Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Moroccan-Inspired Braised Chicken

One of my dreams is to visit Morocco one day. Okay, let’s dream bigger than that. I actually want to travel the world. It’s probably everyone’s wish list at the moment, right? Well, someone asked me what cuisine I'm specializing. The moment I heard that question, my mind went blank. You’ve go to be kidding me. I absolutely have no idea. To specialize in a particular cuisine, you have to move to another country and learn about their food. That’s not all, you have to learn about their culture and traditions, shop at the farmer’s market, know what’s in season and mingle with the locals. And you have to stay long enough to dedicate yourself to their cuisine until it becomes second nature. It sounds like a great plan. You may not stay in a particular country long enough but visiting a foreign land is one of the best ways to learn about life.

The inspiration for this dish is the use of earthy spices, the addition of olives and dried fruit as well as of chickpeas and herbs. They are really great for a gloomy day to perk up your spirits. This is not a traditional recipe but I’ve always love the diverse cuisines of Moroccan flavors which is a mix of different influences from the Arabs, African, Mediterranean and the Middle East. I have never been to Morocco and never had eaten in an authentic Moroccan restaurant but the exotic and sophisticated Moroccan food and culture is simply irresistible.

For this dish, I’m using some chicken thighs which are cheaper than lamb. If you’re going to remove the skin after cooking, season the chicken meat under the skin as well. But I completely seasoned the skin as most of the spices will blend into the sauce. That’s right, leave the skin on as they provide good flavor. Don't be afraid of fat from meat. They may contain saturated fat but they are also important for our body in moderation. You can also add the spices while you’re sweating your onion and just simply season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Some people hate olives but I love them. The secret to loving olives is to combine them with other ingredients and the dried apricots which are sweet, goes well with it. If you happen to have some preserved lemon prepared, that would be a great addition too. And braising is such a wonderful cooking method as it allows the dish to cook slowly to blend all the flavors. Here's a video lesson from Rouxbe Online Cooking School about braising.

Instead of couscous, I am pairing this with millet which I happen to have in the fridge. I also find that the millet is fluffier the next day. So, after cooking the millet, allow them to cool quickly and store in the fridge covered, and steam the millet with a little bit of water the following day. The result is still fantastic.

Moroccan-Inspired Braised Chicken

1 tsp smoked paprika
1 ½ tsp ground coriander
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
unrefined sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper

8 bone-in chicken thighs

2-3 tbsp extra light olive oil or grapeseed oil

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1-inch piece fresh ginger root
½ cup dry white wine
2 tsp tomato paste
½ cup sulfur-free dried apricots
½ cup kalamata olives
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 can 14-oz chopped tomatoes (400g)
½ -1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp honey
1 bay leaf

1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup mint leaves

To prepare the chicken thighs, combine the paprika coriander, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne in a small bowl. Then, wash and dry the chicken thighs and trim off the excess fat and skin. Place in a sheet pan and season the chicken on both sides with the spices, salt and black pepper. Let stand for 5 minutes.

To brown the chicken thighs, heat a large heavy-bottomed pan with lid. When the pan is hot, add enough oil to coat bottom of the pan. Add the chicken, skin side down and cook until the chicken is brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total.

Once all of the chicken has been browned, turn off the heat, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Drain some of the excess oil and reserve the untouched pan for later use.

To cook the sauce, peel and chop the onions, emince the garlic (see video below) and mince the ginger. Cut the apricots in half, pit and halve the olives. Measure and gather the white wine, tomato paste, cooked chickpeas, canned tomatoes, chicken stock, honey and bay leaf.

Rouxbe Online Cooking School & Video Recipes

Using the same pan, turn on the heat to medium. Add more oil if needed, then add the onions and sweat until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute. Deglaze with white wine. Once the white wine has been reduced, stir in the tomato paste and stir to combine. Then, add the apricots, olives, chickpeas, tomatoes, half of the chicken stock and honey. Stir everything together and add the bay leaf. Place the chicken on the sauce on a single layer skin side up. If you need more liquid, add more chicken stock to cover the chicken by two-thirds. Bring the dish to a simmer, cover and cook until the chicken is tender for about 30-35 minutes.

