whole*istic

Trying to live a holistic life in an unholistic world

Posts Tagged ‘amino acid

Roasted carrot and ginger soup

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Autumn is upon us.

The air is crisper.

The days are shorter.

The nights are darker.

And our bodies are craving warm, nourishing food to get us ready for the long, harsh, Korean winter.

Soup’s a no-brainer.

Take simple ingredients. Play around with different flavour combinations. Roast vegetables to bring out the richness and full body of the flavours. Add in spices for a punchy flavour. Thicken with beans and nuts. Thin out with different stocks and nut milks.

Don’t overthink it.

Just blend it.

Carrots are often overlooked as a simple vegetable. They are common and familiar and we often associate them with bad childhood memories of being overcooked, as squidgey squares in a frozen vegetable mix or a crimped circle as part of Edgell’s tinned peas and carrots mix.

A root vegetable, carrots are extremely high in Vitamin A, which is digested in the body via beta-carotene. However, raw is not always the best, as only 3% of beta-carotene in carrots are absorbed by the body. When cooked, and combined with cooking oil, this is raised to nearly 40% beta-carotene consumption. Vitamin A, also known as retinol, helps your eyes retain their ability to adjust to changes in light and maintains necessary moisture levels of your eyes. Hence why my mum always told me to eat my carrots so I could see in the dark!

Carrots are also high in Vitamin K which aids in clotting of the blood and contributes to bone strength and proper functioning of the kidneys. There are also good levels of Vitamin C which helps build up immune strength and aids in iron absorption.

Whilst I enjoy the crunch of raw carrots in a salad or in a Vietnamese rice paper roll, the sweetness and rich flavour created by roasting carrots is far superior. When combined with a liberal dash of coconut oil, salt and garlic, this humble vegetable becomes tres chic.

Carrots are easy to grow. They are apparently good garden friends with tomatoes, boosting their production. If left to flower, like any Umbelliferae (celery, coriander, dill, parsley etc) they will also attract predatory wasps which kill many garden pests.

Ginger, ginger, ginger. Not to be confused with gingervitis.

Ginger really deserves a post to itself. Part of the Zingiberaceae family which also includes turmeric, cardamom, and galangal, the ginger plant produces beautiful white and pink flowers.

The edible root is popular in many countries around the world for its medicinal and nutritional properties. In South Korea it is used in teas; 생강차 Saenggangcha, finely minced ginger is added to kimchi right before fermentation and fresh slices of ginger are the ubiquitous accompaniment to fresh, grilled eel 장어 Jang-Oh.

Grilled eel 장어 Jang-Oh with sliced ginger

Ginger is well known for its uses to alleviate symptoms of nausea and assist immunity with cold and flu. However it also contains moderate levels of protein, calcium, magnesium, Omega 3’s and 6’s iron and 18 other amino acids. Although most of these levels are nothing to write home about, what makes ginger unique is that all these nutrients are found within each little slice of ginger.

So, anyway, off the ginger soapbox. Here’s the recipe.

Roasted carrot and ginger soup.

Ingredients:
(Serves 4 – entrée)

2 large carrots
2 small / 1 large bulb ginger
1/4 cup roasted garlic
(I always have a steady supply of roasted garlic in my fridge, if you don’t roast with carrots and ginger)

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp each salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups blackbeans (or 1 tin, rinsed and drained)
The blackbeans add a richness and thickness to the soup, but do not interfere with the strong carrot and ginger flavours.

additional 1 tbsp pepper, 1 tsp salt
pinch cayenne powder
1 tbsp maca powder (optional – I try and add this superfood in anywhere)

1 cup water – give or take a bit depending on consistency you like

Method:

1. Wash and peel carrots. Cut into small pieces. Wash and peel ginger. Slice thinly. Add garlic if roasting.
Place on greaseproof paper and sprinkle on ginger powder, salt and pepper. Pour on coconut oil and shake about, toss about to cover.

2. Put in oven at 170°C for around 30-40 minutes or until very soft and colour changes to a deep orange.

3. Cool for 15 minutes.
Add to food processor/blender carrot, ginger, garlic and 1/2 cup water.
Pulse until pureed.
Remove from blender, set aside.

4. Add blackbeans and 1/2 cup water to blender.
Blend, blend, blend until beans are very smooth.

5. In large, heatproof container, add carrot mix, additional salt and pepper, cayenne powder, maca powder and blackbean mix.
Using moulinex/stick blender, throughly blend to combine.

Enjoy!

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Written by ayearinpatissiere

October 2, 2012 at 17:59

Keen, yah? For Quinoa?

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Quinoa.

/ˈkēnwä/

Keeeeeeeeen waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Say what?

I always thought it was pronounced, “Kwin-o-a”

Kind of like “Hermes” was Hermees instead of Emez. Or “Givenchy” was Givenchee instead of Shee-von-shee.

Parlez-vous.

