01 January 2016

Autumn choices

Autumn choices
Steamed Lotus Root Stuffed with Glutinous Rice [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

Autumn is the harvest season for lotus root, which is good for increasing our appetite, and alleviating the dryness we feel as the cold winds come up. It is loaded with essential minerals like copper and valuable complex vitamins. When the crunchy lotus root is giving off a sweet flavor, it is delicious.

Ingredients:

Glutinous rice, lotus root, sugar (rock sugar or brown sugar), Chinese wolfberries, honey.

Procedures:

1. Clean the glutinous rice, and soak for one day in advance, to produce the best flavor.

2. Clean the lotus root, remove the peel and cut it at about 2cm from the end, where its body is plump.

3. Fill in the holes of lotus root with soaked glutinous rice using chopsticks.

4. Then cover the opening with the lotus root lid cut off earlier, and affix it with toothpicks.

5. Put this lotus root into the pressure cooker, and add enough water into the cooker to submerge the lotus root.

6. Put rock sugar or brown sugar, or both in the water inside the cooker, and boil for about one hour. (If you are not in a hurry, giving it two hours will produce a better taste)

7. Take the lotus roof out. When it's not too hot, slice it and drip some honey onto the slices. Decorate with the Chinese wolfberries.

Black Fungus in Sauce

Autumn choices
Black Fungus in Sauce [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

Crowned as the "meat of vegetables", black fungus is both a diet food and a beauty food. It is high in iron, which can help our body nourish the blood and prevent the occurrence of anemia. It also helps to clean away waste or toxins in our body. The dish is black fungus mixed with self-made sauces, and it has a delicate taste.

Ingredients:

Dried black fungus (20g), some caraway, garlic, ginger, hot pepper, sugar, vinegar, soy, sesame oil, chicken salt.

Procedures:

1. Soak dried black fungus in 40-50 C hot water for 30-40 minutes, then split them into small pieces and trim away the hard part at its bottom.

2. Put black fungus in boiling water for one minute, and then cool off in cold water.

3. Mash garlic and cut hot pepper into small pieces.

4. Add sugar, chicken salt, soy, vinegar, sesame oil into the bowl and combine.

5. Put the black fungus on a plate, add in the mixed sauces and stir to combine evenly.

Snow Pear and White Fungus in Rock Sugar Soup

Autumn choices
Snow Pear and White Fungus in Rock Sugar Soup [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

 Pear is a good choice in autumn, its juiciness can provide vital moisture and may ease a cough. White fungus is praised for its medicinal benefits, nourishing our bodies. It has high collagen content, keeping our skin young. So this soup is very popular as it's easy to do but has miraculous functions.

Ingredients:

White fungus 10g, pear 200g, rock sugar 20g.

Procedures:

1. Soak white fungus in advance for about 2-3 hours in warm or cold water.

2. Chop white fungus into small pieces and remove the hard part at its bottom.

3. Clean the pear, remove the peel and dice the pear.

4. Boil the white fungus, pear dices and rock sugar together and simmer for about 15 minutes.

5. You can also add some dates or Chinese wolfberries into the soup, about 10 minutes before you finish the whole process.

Coix Seed Congee with Red Bean

Autumn choices
Coix Seed Congee with Red Bean [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

Coix seed, also known as Job's Tears, has many health functions and is good for the spleen. Beans are a healthy source of protein, low in fat, and cholesterol-free. Red beans are also a good source of iron and fiber, aiding digestion. The congee combines coix seed, red beans, some glutinous rice, some dates and wolfberries. It is a diet meal, but also helps our body nourish the blood and hydrate our skin.

Ingredients:

Coix seed, red bean, glutinous rice, dates, Chinese wolfberries.

Procedures: 

1. Soak red beans in water for 2 hours, coix seed and glutinous rice for 20 minutes.

2. Clean dates and cut them into small pieces. Clean Chinese wolfberries.

3. If you have a pressure cooker, put all the ingredients in and simmer for about 2 hours, then it's done. If you are not using a pressure cooker, see the next step.

4. Add water to a pot, when boiling, put red beans in. Wait until it reaches the boiling point again, then add the coix seeds, stir slowly and simmer with the lid on for 40 minutes. Then add glutinous rice, dates, wolfberries and simmer for another 25 minutes. Done.

I have tried all these recipes myself, and I know even cooking novices will succeeed with these delightful autumn dishes.