Winter recipe: Lamb Angelica Soup

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This recipe is actually based on a formula from an herbal classic (金匮要略 Jin Gui Yao Lue, Prescriptions from the Golden Cabinet, by the famous herbalist 张仲景 Zhang Zhong Jing), in which is is called 当归生姜羊肉汤 Dang Gui Sheng Jiang Yang Rou Tang.

The soup is warming, so it’s great for winter, and especially for those with Blood Deficiency (e.g. pale, dry skin, lips and tongue, dry scalp/hair, possible insomnia, dull headaches, and general achiness) and/or Kidney Yang weakness, which manifests as chronic, dull low back pain, frequent clear and copious urine, cold legs or overall body (do you wear more clothes than other people?), looser bowel movements, possible reproductive health issues. READ MORE

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Eat your greens! Easy, super-healthy dressing

Not to brag, but I often get compliments on my salad dressings! 🙂 I use it on all veggies, not just raw, cold salads, which aren’t so ideal in the cold winter months (according to Chinese medicine we should eat ‘warmer’ food during the winter, and less cold/raw food).

saladdressingHaving a delicious dressing in the fridge makes eating veggies easy. Steam, stir-fry, water-saute, bake, or press and roll leafy green or other vegetables. Drizzle with dressing and eat!  By drizzling an uncooked dressing, you avoid heating any oils, which is better for your Liver (in Chinese medicine), digestion and skin.

I don’t usually follow a recipe. Here’s a template you can adapt to whatever ingredients you have or feel like:

  1. Put some oil in a small jar. I usually use extra virgin olive oil as the base, but any good quality unheated/ unrefined, unsaturated oil is good (for more info on oils, read “Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill” by Udo Erasmus). I might add a bit of flax or hemp oil for the Omega benefits. If I’m going for sesame kind of taste, I might add a bit of roasted sesame oil.
  2. Add something acidic: I like to squeeze fresh lemon or lime juice, or use raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar which has many health benefits. Sometimes I use a bit of balsamic as well, for the taste. I put about the same amount of acid as oil, but you can vary this according to taste.
  3. Add a tiny bit of sweetener: A very small amount of raw honey, maple syrup, green stevia or any sweetener helped round out the taste of the dressing
  4. Add salt, pepper, and garlic: To taste, but be generous. Remember the flavour can be very strong because it’ll be drizzled over, and diluted by, the many vegetables you’ll be eating with the dressing! Garlic can be raw (crushed and finely minced), which has many health (and taste) benefits, or dried.
  5. Add tasty bits (optional): For example, a squirt of dijon mustard, a chopped sundried tomato, dried or fresh dill weed, yogurt (start with less oil), and/or diced avocado (start with a bit less oil).
  6. Shake jar and enjoy! Depending on the ingredients you can probably keep it in the fridge for a week (if you have something like yogourt) or much longer if it’s just dried herbs, oil and vinegar.

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Two Anti-Anxiety (vegan, gluten-free) recipes

Vegan soup with mung bean and kaleI’ve chosen and adapted two vegan, gluten-free recipes below, for their anti-anxiety ingredients (based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine analysis of these foods).

Mung Bean and Kale Soup (serves ~6)

  • 1 tablespoon refined organic coconut oil
  • 20-25 small crimini (or white) mushrooms, cubed
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 organic red pepper, cubed
  • 1 bunch organic lacinato kale, deveined, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 organic roma tomatoes
  • 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch basil leaves
  • 11/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dried seaweed (wakame, dulse, etc)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional – omit for increased anti-anxiety benefits)
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup small green lentils
  • 1/2 cup mung beans
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy deep pot or dutch oven, then add and sautee the cubed mushrooms, onions, and red bell peppers with turmeric and cumin until tender, about 7-8 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils, mung beans, crushed pepper, seaweed, salt and about 3-4 cups of water (or broth of choice), and allow them to cook (simmer) covered for about 30-35 minutes (check to make sure they are cooked and tender-you may need to adjust your water, as in, add more).
  3. when the lentils and mung beans are cooked and tender, add the quinoa, cubed tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, kale, and most (3/4) of your coconut milk.
  4. simmer another 10-15 minutes. add your freshly squeezed lemon juice (adjust amount to your taste, or omit). top with chopped basil and your remaining coconut milk. serve hot.

Modified from this recipe

Calming and Balancing Congee (2-3 servings)

  • Job’s Tears / Coix Lacryma-Jobi (yi yi ren) 薏米 – 30 g
  • Longan Fruit (long yan rou) 桂圆 / 龍眼肉 – 30 g
  • Chinese Jujube / red dates (da zao) 大枣 – 4 to 6
  • Lotus Seeds (lian zi) 莲子 – 30 g
  • Dried lily bulb / Bulbus Lilii (bai he) 百合 – 30 g
  • Brown rice (can pre-blend in blender to encourage it to fall apart more) – half cup
  • Raw honey, to taste

1. Soak all herbal ingredients for about 15 minutes and rinse.
2. Rinse rice and put all ingredients in a pot with about 6 to 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium to cook for about 70 minutes to about 3 cups of congee.
3. Add some raw honey, if preferred.

Modified from this recipe.

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