Alternatively, you can also braise the chicken in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degree Celsius) oven for about 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is fork tender.

Once the dish is ready, season to taste with salt if necessary and let the dish sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

To serve the dish, remove the cilantro and mint leaves from the stem and roughly chop. Sprinkle over the dish and serve with steamed millet, couscous, soft polenta or pasta and an antioxidant salad.


Gluten-Free; Dairy-Free

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sesame and Bonito Flake-Crusted Tofu

This is a great and elegant appetizer that I’ve made a few months ago. I paired it with a soba noodle salad but they are also great on it’s own with a dipping sauce. I don’t consider tofu as a whole food but they have been a part of our meals in Asia and all over the world.

I am using a semi-firm tofu which is between a firm and a soft tofu. They have the right consistency, not too soft and not too firm but still imparting enough silkiness and texture. I drain the tofu onto a plate lined with paper napkin to drain the excess moisture. Tofu is also a good source of protein and great substitute for meats. When I don’t know what to cook, I chose tofu.

The sesame seeds which are high in calcium provide a nutty flavor and aroma when toasted. You can do a combination of white and black sesame seeds. The bonito flakes which is one the ingredients in making dashi stock, add some saltiness and texture.

I would like to serve this with some grated ginger and chopped green onions for extra zing. And tofu will not be the same without dipping it in a soy and vinegar mixture. The result is fantastic.

Sesame and Bonito Flake-Crusted Tofu

Makes 4 servings:

1 block semi-firm tofu (about 320 grams)

1 egg
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sesame seeds (or 2 tbsp each white and black sesame seeds)
1 cup bonito flakes

3 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 green onion
1-inch piece fresh ginger root

2 tbsp rice bran oil or untoasted sesame oil

To prepare the tofu, drain the tofu from the container and rinse gently. Place the tofu into a plate lined with double layers of paper napkin to drain the excess liquid. You can also add pressure by placing a plate on top. You can do this in advance. Then cut the tofu into 3/4 to 1-inch piece, about 8 slices.

To set up for breading, first combine the bonito flakes and the sesame seeds in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs until evenly blended. Then, place the flour into the third shallow bowl and set everything aside.

To prepare the dipping sauce and the condiments, first combine the soy sauce and the vinegar in a small bowl. Next, trim and chop the green onions, the peel and grate the ginger. Place them into two separate small bowls. Cover with saran wrap and set aside.

To “bread” the tofu, coat each piece with the flour and shake off any excess. Then dip into the beaten egg and then set into the sesame-bonito flakes mixture. You may need to grab the sesame seeds and sprinkle on top of the tofu as they settle at the bottom of the plate. Transfer into a baking tray.

Prepare a plate lined with paper napkin.

To cook the tofu, heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat and the oil. Once the oil is hot but not smoking, add the crusted tofu and lower the heat slightly. Be careful not to burn the sesame seeds and the bonito flakes. Cook the tofu for about 2 minutes on each side or until lightly golden brown.

Transfer the tofu to a paper-napkin lined plate to absorb excess oil. You can also place them on a cooling rack but the paper-napkin is better.

To serve the tofu, transfer them onto a plate and serve with the chopped onion, grated ginger and dipping sauce. Sprinkle each tofu with chopped green onions and grated ginger before dipping lightly into the sauce. Chopsticks would come in handy.

Serve them hot and enjoy.


Gluten-Free (if brown rice flour and wheat-free tamari)

Instead of all-purpose flour, you can also use brown rice flour. Just make sure that the tofu is very dry before coating it as they will form lumps when the tofu is still wet.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Millet: Not Just for Birds

"Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side." Ezekiel 4:9 - NIV

Here’s another pseudo-grain you can add to your list of super foods. It’s one of the oldest grains that has existed for thousands of years and was even mentioned in the Bible as the prophet’s bread. Oh millet, where have you been all my life?

