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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Yam? Sweet Potato? Taro?

I was at the market with my neighbours, Pat and Ming, when I told them I wanted to get some yams to make yam rice. "You mean taro? Most Malaysians are mistaken when it comes to naming these", Ming corrected me as she pointed to the tubers.  Not convinced, I asked Pat who has lived in America for some time. She confused me further when she insisted that these are called sweet potatoes in the US and Canada!

So what are these, really? Yam? Sweet potato or taro?

I googled and learned that interestingly, the confusion is not limited to Malaysians. While most Malaysians  mistake yam for taro, Americans have been confused about sweet potatoes and yams for hundreds of years!

A video to share

Er.... what about tapioca?

Sharing my yam/taro rice recipe. A word of caution - wear gloves when handling the raw yam/taro as the tuber contains crystals of calcium oxalate just beneath its peel. This substance will make your skin itch. Undercooked taro root and taro leaves can also cause extremely unpleasant itching in your mouth

1 cup uncooked long grain rice
200g yam/taro, skin removed and cubed
2 tbsp dried shrimps (soak in water for 15 minutes, drain and chop finely)
100g Chinese roast pork, diced into small pieces
dash of ground white pepper
2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil

3/4 tbsp light soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

Wash and drain rice. Set aside
Heat up a wok.  Add oil and scald  yam cubes on high heat for roughly 5 minutes till just about cooked. Set aside.
Using the remaining oil in the wok, stir fry the dried shrimps on medium low heat till fragrant (about 2-3 minutes).
Return the cooked yam to the wok. Add rice, roasted meat and ground white pepper. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes till all the ingredients are well mixed.
Allow the rice mixture to cool, then transfer to a rice cooker. Add 1 3/4 cup water to rice cooker followed by seasonings. Stir to ensure that the seasonings are well mixed. Let the rice mixture cook in the rice cooker.
Serve the yam rice hot, garnished with sliced chillies, green onions, and cilantro.


Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Eyes Are The Windows To Your Liver

Did you know that eye problems may indicate an unhealthy liver?
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we can physically view the health of our liver via the eyes. I didn't know this and only learned about the connection when I was trolling the internet for a cure to my chronic Dry Eye condition. And yes, I did find a natural remedy which inadvertently, fixed my other problems as well- hot flashes and night sweats!

The answer to all these problems, my friend, lies in a cup of tea! Hallelujah! I am doing the happy dance! It is so liberating to wake up fresh and happy from a good night's sleep and with eyes that don't burn or itch.

Yep, a soothing cup of Chrysanthemum tea daily (those commercially canned and packaged ones don't count) does the magic!  It has something to do with the balance of yin and yang in your liver. From a Chinese perspective, health problems arise when the yin and yang are imbalanced in our body and in this case, an excess of yang in the liver which causes liver heat. When there is heat in the liver and liver channel, the eyes are likely to be dry, bloodshot, painful or have a burning sensation.  Here's where the Chrysanthemum tea works its magic. Acting as a natural coolant, Chrysanthemum tea lowers the heat in your liver, thus restoring the yin-yang harmony and voilĂ ! - no more dry eyes and hot flashes!

TCM values the liver as one of the most important organs in the body and has the strongest connection to the eyes. The main job of the liver is to spread and regulate QI (energy flow) throughout the rest of the body. Besides cooling, regular consumption of Chrysanthemum tea helps to detoxify the liver, resulting in the smooth flow of QI, thereby eliminating a variety of aliments.

Look after your liver and your eyes will benefit.

Some interesting facts of Chrysanthemum  to share.

Nutritional Information and Properties of Chrysanthemum

Some of the compounds in Chrysanthemum are flavonoids like luteolin, apigenin and acacetin, choline, and vitamin B1. It is also a good source of Vitamins C and A, Niacin, Folic acid and Pantothenic acid and is also rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and phosphorus. Chrysanthemum tea can help detoxify blood, regulate blood pressure and calm the nerves. It has antibacterial properties that can be effective against staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus hemolyticus B, dermatomycosis, shigelladysenteriae and the tubercle bacillus.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses of Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum can help the body fight off a range of infections including streptococcal and staphylococcal infections.
The traditional Chinese have used the tea to treat influenza, fevers, inflammations and even heatstroke due to its cooling effect. The herb also helps to correct imbalances that may affect the liver and also helps in dealing with kidney function, thus helping with their treatment.
A rinse made from the flower can be helpful to treat skin infections.
The herb can be used in many different forms, from tinctures and creams to chrysanthemum tea that is very popular. While preparing the tea, care should be taken to let the flowers boil in the hot water for around ten minutes. This should be done in order to protect the essential oil and other nutrients.
Chrysanthemum tea is a great aid to digestion, helping the body to digest greasy food more easily.
The tea is also helpful in relieving nasal and head congestion.
Because of its zero calorie content, it is often used to treat obesity and as an aid to lose weight.
It is also said to improve vision and hearing and is given in cases of dizziness, blurred vision and spots in front of the eyes. It may also be helpful in cases of night blindness and to treat conjunctivitis.
New research has shown that the flavonoid acacetin that is present in chrysanthemum has the ability to inhibit malignant cell growth in the prostate region. This may make it a useful weapon in the battle against prostate and other forms of cancer.
It is believed to be good for the heart and has been known to lower blood pressure levels. It may also be able to increase blood flow to the heart.
Traditional Chinese medicine has used these properties of the flower to treat cases of hypertension and angina.

A Cautionary Note: Some people may be allergic to chrysanthemum and can experience adverse reactions on consuming or handling it. Physical handling of the flower may result in skin irritation and consumption can cause stomach upset. People with known allergies to daisies and asters should avoid chrysanthemum as should people with diarrhea. Consult your physician before taking chrysanthemum, especially if you are on other medication that may adversely react with it.

source -

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Finding Dory

Sharing photos of the cookies I made for a dear friend's daughter's Finding Dory themed party.

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