Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Stir-Fry Mizuna Japanese Mustard 清炒水菜

Have you tried Mizuna 水菜 (Shui Cai) also known as Japanese mustard? Other than appearing as one of salad-greens components found in some grocery stores' salad boxes, this green vegetable can also be seen, sold on its own, as a whole bunch in some Japanese grocery stores e.g. Mitsuwa (San Jose location)

Japanese mustard greens are rich in the fat-soluble vitamins A and K, and water-soluble vitamin C. As part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes kale, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, it also offers similar cancer-fighting compounds. To extract maximum cancer-protection benefits, it is often best to consume such vegetables in their raw form e.g. in salads and juices.

However when a vegetable reaches the hands of a cook who is often into Chinese-style cooking, stir-frying jumps right in, in preference to salads; but a quick saute it will be, so as not to lose much of the nutrition.

Mizuna can be a great addition to salads as it has a subtle peppery flavor and yet as a mustard green, not as pungent as the Chinese mustard.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Home-Preserved Chinese Leaf Mustard 自制雪菜

Combining preserved Chinese leaf mustard 雪菜, with pork or chicken either in a stir-fry 雪菜炒肉丝 or in noodle soups 雪菜肉丝面 are two widely-seen-and-heard Chinese dishes that incorporate preserved Chinese leaf mustard.

The vegetarian rendition of a preserved Chinese leaf mustard stir-fry is most popular with soy products e.g. edamame 雪菜炒毛豆 or firm tofu  雪菜炒豆干.

Day 2, homemade preserved Chinese leaf mustard, ready to use.

Past experiences do count. So when I chanced upon Gai Choy (芥菜, Jie Cai) in the Asian grocery store, making preserved Chinese leaf mustard came to mind. It is not going to be too difficult this time since I have done it before. All you need is the vegetable itself - Chinese leaf mustard; plus salt and time.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Cordyceps Chicken Soup 黑木耳虫草鸡汤

It was the first and last time I bought cordyceps. Rather, Mom bought them...for me.

Gosh. So super duper exorbitantly expensive! I was not aware of the cordyceps "market situation".

It was the last time as I will not be consuming it regularly for its claimed benefits (even if what good it does to the body is indeed true).

Often the classic cordyceps chicken soup is doubled-boiled with chicken, cordyceps, sometimes with red dates and gojiberries. However, I did it quite differently - without dates and gojiberries.
Instead, some carrots and woodear mushrooms were added to my version (which is actually an idea inspired by a friend). Luckily, the soup turned out great without being overpowered by the sweetness of carrots and earthiness of mushrooms.