This mustard seed-like grain is high in protein (higher than brown rice) and low in starch and they are perfect for the digestive system including the stomach and pancreas particularly the spleen organ, which is our energy battery. Millet is the only alkaline grain which counteracts acidity in the body. Just like quinoa, millet is great in cleansing the body while providing easy assimilated minerals that most people lack.

Millet is also high in silicon which benefits your hair, skin, nails, teeth and eye health. It’s absolutely a beauty grain. And if you’re suffering from arthritis and osteoporosis, it means that you’re body is highly acidic. Millet is high in alkaline minerals potassium and magnesium which supports the health of your bones, joints and ligaments. The magnesium content also eases menstrual discomfort and headaches, lowers high blood pressure and may even prevent gallstones in women.

Since millet has anti-fungal properties, it is the best grain to use for Candida albicans overgrowth. When you’re suffering from Candida, you need to avoid foods that are high in sugars and millet is low in starch (hence sugar), which is just perfect. Another thing that millet is good for is balancing blood glucose for diabetics and is excellent for the immune system as millet is the least allergenic of the grains.

There’s also a concern about millet and goitrogen. Goitrogen is a substance that prevents iodine to be absorbed in the body and is thus avoided with people who have thyroid problems. This problem only occurs if you eat huge quantity of millet and other foods that contain goitrogen. Although cooking them removes some of it, most doctors would advice patients to avoid foods high in goitrogen. In my opinion, eating a variety of whole foods will ensure that you’re getting the right nutrients (and that includes iodine). So there is no need to worry about eating them; just don’t eat them in industrial amounts. You can also soak the millet overnight. However, if you have a serious case of any particular thyroid disease, please proceed with caution and always consult your doctor.

Cooking millet is like cooking other types of grains. I like to toast them first in a little bit of oil with chopped garlic or shallots before adding the hot water or stock and then simmer until they’re cook.

Honestly, I still like quinoa more than millet but millet is cheaper than quinoa, which means I would need to appreciate millet more. I think I will.

Just in case you're wondering, the black specks are the black cardamom. :)

Basic Millet

Makes about 4-5 cups

2 -3 cups water, chicken or vegetable stock (please see note)
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp extra light olive oil or unsalted butter
1 cup whole millet

Optional Spices:
½ tsp unrefined sea salt
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp Thai saffron
2 black cardamom pods (removed from its shell)

Bring the stock or water to a simmer. Then peel and finely chop the garlic.

Place a heavy-bottomed pot or large pan with a lid over medium high heat. Add the oil/butter and millet and toast, stirring constantly until the millet starts to pop and jump around. Then add the chop garlic until fragrant. Be sure the millet doesn’t burn. If it does, simple remove the pot and lower the heat slightly, stirring constantly to cool.

Then slowly add the stock or water, salt and the optional spice. Bring to boil and reduce the heat immediately. Simmer until all the liquids have been absorbed, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat and place a tea towel under the lid to absorb any steam for about 5 minutes. Fluff immediately with a fork and serve as a side dish.


Gluten-Free; Vegan (if vegetable stock is used)

The amount of water per cup of millet:
2 cups for water - slightly crunchy;

2-1/4 to 2-1/2 water - light and fluffy

3 cups water – soft and almost mushy

If you chose not to toast your millet, rinse them in water and drain. It’s quite possible if you don’t do either of the two, the outside of the grain will turn to mush before the insides are cook enough to lose their crunch.

When the millet is hot, the grains are quite sticky but when they have cooled down, they will separate.

