Thursday, January 31, 2008

Antioxidants and cooking

In Chinese culture, food is important in the promotion of good health and much has been documented in Traditional Chinese Medicine textbooks.
The Cockroach Catcher however goes by what his mother taught him from an early age.
In Chinese cuisine, soup is often seen as an important part of a meal. The process of slowly cooking various ingredients is part and partial of that of producing something that is nutritious, delicious and revitalizing. To save energy, we invested in a highly efficient “shuttle chef”, which is basically a double pot, consisting of a smaller inner pot and a larger outer insulating chamber. You first of all heat up the food in the smaller pot, and then seal it in its insulating outer chamber to let the cooking process continue in a slow fashion for a few hours or over-night. Another doctor friend of ours discovered that she could achieve the same slow cooking by putting an ordinary pot into a cool box!
Imagine the disappointment when we first tried to make consommé with good quality meat and found an ever so slight rancidness setting in over-night. Something was not quite right. To solve this problem, we had to go back to basics. We tried adding one more traditional ingredient: gouqizi (derived from Lycium). Eureka! The presence of the antioxidant meant no more rancidness whatsoever.

Dried Gouqisi

Much has been written about gouqisi and some hail it as the new Blueberry. I also read somewhere it was one of the main ingredients in ancient Chinese sex tonic.

a bowl of delicious home made Granola (rolled oats, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, raisins, cranberries, flaxseeds, honey)

My wife then applied the principle in Granola making, and it worked like a treat. The secret is to add a small cup of pomegranate juice.

Pomegranates on sale in San Francisco Farmers' Market

The French seemed to have got it right a long time ago. Wine is amongst the best antioxidants for cooking. No wonder Boeuf Bourguignon and Coq au Vin taste so good!

Burgundy wines that I recently bought on my recent trip to the Region

Talking about the essential Chinese soup, I should mention the wonderful Chinese Hot Pot recipe in the excellent World Foodie Guide that my wife recently discovered.
Happy cooking!

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