vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, proteins, and enzymes. Sea vegetables are actually a popular ingredient of Asian cooking (in soup and broth) although they are less used in the Western cuisines. The many health benefits of sea vegetables can be found here and here. Kombu, when added to beans, can also lessen the gas-producing effect. Kombu/kelp is naturally salty and is usually salted for storage, which makes it a good substitute of salt.
Here is my own Tempeh recipe – Tempeh Soup with Kelp and Swiss Chard
- Add bits of ginger, chopped kombu, sliced garlic, and sea salt (optional) to a boiling pan of water. Then lower the heat to simmer the tempeh.
- Add some onions, fresh basil leaves, and cooking wine to the simmering soup. Cook for about 20 minutes.
- Then put in swiss chard to cook for 3 more minutes. Season with more sea salt and pepper if suited.
Viola! A very yummy tempeh soup. Let me know if you have other secret sauce in your soup or your favourite way of eating tempeh.
Drawing ideas from own experiences and from the web, I have picked 3 comfort drinks/soups to share with you in this colder weather.
1. Tumeric Milk Tea
Not discouraged by the unusual combination of ingredients, I found this recipe adopted from Mark’s Daily Apple‘s very soothing and tasty.
(photo courtesy of http://www.marksdailyapple.com)
Coconut or almond milk, ginger (peeled and finely-chopped), sprinkles of tumeric, a dash of cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of agave honey or other natural sweetener and a sprinkle of cinnamon (optional).
Boil the coconut or almond milk with the chopped ginger, then mix in the tumeric, cayenne pepper and honey. Stir until no lumps. Pour into a mug, then sprinkle some cinnamon if desired.
TUMERIC – according to this study, “”curcumin [main ingredient of tuemric] has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic illnesses.”
2. Cocoa Coffee
Thinking about it already makes my mouth water – my preferences are warmed almond milk to creamer and dark cocoa to instant hot chocolate mix.
COCOA – a Harvard analysis shows that consuming flavonoid-rich cocoa is associated with “decreased blood pressure, improved blood vessel health, and improvement in cholesterol levels, and may reduce the risk factors for diabetes.
3. Sweet potato ginger soup
This is an absolute delight for the stomach and tummy in winter, popular among Chinese people for desserts.
(organic) sweet potato (peeled and cut in chunks), (organic) black sugar*, ginger (peeled and sliced).
Boil the sweet potato with ginger in water until the sweet potato starts to soften, then add some black sugar for taste.
SWEET POTATO – contains lots of fibre, heart-healthy-Vitamin B6 and potassium, manganese for controlling blood sugar and the antioxidants Vitamin A,C & E.
BLACK SUGAR – is a healthier form of sugar containing molasses, plus potassium, iron, calcium and other minerals.
GINGER – has many health benefits including alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress and have therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.
I was really inspired by Jules Clancy’s recent post and her mushroom soup recipe, so I want to share it here. Jules took the time to read an anti-cancer book because one of her blog readers, a cancer patient, recommended her that book and asked if she had any anti-cancer recipes based on the book. Mushroom contains anti-cancer agents. For example, the shiitake mushroom contains an anti-cancer compound, potentially stimulating the immune system and triggering some cells and proteins to attack cancer cells. Mushroom should be used for more than a pizza or burger topping!
I made the really simple mushroom soup tonight which was so smooth and delicious! The soup is super healthy too, and I felt more energetic after drinking it. I adapted from Jules’ recipes:
2 onions, peeled & chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
500g (1lb) mushrooms [I use a variety of mushrooms – shiitake, button and enoki], sliced
3 cups white or green tea or water
1. Boil some hot water to make the tea.
2. Fry the onions and garlic in the pot with a generous amount of olive oil until onions are soft. Then pour in the mushroom and keep stirring.
3. Pour the boiled water into the pot. Then put some tea leaves into the mushroom mixture as well, so essentially cooking the mushroom at the same time of boiling the tea. [I decided not to boil the tea first because it is not healthy to re-boil the tea in the soup]. Cook the soup until the mushrooms are soft, pot uncovered. [For people who prefer puree, blend the mixture].
4. Use a generous amount of salt and some white pepper to taste.
(Instead of showing a picture of the mushroom soup, I think the beautiful and artistic mushroom picture is much more interesting, courtesy of Taylor Lockwood).