You can also soak the millet for a few hours before cooking or sprouting if you’re worried about the phytic acid (a phytonutrient) and phytates (the salt of phytic acid). But sometimes both of them are beneficial. They are neither good nor bad. It depends on when you have them. If you consume them as part of your meal, their effect is negative by removing key nutrients from the meal that you’re consuming. But if you have it as a supplement, separate from the meal, they are quite beneficial working as an antioxidant in the colon without sacrificing the nutrients in the foods you eat. Also, their phytic acid mineral binding properties are helpful in removing excess minerals such as iron (too much can increase the risk of heart disease and colon cancer) from our body and even a small phytic acid can help reduce harmful iron absorption by half.

Health Blogger Award

A few days ago, I entered the 2nd Annual People's Health Blogger Awards for Wellsphere.The voting will end on December 15, 2009. Well, an award is an award but I joined because this is also my way of promoting the work that I do on my blog. The winners will be announced for the following categories: Best Overall; Blogger’s Choice and Best 100. I actually joined a little bit late but with your help, you can still vote for me by clicking on the Help me win badge at the upper right corner (on top of my profile) or on top of the paragraph. I have 19 votes and still needing about 170 (approximately). You may have to sign up but your vote will make a difference in other people’s lives through me. For those who have already voted for me along with your wonderful comments, thank you.

So, have you tried millet? If yes, please let me know what dishes you’ve done with it on the comment box. I would love to try it soon and please remember to vote. :D

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Forbidden Rice Risotto with Roasted Pumpkin and Chinese Broccoli

It’s forbidden, it’s black and it’s sexy. Black equals power while forbidden sounds captivating, at least in my own dictionary of food. While this black rice is not as gorgeous compared to the Lotus brand, the product that I’m using helps local farmers get better income. What’s so special about forbidden rice aside from the name is that in ancient China, this black rice was such a rarity with very high nutrition content and it’s only reserved for the Emperor of China, hence the word forbidden.

While forbidden rice signifies strength and stamina, I would like to pair this with the innocent and sweet roasted pumpkin. The black rice turns deep purple when cooked and it’s a great background for colorful vegetables.

I’ve wanted to use roasted pumpkin in other dishes aside from making soups and salads and a risotto dish is just perfect. I roasted about one pound of pumpkin even if I’m only using about half of it. They are great mashed with a dollop of Greek yogurt, honey and sea salt.

I absolutely love Chinese broccoli and its bitter flavor and they pair perfectly with the roasted pumpkin. Choose the smaller ones with as they have more tender stems and leaves. I love stir-frying them with chili pepper flakes and garlic. They can be served on its own or tossed with pasta.

When cooking risotto, choosing the right pan is important. Check out this video Choosing a Good Pan for Risotto from Rouxbe Online Cooking School.

Rouxbe Online Cooking School & Video Recipes

If you are experiencing cooler weather in your area, this would be a great dish to do as they are warming to the body most particularly the kidney organ. And if you have autumn season, this is a great way to slow down and unwind while still being active. Risotto is exactly that. It’ also a pure comfort food not only as the finished dish that you dig in but also while you’re cooking it. Stirring the rice as it absorbs the liquid is therapeutic while listening to the bubbling sound of the stock and inhaling the fragrant aroma from the pan. Although risotto may take time to cook it is indeed an easy dish to prepare.

Forbidden Rice Risotto
with Roasted Pumpkin and Chinese Broccoli

Makes 4 servings:

Roasted Pumpkin:
½ lb pumpkin
extra light olive oil
½ tsp brown sugar
¼ tsp unrefined sea salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp chili powder

1 cup forbidden rice (soaked for 12-24 hours with 1 tbsp yogurt, whey or kefir)
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (approximately)
3 ½ oz Chinese broccoli (about 100 grams)
1 small onion
2 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ tsp dried pepper flakes
½ cup white wine
unrefined sea salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

To serve:
3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat oven to 400º degrees Fahrenheit (or 200º degrees Celsius).

To prepare the roasted pumpkin, combine the sugar, salt, cinnamon and chili powder in a small bowl. Scoop out the seeds from the halved pumpkin and cut them into 1-inch wedge. Save the pumpkin seeds if desired. Brush the pumpkin with olive in on both sides and sprinkle with the spice mixture. Arrange the pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the oven and roast for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is golden brown and tender.

