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Published October 14th 2012
Hidden treasures of the Asian Gourmet with anti-aging effects
People who aren't of Asian heritage do not usually shop at Asian grocery stores, because when they go inside the shop, they either don't know what the package says or they know the name but have no idea what to do with the food. As a culture closely bonded with food, we believe beauty comes from within and 'we are what we eat'. There are a lot of hidden treasures in the Asian grocery stores waiting to be discovered. Here I am going to introduce you to five super beauty foods that are rich in anti-ageing properties and have an organic healing effect. You can find them in most Asian grocery stores.
The lily flower has been used in Chinese cooking for hundreds of years, also known as "tiger lily buds", which are harvested when the they are about 3-5 inches long. When the flower and bud are dried, the colour changes to a golden yellow. The lily flower is rich in proteins and starches, in addition to vitamins B1, B2 and C. The dried lily flower must be soaked in the warm water for 30 minutes, then rinsed in fresh water. If there is any hard stem at the end, this part should be cut off and the rest is ready to be prepared for cooking.
Beauty Recipe: You can just add the lily flower in any of your salads, your noodle soups or to stir-fried vegetable dishes.
Beauty Effect: Hydration and firming, helping to eliminate freckles and fine lines. Especially good for people with oily skin type.
Black fungus, known as cloud ear, and white fungus, known as snow fungus or white jelly mushroom are both found growing on elder trees in China. Both types of fungus have been labelled as traditional medicinal food for thousands of years because of their nutrients. Known as "meat in vegetables", they are rich in calcium, carbohydrates, carotene, vitamin B1, a variety of amino acids, lysine and leucine, fibre, potassium, magnesium and sodium.
Beauty Recipe: Stir Fried Black and White Fungus and Egg.
Ingredients: Two eggs, a handful of black/white fungus, sliced cucumbers. 1. Soak the black and white fungus in the warm water for 30 minutes. 2. In a heated wok, put 4-5 table spoons of vegetable oil. 3. Stir the eggs in a bowl and then pour into the heated wok, keep stirring it to prevent it from forming into a big piece. 4. Put the soaked black/white fungus together with the sliced cucumbers. 5. Put 1 teaspoon of salt, a few drops of light soy sauce, keep stirring it for another 2-3 minutes.
Beauty Effect: increase blood circulation, detox internal organs, improve skin complexion and texture, help to reduce skin pigmentation.
Chinese jujube, also known as black dates is a kind of wild mountain fruit, growing in the pleasant weather, a purely green food. It is a well kept secret from the ancient imperial periods when the Chinese jujube was exclusively served to the queens and princesses as their beauty food. This little red fruit has been labelled as "the king of the nuts" and the " herbal elixir of life" because of its vitamin-packed nutrition values. Seventy to eighty times higher in Vitamin C than grapes and apples, it is also packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron and magnesium. An ideal food for people who are recovering from serious diseases.
Beauty Recipe: Red Dates Smoothie
Ingredients: 5-6 Red dates, plain yoghurt , honey
1. Take the hard core of the dates out. If you have the dried dates in a package, make sure you soak them in warm water for 30 minutes before serving.
2. Put the red dates, honey and plain yoghurt together in the blender and blend until smooth.
Beauty Effect: As the Chinese old saying goes, "Three dates a day keep you young forever". They are high in anti-oxidants, which enrich and replenish blood, especially great for women on their special days of the month. They also help to give the face a healthy glow and brighten skin tone.
Seaweed is increasingly becoming popular in spa and skincare treatments because of its therapeutic and anti-ageing effects. The natural marine goody is packed with vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and amino acids that are essential in maintaining healthy and youthful skin. It helps slow the skin ageing process while protecting it from the harsh environmental elements in the air and water.
Beauty Recipe: Seaweed and Tofu Miso Soup.
Ingredients: dried seaweed/Haitai, diced firm tofu, miso soup paste or powder, scallion, chopped into fine pieces.
1. Boil the water in a pot and then add miso soup powder or paste, stir it gently.
2. Put the tofu in and seam the tofu soup for five minutes.
3. When the water boils again, add the dried seaweed and chopped scallion.
Beauty Effect: Detox internal organs, increase metabolism, improve skin complexion and texture, revitalize, repair, and moisturise the body and the skin.
Banana Bell is the flower of the banana plant. When prepared for consumption, the tough outer leaves are discarded and the inner part finely shredded and then soaked in cold water with lemon juice to prevent browning. It has a crunchy texture and nutty flavour and is used in salads. Banana flowers possess anti-oxidant properties and immense medicinal values. They are also a good source of fibre.
Beauty Recipe: Banana Bell Salad
Ingredients: finely sliced banana bell, cooked chicken, lemon juice, coriander, Thai basil, chillies (optional).
1. Take the banana bell slices from the lemon water, rinse them 2-3 times and put into the salad bowl.
2. Add the cooked chicken, lemon juice and mix gently together with fish sauce and salt.
3. Garnish with coriander, Thai basil and chillies (optional).
Beauty Effect: Efficient in blood purification, boosting metabolism, detoxing internal organs and hydrating the skin from within.
To save time searching for what you want at the shop, I suggest you print out the above pictures and take them with you when you are shopping. Also, if you have never tried any of these foods, it is recommended that you to do a food allergy test before consuming regularly.
Fantastic article! A Chinese work colleague was forever introducing me to interesting foods and telling me all about the benefits :) I love wandering the aisle of the Chinese grocer's, but now I'll be a little less confused!
I'm glad those black and red dates have some kind of benefit, because I tried them for the first time a few weeks ago and thought they tasted horrible. I've still got them in the cupboard, struggling to finish them off. But at least as I cringe while I eat them, I'll know I'm doing myself some good.
I already love the snow fungus, I use it in soups but i prefer to just add boiling water on top of it instead of boiling for a long time, so it keeps a slightly crunchy texture...
The seaweed snacks are great too, especially the spicy tempura seaweed crisps in the resealable bag!!
You have omitted the instructions of use.
Are these concoctions to be placed ON or IN the body?
If ON, is it applied thickly or thinnly, as a 30 min mask, put on & leave on, apply all over, just to face/neck only ......?
Are they edibles or external use only.......?
Your article is missing a lot of pertinent detail.