My Healthy Diet Day 1 - Steamboat Dinners
Sometime last month I planned a 2 week steamboat getaway for my family. We practically had steamboat every night for dinner but with a variety of fresh healthy food and stock. I guess, it's my way of getting the whole family to detox happily. Rule number 1 on my list of healthy food is "NO Processed Food", rule number 2 is "NO MSG" and rule number 3 is "NO red meat".
As for Day 1, I had lots of fresh chinese celery, asian lettuce, tong hoe (garland chrysanthemum) and carrots.
Chinese celery - is the one pictured above left, it had a distinctive aroma and it's rich in both vitamins and minerals. In some studies, it helps lower blood pressure, acts as a duretic and urinary antiseptic. Widely used in salads and stir fries and garnishes the ever popular Thai Tom Yum Soup and the Malaysian Sup Kambing (Goat soup). In some instances, it is also used as a replacement garnishing in the absence of coriander leaves.
Asian lettuce - is the vegetable pictured above right, it's high on beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C. The softness of the large tender leaves are useful as wrappers for minced meat dishes, ju hu char (for recipe, check under categories, main meals section) and spring rolls.
Tong hoe (Garland Chrysanthemum) - pictured above the sliced carrots. This is one vegetable I cannot do without when I eat steamboat. I just love the pungent smell, a very popular vegetable among the Chinese and Japanese apparently. The leaves are sold in bunches with roots still attached. The roots harbours a lot of earth, so an important tip is to wash the leaves thoroughly under running water. It is rich in vitamins A and B. This is the only way I eat this vegetable.
Carrots - I am pretty confident all of you know this root vegetable even blind-folded, so I will not elaborate.
No steamboat is complete without a bowl of chopped chili in light soya sauce and some pre-made garlic oil. There will be a fresh bowl of chopped chili and garlic oil for every steamboat dinner, just in case I fail to mention later.
Garlic oil - heat a saucepan with grapseed oil. When hot, put in chopped garlic, stir continuously. Garlic burns very quickly. The minute the chopped garlic turns slightly golden brown, take the saucepan off the heat and pour into a heatproof glass bowl to cool. Do not cover with lid until garlic oil completely cool. This is used to flavour the stock before putting in the uncooked ingredients. Just 1 to 2 Tbsp will do just fine.
Chicken stock - for today's steamboat stock, I used chicken stock. 1 whole skinless chicken breast chopped into 4 pieces. Bring 2 litres of filtered water to boil. Put in 4 cloves garlic (whole, with skin) and 1 piece of old ginger (smashed with the back of the knife). When water is boiling, put in the chicken breast and quick simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour. This is my favourite stock, so I used it quite often in my steamboat dinners. When cool, drain stock through a sieve before placing into the steamboat pot, discard chicken breast, garlic and ginger.