While the pumpkin is roasting, cook the risotto.

First, drain and rinse the forbidden rice through a strainer. Then, drain very well, shaking off excess water.

To cook the risotto, first bring the chicken stock to a simmer. Prepare the Chinese broccoli by removing the leaves from its stem. Then, cut the stem into smaller pieces. Next mince the onions.

Heat a heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium-low heat, add butter until melted, then add the minced onions followed by the salt and sweat until soft and translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add the chili pepper flakes and black rice to the pan and sauté for 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until the edges of the rice turns translucent. Add the white wine and stir until the wine is completely absorbed. Add the chicken stock one ladle at a time, allowing each ladle to be absorbed completely before adding the next.

Then cut the slightly cooled roasted pumpkin into bite-sized pieces while keeping an eye of the risotto. Remove the skin if desired before cutting.

When the risotto is about three-fourths cooked, about 30 minutes, add the Chinese broccoli and cook until the vegetables are tender. Season the dish with salt and pepper, to taste. To finish, add the diced pumpkin and stir slowly to incorporate. Remove the risotto from the heat and let sit covered for 2 minutes.

To finish the dish, grate the Parmesan cheese and fold three fourths into the risotto. Serve into individual bowls and garnish with the rest of the grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.


Gluten-Free; Vegan (if vegetable stock is used and cheese is omitted)

Cooking time for the rice will depend on the type of forbidden rice that you have. They cook for a longer period of time but still worth the wait.

After 30-40 minutes of cooking forbidden rice, the rice will be tender and creamy (I promise) but still slightly al dente.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday hosted by Cheeseslave and Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy First Birthday, Sense and Serendipity

Jesus said...I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). John 10:10 - Amplified Bible

Spring Awakening in November - Mango Blossoms. Everyday is a new day.

Happy Birthday, Happy BlogDay, Happy Blog Anniversary, Happy Blogniversary - whatever you call it, my blog is now one year old. WOW!! I never thought I would last one year in blogging. It was definitely a challenging journey but it was also fun and rewarding. I really have no plans to create my own blog until Jehan, a friend of mine encouraged me to start one. She said that it is not for the whole world to read but more for me. And she’s right. I launched this blog a year ago for myself and shared it with a few of my close friends and people I trust. With the help of my sister Susana, my brother-in-law Carl and my newly-wed brother Anthony, I was able to create this blog with a new hope and a dream.

When I came back home more 6 years ago from Canada, my life was never the same. When I learned that dad was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer and my post-employment work visa is about to expire, I have no choice but to go home. I took care of dad for almost four years until he died. Although it has been such an honor to take care of my father, I felt that my life’s course, once a swift flowing current became a stagnant pool. Everything stopped. While I already submitted my application for permanent residence visa to the Canadian embassy, my future is still uncertain. When dad died more than two years ago (July 4, 2007), I decided to take a correspondence course in Natural Nutrition and look after mom for awhile. As much as I want to take that course in Canada, the embassy is taking too long to reply until they denied my visa last November 2008 (after launching my blog) and was rejected again this year when I wrote a letter of petition to the embassy. I was denied after waiting for four and a half years. Ouch!!!

Coming soon!!

Three months later a friend of mine asked me to teach health and nutrition in his culinary school in Cebu City. I have to turn it down because of family reasons. But I could also sense a deep calling by God to move there. I was disappointed because this would be an opportunity for me to get to know the other beautiful places in the Philippines.

I stopped blogging for the month of April and May after I turned down the job from Cebu City. I was depressed because God answered no to all of my prayers. I think you know what that felt like. Being unemployed for six long and tedious years is not something I wanted to happen in my life. You could say that looking for a job is quite challenging most especially when you are faced with many competitors in the food industry while your self-esteem and self-confidence has plunge down the drain.