But I’m from ‘Straya mate. We have a collective word for all of you, youse. Whad d’youse wanna ‘av for lunch ‘ey? Vegemite sanga’s?”

Anyway, apparently it’s keen-wah. And it’s delicious. And it’s healthy as. And if you buy the Rainbow quinoa, or mix the yellow, red and black varieties you can get a bright and festive mix! But what makes this humble little grain the ‘Supergrain of the Andes’?

Well, my friends, scientifically speaking, Chenopodium quinoa is a seed, most closely related to the beets, spinach and tumbleweed family.

It’s a psuedocereal, looking all grain-like and stuff, wanna be hanging out with the couscous, burghul and polenta’s. Quinoa is like that ridiculously smart, beautiful, perfect student who everyone wants to be like. In Korea, where competition is fierce there is a slang term ‘umchinah’ 엄친아 (son) or umchinttal (daughter) which directly translates to “mother’s friend’s son” and refers to that holier-than-thou-person you’ve never met but already hate because your mum pratts on about them all the bloody time. They can do no wrong, even their crap is gold-plated. And unfortunately, you are always compared to them “Why can’t you be like my friend’s son? He studied at Seoul National University and did post-grad at Stamford. Now he’s a dentist and drives a BMW 7 series. What have you done?”

But ah, anyway, back to quinoa. Unlike it’s wheat companions, quinoa is gluten free. However it’s high mineral and protein levels is what really makes it the “Supergrain of the Andes.” Take a look at the comparison with couscous below or here:

Quinoa vs Couscous overall nutritional info

Quinoa vs Couscous Mineral Content comparison

Quinoa is the clear winner.

Let’s not mention that it is high in proteins and delivers all of the essential 9 amino acids with especially high levels of Lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. These amino acids are generally found in animal products, making quinoa essential for vegetarian/vegan diets to ensure adequate protein intake. For example, an egg has approximately 5-6 grams of protein, 100grams chicken breast has 20grams protein. A typical serving of quinoa is about 1 cup, which is roughly 200grams, so a serving of quinoa has 8grams of protein. Not too shabby if you add in some beans, nuts, seeds and tofu.

As you can see from the tables above, quinoa is also high in fibre, magnesium and iron when compared with other grains.

Quinoa is also versatile, being able to be eaten sweet with yogurt, nuts and berries for breakfast or dessert, flattened and baked into crackers, rolled and grilled into burger patties or pressed and sweetened into energy bars.

Anyway, on this lovely Saturday afternoon, I decided to make a festive salad for my lovely friends.

Quinoa whole*istic crunch salad

Ingredients

2 cups organic quinoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder

1/2 cup roasted garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups roasted capsicums

2 cobs corn (I used Korean purple corn cobs)
1 tbsp coconut oil

Crunch:
1/2 cup chopped cashews
2 tbsp sesame seeds unhulled
2 tbsp black sesame seeds/chia seeds/poppy seeds
1/2 cup pepita seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Method

1. Rinse quinoa. Add 3 cups of water and salt and bring to boil. Once it reaches boil, turn down heat to low, simmer for about 10-12 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and it fluffs up.
See beautiful video here if unsure how to cook quinoa.

2. Take quinoa off heat. Fold through onion powder. Stand and let cool.      
Rinsed, uncooked quinoa.
Cooked quinoa.

3. Take corn off cob. Rinse.
Purple Korean corn cobs. Chewy. Delicious.

4. Add corn and coconut oil to frypan and cook until corn begins to brown.
Amazing flavour. Amazing aroma. Reminds me of this Vietnamese street food, Bap Xao Tom Bo.

5. Add in chopped roast garlic, capsicum and corn and mix by hand.

  


Sure sign you’re turning Korean: You mix things by hand with a plastic glove – and use scissors in the kitchen.

6. To make crunch: toast all ingredients except sesame and poppy seeds. Add these quick cooking seeds last, they only need about 1 minute.
Sprinkle over salad and mix through when ready to eat.

I also served this salad with a tangy dressing, that was so versatile and loved by one of my guests that he added it to everything we ate! Flattered.

Tangy, *slutty dressing (*Easy as and goes with anything)
Can easily be made vegan, I only had plain yogurt on hand, and determined to work with what I had in my flat. Just substitute for almond yogurt/soy yogurt/silken tofu

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

1 cup soaked, organic cashews
2x 85g tub yogurt*
*(whilst I usually buy plain yogurt with 5g natural sugar, I only had yoplait ‘plain’ yogurt which has a whopping 12g sugar, 7g added. I would suggest adding a tbsp maple syrup/honey if using good, plain yogurt)

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 lemon – juiced
1/2 tsp salt


Method

1. Add all ingredients into blender/food processor. Blend the crap outta it until smooth. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or until it thickens.


Blend, blend, blend. Will get much smoother than this.

2. Eat.

Too easy right? Told you it was a slutty dressing.

Written by ayearinpatissiere

September 29, 2012 at 19:03