I forced myself to blog again last June and post a topic or a recipe one at a time. I honestly wasn’t really having fun at all but I did my best. I tried to blog about twice or thrice a week until it became consistent. There were times that I may have missed a week of blogging, but I have written drafts that I plan to publish in the near future.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future". Jeremiah 29:11 - NIV

I wouldn’t be receiving a lot of comments ( I hope I didn’t force you) and loyal readers (anyone?) on my blog if Steve Ellis, a good friend and producer of Rouxbe Online Cooking School didn’t ask me to sign up for Foodbuzz. When I signed up for Foodbuzz and accepted friend requests from other food bloggers, that’s the time I received more remarks and emails from other blogs. Although my goal is not to accumulate as much readers and comments as I can, my purpose in creating this blog (aside from doing it for me) is to help and inspire other people about health and nutrition through my passion and enthusiasm in food and cooking. Much credit also goes to Joe Girard, Dawn Thomas and Kimberley Slobodian also from Rouxbe Online Cooking School for teaching me how to write a step-by-step recipe the Rouxbe-way (still perfecting it) and for their continued support even before I started this blog. And then there’s my brother-in-law Joyren who lend me his wonderful camera when someone borrowed mine, my sister Rowena for delivering her husband’s camera to our house, my mom who has provided some financial support for this blog and of course, my late-dad who has been and will continue to be a great inspiration for the days and years to come.

A slice of the wedding cake - Carrot and Walnut Cake - and now my blog's birthday cake.

Another occasion to celebrate was my brother’s wedding last Sunday. We were all busy last week that I’ve forgotten that I’ve been blogging for almost a year until I remembered it a few days a go. Since there were a lot of leftovers from the event, a huge cake and some pastries, I decided not to bake anything for my blog except for some coconut-pineapple muffins that I’m working on last Tuesday. To celebrate my brother’s wedding and my blog’s first birthday, I chose to have a Carrot and Walnut cake from Mandarin Oriental Hotel and of course the muffins.

My brother's wedding, November 8, 2009. Check out my cute nephew Joshua in front of me.

My situation is still the same but I’m still blogging. I think blogging is my way of getting to know myself even better, my escape to the realities of this world, a medium to share my whispering thoughts, a means to clarify my direction in life and my vision to create the life I really wanted. I hope new doors of great opportunity will open, not only on the web but also in my actual life right now (yes, I need a real job with the creative work I desire).

Gluten-Free Coconut-Pineapple Muffins (sans the birthday candle)

For those of you who are constantly reading my blog, those who love it, those who are new, those who learned from it and everyone who stumbled into this site including all the food bloggers that I’ve met, I just want you to know that your support, comments, questions and even suggestions means more than a lot to me. Words are not enough for me to say thank you. I hope this blog became a blessing in your life and will continue to do so.

Here’s to a more favorable and fruitful sense and serendipitous year!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pineapple Quinoa with Goji Berries and Arugula

I am delighted to be a guest blogger again for another wonderful blog site Jeroxie (Addictive and Consuming). Penny, originally from Singapore, invited me to contribute a healthy, fast and easy recipe while she’s away for vacation in Bali. I am thrilled because although Penny and I have only known each other through the web, I could say that she also has an appetite for three people. We both have the tendency to eat a bit too much and feel bloated after a meal. So, I shared a dish on her blog that is easy, light, healthy and healing to the digestive system.

Please stop by at Jeroxie (Addictive and Consuming) to check my guest post and recipe. If you have plans to go to Melbourne, Australia, check her site for restaurant reviews around the city. She also has great and wonderful Asian recipes including her Curry Chicken and her battle in cracking coconuts. If that’s not too adventurous for your taste buds, you can also check her bacon jam or her homemade radish cake. But I’m certain that there are many recipes on her site that will tantalize and ignite your senses.

Penny, thank you very much for the invitation. Until next time.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Turmeric, Ginger and Lemon Tonic Tea

Turmeric is traditionally called the "Indian Saffron" or “poor man’s saffron” due to its color. I mentioned before that turmeric is a great defense against Alzheimer’s disease. This anti-inflammatory, free-radical-fighting antioxidant-rich curry spice contains an anti-cancer compound called curmumin which produces almost no toxicity compared to over-the-counter drugs.

Turmeric is also a liver tonic. The liver is the second largest organ in the body and has many important functions. Sadly, our liver has been abused from all types of food, medications and external toxins. If you’ve been experiencing digestive problems, constipation, low energy output, arthritis, allergies, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, infertility, insomnia or acne outbreaks, one of things you can do is to take care of your liver. And drinking a liver tonic such as this tea will help your liver get back to normal.

This tea will awaken your digestive fire. Digestive fire refers to the overall health and activity of your digestive system. If your digestive fire is stagnant or diminished, you’ll experience digestive problems such as constipation which leads to increased accumulations of toxins. When there’s accumulation of toxins, it will lead to different kinds of disease. Avoiding cold drinks, sweets, alcohol, caffeine and other liver exhausting substances such as eating too many proteins and carbohydrates, overeating and even lack of exercise will bring your digestive fire back.

Other benefits of turmeric tea:
  • Body and liver detoxifier
  • Boost immunity by improving liver function
  • Cleanses and purifies the blood
  • Eases symptoms of coughs and colds
  • Improves circulation in the body
  • Improves skin complexion
  • Prevents internal bleed clotting
  • Protects liver tissue
  • Reduces bad cholesterol
  • Reduces inflammation – such as all types of arthritis and other inflammation
  • Stimulates secretion of bile which helps break down fat
These are just some of the healing properties of turmeric but it all goes back to the healing roots of turmeric – as a liver tonic. When you cleanse your liver, you might notice that your digestive system is working better, your bowel movement is regular, you lose excess weight, you have clearer skin and bright eyes, you're sleeping better and many others.

The addition of ginger doubles the anti-inflammatory effect. Always have ginger at home because it works wonders for our body and helps fight off bacteria when you’re suffering from stomach flu or diarrhea. It is also a very effective digestive aid and it’s great for arthritis. Here's a great ginger post Spicy Sweet Find: Fresh Ginger by Marillyn Beard (@Just Making Noise).

Lemon is a another great detoxifier. Upon waking up in the morning, it’s good to drink a glass of warm water with a few drops of lemon juice. If you drink a lot of lemon juice, it would be wise to rinse your mouth with water because the acidity of the lemon can corrode the teeth.

Now, to prepare fresh turmeric root, it is best to wear disposable gloves and be prepared to have all your utensils stained with yellow. So, preparing a solution of baking soda, white vinegar and water to wash everything that has been stained with turmeric is a great idea. If turmeric could stain everything, it could also stain your teeth. So, brush your teeth after drinking this tea. (Your toothbrush will be stained too). Since fresh turmeric root is hard to find for some, just use the ground turmeric. They will still work wonders and you still need to be careful when using them. :)

Here’s a short video below on how to prepare turmeric from Rouxbe Online Cooking School.

Rouxbe Online Cooking School & Video Recipes

Although turmeric and ginger is good for you, avoid taking large doses most especially if you have gallstones, bleeding disorders, overly acidic stomach or are pregnant or nursing. Also avoid large doses if you are taking any medication that contains blood thinner. The following recipe yield 4 cups and can be drank in one day without any side effects.

Turmeric, Ginger and Lemon Tonic Tea

¼ cup grated fresh turmeric root (or 1 tbsp ground turmeric)
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
4 cups water
1 lemon
¼ cup agave nectar or honey

To prepare the tea, peel and grate the turmeric and the ginger root. Place in a soup pot and add water. Bring to mixture to a boil and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

Strain the mixture into a clean glass container. Allow the mixture to cool for about 5 minutes.

Then, juice the lemon and pour into the turmeric tea along with the agave nectar or honey.

This infusion can also be drunk at room temperature.

Enjoy the liver tonic.